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Kim’s ‘One Great Love’ premieres on SKYCable Pay-Per-View

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The love story that stirred the hearts of Filipinos brings joy to SKY homes this summer as “The Hows of Us,” the country’s highest grossing film, banners SKYcable Pay-Per-View this April.

College sweethearts Primo (Daniel) and George (Kathryn) vowed to stick together through thick and thin but are challenged when life suddenly gets in the way: Primo gets depressed for not getting the job he wanted while George feels the strain of mixing work and school.

The movie was given the Golden Jury award while Kathryn and Daniel were recognized as “Phenomenal Stars of Philippine Cinema” by the 50th Guillermo Mendoza Awards.

Catch this blockbuster film alongside “Always Be My Maybe,” “Every Room Is A Planet,” and “Nay” for only P99 for a 7-day access until May 8, 2019. 

Apart from “The Hows Of Us,” viewers can also watch 50th Guillermo Mendoza Film Actress of the Year, Kim Chiu in her 2018 MMFF film “One Great Love.”

Kim plays Zyra, a woman stuck between trying to fix her relationship with her boyfriend Carl (JC De Vera) or end it. She gets more torn when she meets Ian Arcano (Dennis Trillo). The film received recognitions as Best Musical Score and Third Best Picture and 3rd Best Picture in the 2018 MMFF Awards. 

Also catch Alessandra de Rossi, back from the success of “Kita Kita,” as she partners with Paolo Contis in “Through Night and Day.” They portray Ben (Paolo) and Jen (Alessandra) who were in a relationship of 13 years until they decided to level it up and get engaged. But before they say their ‘I Dos,’ their relationship will be challenged when they go on a trip to Iceland.

Completing this line-up, which subscribers can avail of for only P30 for a 3-day access until April 30, are  Arjo Atayde’s “Tol,” and  Andrea Brillante’s “Kahit Ayaw Mo Na.”

Treat your friends and family to a marathon of latest movies in standard or high definition straight from the big screen to your home. To subscribe, call 305-5456 or visit www.mysky.com.ph/starcinemappv for “The Hows of Us” and www.mysky.com.ph/moviesppv for “One Great Love.”

Free catch-up viewing of “Game of Thrones” via HBO GO on SKY

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An epic throwback awaits “Game of Thrones” fans as SKY exclusively offers its subscribers free access to HBO GO, giving them a chance to relive the phenomenal television series anytime, anywhere until April 15.

The offer will delight all kinds of viewers, whether they’re new to the world of Westeros or already hooked to the behemoth series, as all seven seasons are available for streaming. 

As the show’s previous season saw the Night King heading to Eastwatch with the undead Viserion and the White Walkers marching South, this season is set to bow out with its biggest episodes ever. With only six episodes, Season 8 is expected to be packed with epic turns of events, including its biggest battle—bigger than what many fans consider its most monumental, the massacre at Hardhome. Fans can also anticipate the formation of new alliances.

HBO GO is HBO’s online streaming service that gives subscribers a chance to watch and enjoy the world’s best movies, HBO Originals and more through the website or the mobile app. Subscription to the app also gives SKY subscribers free access to cable channels – HBO Hits, HBO Family, and HBO Signature.

The free access to HBO GO is available to all digital SKYcable and SKY Fiber Unli Broadband + HD Cable TV Plans 8Mbps and 16Mbps subscribers nationwide with HBO channel in their cable line-up. Download the HBO GO app now and register to catch up in time for the premiere of Season 8 on April 15, at 9:00AM. Visit mysky.com.ph/freehbogo for details.

For more exciting updates on “Game of Thrones,” log on to mysky.com.ph/got.

Vikings and Nords invade Araw ng Davao

Witerary by Jojie Alcantara

The Davao food scene is quite heavy nowadays with new outlets opening and familiar stalls reopening, proving that restaurateurs, chefs, and professionals are working overtime to entice the taste buds of discerning Dabawenyos and foodies.

Chef Anton with Rhonson Ng and family, friends

This is a significant month as we celebrate our Araw ng Dabaw (founding anniversary) on March 16, so I would like to feature two restaurants worth mentioning. Award winning Chef Anton Abad, Vikings Luxury Buffet Corporate Chef, recently invited us over for some food tasting, through my partner Rhonson Ng, who is the official photographer.

My girlfriends and I accompanied him for a food shoot in Nords Bread Hub in Azuela Cove days before it opened just a week ago. We were treated to a fusion of delicious meals, one after another, and I might just run out of adjectives to say. Chef Anton has a tendency to pamper friends with his dishes; we delighted ourselves with breakfast favorites such as Adobo Diablo, Fluffy Cuban Style Omelette, and Primera Tapa, among others.  

For main courses we highly recommend Salmon Miso Teriyaki, Porky’s Best, Crispy Samgyeopsal, Aglio Olio and Spinach Mushroom Chicken Pesto. Of course the menu list goes on, but I am sure you will keep coming back. Make sure to taste the mouthwatering slices of Chunky Monkey, Bibingka, Cherry Garcia or the Bourbon Cheesecakes. The girls and I are fans of Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, Matcha Cornflakes, White Chocolate and Walnut Cookies. Young Chefs Alyanna Barrientos and Abigail Louh have been most helpful as well. Nords Bread Hub opens daily from 10am until 10pm.

Drooling aside, let’s move on to its big brother (or rather sister company), the modern Filipino inspired ambience of Vikings Luxury Buffet in SM Lanang Premier. Bringing a fresh concept for this March celebration, Chef Anton introduced us to Executive Sous Chef Keenan Gran and Junior Sous Chef Aldrian Sarana who filled a long table with samplers of the Araw ng Dabaw buffet street food style, using ingredients from the local market with a spiced up presentation.

Vikings Luxury Buffet SM Lanang

The sumptuous array called Bankerohan Special, consists of Green Mango and Pomelo Salad for appetizer, Crispy Isaw, Crispy Pork Belly, Crispy Salmon Skin, Pork Barbecue, Inihaw na Tuna Belly, Sinampalukang Kambing, Kilawing Kambing and Kalderetang Kambing. Desserts are finished with Ube Langka/Ube Durian Turon with Durian Ice Cream, Suman at Mangga, Homemade Biko, Durian Cake and Pomelo Brulee.

Vikings Corporate Chef Anton Abad with Chef Keenan and Chef Aldrian

Again, thanks to Chef Anton and his young chefs, as well as Vikings F&B Manager Luel Magbanua for making our get together meals special.

 

Vikings Tablea Chocolate Moist Cake4

Here come the Sunflowers in Tagum

“Here comes the sun”, we may hum this familiar tune as summer fast approaches.  In Tagum City, the Tagumenyos hum to a different tune –‘here come the sunflowers!’

Second season in bloom of the sunflowers

Having gone viral on social media in its first blooming season just before Christmas, the latest tourist attraction was inaugurated in front of the New City Hall of Tagum last November 12, 2018.  

Aerial view of the Sunflower Garden by Rhonson Ng

The small hill was temporarily a spot for sunflowers and plants before the administration decided in developing the area.  Known for being the City of Parks, Tagum now welcomes the Sunflower Garden as its newest addition to instagram-worthy places in the city.  

sunflowers up close

According to City Information Officer Edwin Lasquite, the small hill measures 700sq meters and was planted with 8,500 seedless variety of yellow corona sunflowers (Sunrich Orange F1) from Japan.  Currently, around 8,200 are thriving, with a life expectancy of a full month up to 35 days (from sprouting to full maturity).  Its flower diameter is around 18-21 centimeters.

Tagum Tourism Officer Ed Lasquite with Rhonson, Jojie and Ian

A few days ago, Ed Lasquite invited us to witness its second season in bloom, and we were armed with cameras and drones for an aerial view of the yellow wonders responding to the sun. At this early morning, they were facing the New City Hall. By late afternoon the heads will be turning around.  This is a well-known characteristic of the large flowering heads tracking the sun’s movement, a phenomenon called heliotropism. 

Aerial view of the Sunflower Garden on a hill by Rhonson Ng

During its full bloom, visitors turned up as many as a thousand per day, according to Lasquite.  It needs another 55 days to grow in full bloom once more, giving the hill a chance to rest in between. The government is said to be open for bookings on prenuptials, weddings and romantic proposals.

Thank you, Ed and tour quide Isabeyl Rose Abapo of the City Tourism, for accompanying me and colleagues Ian Garcia and Rhonson Ng, with the usual sumptuous lunch at Miko’s Brew before we went back to Davao.  

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MindChamps: International Preschool to open in Davao


Witerary by Jojie Alcantara (Photos by Rhonson Ng)

There are many things to consider for parents who are finding the right preschool for their little ones. Preschool offers early childhood education before they begin primary school, with programs that provide care and development in a range of preparation skills.

Of the best education systems in the world, Singapore consistently ranks in the top ten lists, and scores incredibly high in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests, which aim to measure and compare the performance of students across different countries. Singapore also does well in exams of younger children, and graduates can be found around the world’s finest universities. It’s no wonder that they have many established preschool and nursery institutions all over the country.

Ranked as one of the best and most popular, Mindchamps is an award winning premium early childhood education provider for children aged 18 months to 7 years old in the playgroup, nursery and kindergarten levels. With more than 40 locations in Singapore, it expanded to more than 70 enrichment centers and preschools across Australia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, China and Malaysia.

With a teacher to student ratio of 1 to 6 for playgroup, and 1 to 8 for nursery 1, MindChamps has a unique curriculum of activities specifically designed to prepare children for the change in teaching styles, social skills, environment and routine when they enter primary school. Qualified teachers undergo around 200 hours of compulsory training and accreditation, ensuring that a child’s mind is nurtured by highly qualified and dedicated mentors.

With an impressive global advisory board comprised of leading educators, MindChamps offers a cutting-edge curriculum with comprehensive programmes that contribute to a child’s holistic learning and development, according to his or her individual strengths and abilities. After decades of research, it has constructed a new approach to early learning designed to equip the children with the foundations for future success. MindChamps focuses on creating champion learners for life. The quality childcare services ensure that your child is well taken care of and their full potential is being nurtured.

In the Philippines, six (6) centers are located in Manila Bay Campus, Fort Flagship Campus, Ortigas Campus, Greenhills Campus, Nuvali and Alabang.

Venturing in Mindanao, Milo Fadrilan (Marketing Director, Mindchamps International Preschool, BGC The Fort Inc.) explained how fate has led him to interested investors and partners who wanted the same quality education for their kids, and wanted to bring this system to Davao. It so happens that his roots were also from Davao and had his childhood here.

Last February 14-16, 2019, MindChamps launched two and a half days of free trial sessions at the second floor of Blooming Days Café where parents brought their toddlers to experience the holistic approach and crafted play taught by Singapore-trained teachers, followed by a written evaluation to assess the level each is qualified to enroll in.

For more information, email Ms. Kris Hagan (Marketing Officer for Mindchamps International Preschool, The Fort BGC) at marikrishagan@mindchamps.org (0917-774-0601) or visit www.mindchamps.org.

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ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019 Highlights

Witerary by Jojie Alcantara (published for SunStar Davao)

The 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2019) which took place from January 16 to 18, 2019 in the picturesque city of Ha Long successfully ended with impressive developments, showing a stronger force in the appeal and charm of Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) destinations.

Host destination Vietnam (traditionally called Viet Nam) is proud to spotlight more than 70 of its best travel industry players in this year’s exhibition. Ha Long City is the capital of Quang Ninh Province and the gateway to world renowned Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

ATF 2019 theme ASEAN: The Power of One © Jojie Alcantara
ATF 2019 theme ASEAN: The Power of One © Jojie Alcantara

With the theme ASEAN: The Power of One, more than 1,500 delegates participated in over 100 meetings, business, education and social functions during a week-long event that also highlighted the 3-day TRAVEX, a prestigious annual leisure travel trade mart component of ATF.

ATF 2019 Opening Ceremony © Jojie Alcantara
ATF 2019 Opening Ceremony © Jojie Alcantara
ATF 2019 Opening Ceremony © Jojie Alcantara
ATF 2019 Opening Ceremony © Jojie Alcantara

TRAVEX delegates —including tourism ministers, leaders of national tourism agencies, international organizations, and buyers— convened daily at Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Center (QNEPEC), which offered the largest showcase of ASEAN destination products and services. ATF 2019 drew the interest of global buyers from 53 countries while more than 140 international and local media representatives were in attendance to cover the latest regional travel developments through the NTO media briefings by all 10 member states.

ATF 2019 Opening Ceremony © Jojie Alcantara
ATF 2019 Opening Ceremony © Jojie Alcantara

A total of 400 delegates were hosted to this year’s event, including me and my colleague Ian Garcia of Mindanao Times, as Philippine media delegates. We stayed in the elegant Royal Lotus Halong Hotel for four days.

Royal Lotus Halong Hotel © Jojie Alcantara
View from the Sky Bar of Royal Lotus Halong Hotel where I am staying
View from the Sky Bar of Royal Lotus Halong Hotel where I am staying

ATF promotes the ASEAN region as one tourist destination, with all the tourist industry sectors of the 10 member nations represented by top travel and tourism suppliers – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Ha Long FLC Resort © Jojie Alcantara
Ha Long FLC Resort © Jojie Alcantara

The Philippine contingent secured an impressive 270 sqm. booth to showcase local destinations, attractions, and special interest programs, with a number of leading Philippine companies in the airline, hospitality, and tour operations sector which participated.

Philippine booth in TRAVEX © Jojie Alcantara
Philippine booth in TRAVEX © Jojie Alcantara

Reinforcing the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) thrust of promoting the country as a responsible and sustainable tourism destination, Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) focused on green destinations to attract high-spending tourists by offering community-based products.

Philippine briefing with the international media
Philippine briefing with the international media

Part of TPB’s efforts is also strengthening the presence of the Philippines in international travel conferences and conventions. TPB Chief Operating Officer Marie Venus Tan said it is “imperative for the TPB to take part in the ATF to generate top-of-mind recall of the Philippines’ branding, ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ in line with invigorated efforts to promote it as an ideal tourist destination.”

Jojie with Sallome Yvonne Ian and Edmund
Me with Sallome, Yvonne, Ian and Edmund
Jojie with Ian and Salome Villaflor
Bonding with Ian Garcia andSalome Villaflor who is now General Manager of Halong Paradise Suites.

While the ATF experience comprised of complimentary pre-show tours generously prepared for delegates (Ha Long Bay cruises, Lan Ha Bay-Hai Phong City, and trips to Yen Tu Mountain and Ninh), other major events were the Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City Night dinner party for international media on board the Ha Long Princess Cruise, the Opening Ceremony and Welcome Reception & Dinner by VNAT for all delegates, the Friendly Golf Game, TRAVEX lunch and dinner hosted by Quang Ninh and FLC Resort, Brunei Night Reception and Philippines Late Night Function, and the Closing Ceremony of Visit Viet Nam Year 2018 & Gala Celebrating the Success of ATF 2019 for all delegates.

The after dinner party hosted by the Philippines was much talked about for its fun performances and all night dancing by the delegates.

Philippines Late Night Functio was an after dinner party hosted by the Philippines and was much talked about for its fun performances and all night dancing by the delegates. © Jojie Alcantara
Philippines Late Night Functio was an after dinner party hosted by the Philippines and was much talked about for its fun performances and all night dancing by the delegates. © Jojie Alcantara

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, H.E. Nguyen Ngoc Thien, expressed his gratitude and that “the people of Quang Ninh province are honored to host ATF and invite all delegates to experience the natural beauty, warm people and endless adventures in Ha Long Bay.

FLC Ha Long Bay Resort © Jojie Alcantara
FLC Ha Long Bay Resort © Jojie Alcantara

“ATF is a platform for all ASEAN Member States to build a stronger and more powerful position in the world stage with meaningful initiatives that boost tourism growth while preserving our unique and collective heritage, identity and culture for the next generation to experience.”

Fellow Pinoy delegates and hotel officers Yvonne, Cristine, Jennifer and media colleague Ian
Fellow Pinoy delegates and hotel officers Yvonne, Cristine, Jennifer and media colleague Ian

ATF 2019’s panel of partners and sponsors include Official Air Carrier – Vietnam Airlines, Official Meetings Venue – FLC Group, Official Communications Partner – SCTV, Official Tour Operator – Saigontourist, Official Show Daily – TTG Show Daily, and Official Sponsors – BBC, Bia Ha Noi, Bien Hoa Beverages, CNN, Hanoitourist, Heritage Line, Ho Chi Minh City, Muong Thanh Group, Nguyen Le, Quang Ninh, Sun World, Thai Tuan, Thien Minh and VNPT.

Meanwhile, Brunei gears itself for ATF 2020 as it prepares to showcase its offerings and the changes that have taken place in the decade since it last hosted ATF in 2010. For more information, visit www.atfvietnam2019.com.

Special thanks to partners who have supported me in my trip: PLDT Home for my Fibr connection here at home enabling me quick access to my cloud files anywhere as well as communication matters; Printlife Official for my printed cards, AromacologySensi Philippines, Bioskin and MX3 for the proudly Davao products I gave away to fellow delegates. Lastly, here’s to the fun company of our former media colleague Salome Villaflor who is now General Manager of Halong Paradise Suites.

This article was published in SunStar Davao on January 22, 2019 entitled “Hallo, Halong!” and posted on its news website.

Published in SunStar Davao on February 19, 2019 © Jojie Alcantara

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Media friends with Chef Nino general manager Bryan Lasala and officers

Lunar New Year Buffet with the new Waterfront Chef

By Jojie Alcantara

Chef Anthony Joseph Ante III, otherwise called Chef Nino, celebrated the Lunar New Year with his new Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao family after being formally appointed as Property Executive Chef.

Peking Duck and Lechon Macau

Celebrating Chinese New Year’s Day last February 5, Chef Nino treated guests and media friends to a special Lunar Buffet lunch gathering at Café Uno featuring a 12-course spread and special carving of Lechon Macau, Pecking Duck and Pork Charsiu as main dishes.

Media with PSC chairman William Butch Ramirez and PSC commissioners Charles Maxey and Ramon Fernandez
Media with PSC chairman William Butch Ramirez and PSC commissioners Charles Maxey and Ramon Fernandez

The six-station Oriental cuisine includes signature specialties of Salt and Pepper Squid, Stir Fry Beef, Bok Choy in Oyster Sauce, and Kung Pao Chicken. 

Also included are appetizers, assorted salads, sushi starters, dim sum, hopia and tikoy, as well as the Tang Yuan, which are essential delights traditionally eaten during the New Year.  The Year of the Earth Pig is also ushered in along with good luck and prosperity by a traditional lion dance performance in the hotel premises.  

Chef Nino earned a Diploma in Culinary Arts and Hotel Management from the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management in Quezon City.  He has then moved abroad to join several 5-star resorts and hotels in the USA, China and Canada, before moving back to the Philippines, and eventually joining the Waterfront corporation.

Special thanks to the Waterfront team of GM Bryan Yves S. Lasala, Marketing Communications Officer Eva Ces Gamalong and Sales & Marketing Manager for the invitation and warm support.

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Hallo, Halong!


Witerary by Jojie Alcantara (column name in SunStar Davao)

Ha Long City in Quang Ninh Province of Vietnam is a quiet but blossoming town right in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Halong Bay. Quite laid back from other touristy cities, the roads are wide and without traffic (maybe peak season is different). Apart from Ha Long Bay cruises which is the major attraction, it also offers beach activities, nature treks, local food and night markets.

Divided into two main areas, there is Hon Gai on the other side of the bridge where local life, culture and food can be experienced. Bai Chay is the central tourist area on the other side where Ha Long Bay is dotted with luxury cruises or replicas of Chinese junk boat tours. An artificial beach, restaurants, cafes and varying structures from high end resorts to boutique hotels are lined along the bay. Many building constructions are on the way, preparing Ha Long to become the next busy destination.

View of downtown from my hotel window at night © Jojie Alcantara

View of downtown from my hotel window at night © Jojie Alcantara

Ha Long Bay (Vietnamese: Vịnh Hạ Long) is a popular destination for many reasons. The name Hạ Long means “descending dragon”, with a bay that features thousands (1,969 as of record) of limestone karsts and isles in various shapes and sizes protruding around the waters.

Ha Long city and Ha Long Bay backdrop © Jojie Alcantara
Ha Long city and Ha Long Bay backdrop © Jojie Alcantara

Famous for its attractive rock formations, bays, uninhabited islets, limestone pillars and cave formations, it leads to an overall stunning landscape that makes it a traveler’s bucket list. Some islets are named after shapes of objects or animals like the iconic fighting cocks.

Ha Long city and Ha Long Bay backdrop © Jojie Alcantara
Ha Long city and Ha Long Bay backdrop © Jojie Alcantara

In 1962, the Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism designated Ha Long Bay a ‘Renowned National Landscape Monument’. First listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 in recognition of its outstanding, universal aesthetic value, its World Heritage Listing was updated in 2000 for its outstanding geological and geomorphological value.

Vietnamese girls in traditional dress called “ao dai”, in a backdrop of Ha Long Bay. © Jojie Alcantara
Vietnamese girls in traditional dress called “ao dai”, in a backdrop of Ha Long Bay. © Jojie Alcantara

In October 2011, World Monuments Fund included the bay on the 2012 World Monuments Watch, citing tourism pressures and associated development as threats to the site that must be addressed. In 2012, New 7 Wonders Foundation officially named Ha Long Bay as one of New Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Thien Cung Cave (Heavenly Palace Cave) © Jojie Alcantara
Thien Cung Cave (Heavenly Palace Cave) © Jojie Alcantara

A must-see spot to explore is the beautiful Thien Cung Cave (Heavenly Palace Cave), a beautiful primitive cave with a complicated interior structure, high ceilings and a unique system of stalactites and stalagmites in different forms and shapes that tickle your imagination.

Halong Bay boat tours © Jojie Alcantara

They say it is best to visit Ha Long between October to December as weather is most pleasant in fall with less rain. April is also tourist season and an ideal time to cruise Halong Bay because it is not as hot in summer or as bitterly cold in winter when the whole bay is shrouded in mist. In my visit this January, though, I was hit with a chilly blast for the rest of my stay.

Feeling the winter chill in Halong Bay!

Halong City is approximately 3 hours away from the international airport in Hanoi, Vietnam’s bustling capital, which has a direct flight from Manila, Philippines via Cebu Pacific. While we came as hosted media courtesy of TTG Asia, organizers of the Asean Tourism Forum (ATF 2019), I had the option to choose my airline for convenience in connecting flights.

Royal Lotus Halong Hotel © Jojie Alcantara

I was billeted in Royal Lotus Hotel, located in the bay area where most of the high rises and top hotels stood. I stayed for the ATF Convention as a Philippine delegate together with colleague Ian Garcia of Mindanao Times, and we have bonded with other foreign travel agents and international media.

My room in Royal Lotus Halong Hotel © Jojie Alcantara

Special thanks to partners who have supported me in my trip: PLDT Home for my Fibr connection here at home enabling me quick access to my cloud files anywhere as well as communication matters; Printlife Official for my printed cards, AromacologySensi Philippines, Bioskin and MX3 for the proudly Davao products I gave away to fellow delegates.

This article was published in SunStar Davao on January 22, 2019 entitled “Hallo, Halong!” and posted on its news website.

Published in SunStar Davao on January 22, 2019 © Jojie Alcantara


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Vietnam Gears Up for ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019

Halong Bay, Vietnam  © Jojie Alcantara
Halong Bay, Vietnam and the spaceship looking Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Center (QNEPEC) © Jojie Alcantara

Witerary by Jojie Alcantara (column name in SunStar Davao)

Vietnam is the host country of the 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2019. Held in Ha Long, this country is all ready to create a major and lasting impression on its 1500 delegates. These  comprise of ministerial, NTO, official meeting delegates, as well as TRAVEX suppliers from across all 10 ASEAN member states, international buyers and media pools. 

ATF 2019 theme ASEAN: The Power of One
ATF 2019 theme ASEAN: The Power of One

ATF TRAVEX, renowned for being the largest and most diverse showcase of ASEAN suppliers, will play witness to ASEAN travel trade industry exhibitors from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, connecting with hosted  buyers and media representatives from around the world. 

Vietnamese girl in traditional dress called "ao dai", in a backdrop of Ha Long Bay. © Jojie Alcantara

Vietnamese girl in traditional dress called “ao dai”, in a backdrop of Ha Long Bay.
© Jojie Alcantara

The 3-day ATF TRAVEX 2019, which commences from 16 January till 18 January, will aggregate 75 official sessions with the host country organizing numerous social activities and programs that include pre-and post-show tours in selected tourist attractions, an opening ceremony, a welcome reception and dinner events, a friendly golf game and a farewell party for all ATF delegates. 

Another anticipated ATF component is the ASEAN Tourism Conference, where major regional issues are presented and discussed by subject experts and thought leaders.  In keeping with the aim of strengthening co-operation among the ASEAN tourism industry’s various sectors, this knowledge platform promotes discussion, exchange of ideas and valuable perspectives to motivate progress among ASEAN stakeholders.

Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Center (QNEPEC) © Jojie Alcantara
Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Center (QNEPEC) © Jojie Alcantara

Through its high hospitality and infrastructural standards, Vietnam aims to successfully demonstrate its capabilities and be recognized as one of ASEAN’s most attractive destinations, complete with world-class facilities and services to make an even greater impact on its already impressive touristic appeal.

Halong Bay © Jojie Alcantara
Halong Bay © Jojie Alcantara

Vietnam spared no cost in giving all delegates a generous opportunity to experience Ha Long, the Quang Ninh province and other destinations with a total of 15 pre- and post-ATF tours to be held over 4 days. Itineraries include cruises of Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay, Hai Phong City, as well as trips to Yen Tu Mountain and Ninh Binh.

Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Center (QNEPEC) © Jojie Alcantara
Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Center (QNEPEC) © Jojie Alcantara

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, H.E. Nguyen Ngoc Thien, said in a statement, “The people of Quang Ninh province are ready to welcome delegates and guests. We are honored to host ATF and look forward to inviting all visitors to experience the natural beauty and warmth of our people. We are ready to embrace all ASEAN states to drive connectivity and sustainable tourism to Viet Nam and the region as one.”

Halong Bay © Jojie Alcantara
Halong Bay © Jojie Alcantara

Vietnam has over 540 tourist destinations and attractions that can be classified as cultural, sea, natural & ecological, and sports & recreation tourism.  Among them are 24 world heritage sites.  For more information and updates for ATF 2019, visit www.atfvietnam2019.com

Special thanks to partners who have supported me in my trip: PLDT Home for my Fibr connection here at home enabling me quick access to my cloud files anywhere (articles and images) as well as in communication matters; AromacologySensi Philippines, Bioskin and MX3 who have shared proudly Davao products to give away to fellow delegates..

This article was published in SunStar Davao on January 19, 2019 entitled “Vietnam gears up for Asean Tourism Forum 2019” and posted on its news website

Published in SunStar Davao January 19, 2019 written by Jojie Alcantara
Published in SunStar Davao on January 19, 2019 © Jojie Alcantara

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Big Bad Wolf Arrives in Davao

Big Bad Wolf Book Sale finally comes to Davao with a whopping 1 million books of different genres from popular authors and diverse topics, fiction and non-fiction to bestsellers. These are all to be enjoyed in a nonstop shopping for 24 hours from November 23 to December 2 at the Tent of Azuela Cove.

 

Popularly known as the world’s biggest book sale, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is the brainchild of founders Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng from Malaysia since it launched in 2009. It specializes in offering the widest selection of brand new books at discounts of 50% to 90%, the lowest prices possible. This includes a huge selection of children’s books.

 

The visionaries behind the brand state that Big Bad Wolf is not just a book sale, but a reading advocacy organization. It aims to create a love for reading, inspire people to chase their dreams, and empower everyone with knowledge. Its primary aim is to encourage people of any age to discover the joy of affordable reading.

 

Changing the world one book at a time, Big Bad Wolf has now toured across Malaysia,Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Taiwan and UAE and will continue to do so.

In a Davao press briefing last November 5, Big Bad Wolf represented by founder Jaqueline Ng turned over a P5 Million check to Gawad Kalinga’s Executive Director Luis Oquineña, a hefty donation to support outreach programs with the partnership.

 

Media members and bloggers were also treated to free books of their choices laid out on a long table as a surprise. My haul was a hardbound Cartoonist Bible and a huge DC Comic Book of Batman. VIP access passes were also distributed for an exclusive first look on November 22, 2018.

 

Are you ready for the Big Bad Wolf tomorrow?  Follow BBW on Facebook.