Thursday, November 22, 2012

BGC Passion Fest this weekend!

Bonifacio Global City (BGC) has got to be one of my favorite mall developments in the country, especially because of Bonifacio High Street, their open-air mall. I've always liked the way they've shown the Philippines that malls need not be air-conditioned with their perfect mix of architecture, intelligently-landscaped open spaces and great establishments.

This weekend, BGC will host BGC Passion Fest, Bonifacio Global City's 3-day weekend celebration on November 23-25, 2012. There something for everyone! And I'm posting the schedule here for your information. You all better go!

November 23
Catch Music Moves. Art Grooves Mobile Concert (6:30 p.m. to 12 midnight) featuring:
(1) fused performances by Wolfgang with a seven-piece wind and string ensemble, Pinoy and foreign movie themes with visual performance by Joseph the Sand Artist at 9th Street High Street;
(2) the Brass Munkeys with Jun Lupito, big band rock with a graphic artist at the Mind Museum;
(3) Razorback, Pinoy 70s to 90s rock, caricaturist visual artist at Turf BGC;
(4) Silverfilter with Skarlet, club jazz, graffiti artist at the Fort Entertainment; and
(5) Mobile concert, performances to be held on an open-wing 12-wheeler truck

November 24
Enjoy the Great BGC Outdoors at High Street and High Street Central (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.)! High Street will be transformed into a big fair ground with giant game installations, picnic areas, pet shows, fair games, inflatables for kids, magic shows, and free cotton candy, popcorn and ice cream. Kiddie shows will happen at High Street Central Ampitheater from 4 to 6 p.m. Plus a movie marathon after from 6 p.m. to 12 midnight will feature The Toy Story 3, Finding Nemo and Avenger movies.

November 25
More fun and exciting events will happen on Sunday including:
(1) Run BGC Ready Set Explore from 5 to 9 a.m. where you can explore BGC's interactive parks, outdoor art, science museum, and retail playground in one exciting run.
(2) The Great BGC Outdoors from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(3) Opening of BGC Christmas, 6 p.m. at High Street Central

Note that there will be a special route of the BGC Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour during the said weekend. Those who live, work and study in BGC get discounts in registration fees for Run BGC, and special discounts and freebies in selected retail shop and restaurants in BGC.

So start planning your weekend at BGC!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Celebrating 40 years of UNESCO World Heritage!

Batad Rice Terraces
On November 16, 1972, the General Conference of UNESCO adopted the Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Today, we celebrate the 40th year of World Heritage! For the next few days, I will be featuring UNESCO World Heritage Sites that I have visited. To date, I've been to over a hundred UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 32 countries. Experiencing them first hand were always memorable trips for me.

The Philippines has five inscriptions. These are the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Bangaan, Batad, Hungduan, Mayoyao and Nagacadan), Historic Town of Vigan, Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Paoay, Santa Maria, San Agustin and Miag-ao), the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.

Bangaan Rice Terraces
Hungduan Rice Terraces (Hapao and Baang)
Mayoyao Rice Terraces
Nagacadan Rice Terraces
It is the responsibility of each state party to safeguard UNESCO World Heritage Sites in its jurisdiction. While the Philippines has had its share of bad experiences such as the influx of tourists to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River and the violations currently being committed by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte in the core and buffer zones of Paoay Church, this year has been a proud year for the Philippines as it was recognized by UNESCO for its management of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras which was removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger, and the Historic Town of Vigan which was recognized as a model of best practices in World Heritage site management.

Historic Town of Vigan
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Paoay Church
Santa Maria Church
Miag-ao Church
To learn more about the criteria for innscription to the UNESCO World Heritage List, read Nominating properties to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Conference & 2012 ICTC Annual Meeting

The ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Conference and 2012 ICTC Annual Meeting came to a close last night as we returned from the post-conference tour to the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras. We've been very busy the past two weeks since our first delegates arrived on November 2.

Conference Chair Ivan Henares, National Museum Director Jeremy Barns, Ambassador Jose Maria Carino, ICOMOS Philippines President Augusto Villalon, ICOMOS ICTC President Susan Millar, DOT Director Cynthia Lazo, Conference Co-Chair Ivan Man Dy. Photo by Anson Yu
Conference Chair Ivan Henares, ICOMOS Philippines President Augusto Villalon & Conference Co-Chair Ivan Man Dy. Photo by Anson Yu
Official activities started on November 5 with the Welcome Reception at the Old Senate Session Hall of the National Museum. Before that, foreign delegates were transported from Intramuros to the National Art Gallery on an air-conditioned jeepney courtesy of Jeepney Tours, followed by a tour of the newly-opened galleries of the National Museum. I was astounded with how much of our national treasures were in storage all these years before they finally seeing light in these new exhibits.

Food was catered by Cibo, and cultural performances rendered by the Ramon Magsaysay High School and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

The next day, delegates flew to Laoag City. We got to visit Paoay Church which was the only major embarrassment during the conference as ICOMOS experts pointed out violations that were being committed by the local government as we were visiting. Structures were being constructed in the core and buffer zones which raised a major concern among our guests.

In the Historic Town of Vigan, we got a grand and festive welcome at the City Hall of Vigan as each foreign delegate was assigned an assistant for the duration of the conference. Dinner was at the Burgos House (National Museum) hosted by the Department of Tourism Region I.

For the next two days, the conference was held at the recently-restored Ilocos Sur Provincial Capitol. A temporary exhibit on archival material of the town plaza of Vigan was also opened by the National Archives. In the evening, the City Government of Vigan invited everyone to watch a sarsuela which was followed by a festive dinner in front of city hall.

The next day, the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee held its annual meeting followed by a workshop with local stakeholders. The day ended with a Closing Reception hosted by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur at the Vigan Plaza Hotel.

We returned to Manila the next day. In the evening, we got a glimpse of the reconstructed Ayuntamiento de Manila, as well as an evening tour of Fort Santiago, the Rizal Shrine and Casa Manila. A Farewell Reception was hosted by the Intramuros Administration at Barbara's. Check out photos of the conference in the Ivan About Town FB page and with Estan Cabigas.

As most of the delegates went back home, the other half braved the long drive and truck traffic to visit the Rice Terrace of the Philippine Cordilleras in Ifugao. It was a very meaningful visit to Banaue, Lagawe, Kiangan and Hungduan as we got to interact with local officials and stakeholders. The group had a very comfortable stay at the Banaue Hotel. Here are some photos of our post-conference tour to Ifugao.

Thank you very much to everyone who contributed, particularly the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur, the City Government of Vigan, Department of Tourism, Department of Foreign Affairs-TCCP, UNESCO National Commission, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Metrobank Foundation, City Government of Manila, Intramuros Administration, TIEZA, Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), National Museum and the Provincial Government of Ifugao among many others!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Join me on a tour to Hanoi & Halong Bay, Vietnam (January 15-20, 2013)

People have been asking if they could join me on one of my trips abroad. So I'm inviting to a 5 day, 4 night tour of Hanoi and Halong Bay, Vietnam. I've made everything easy for all so the tour includes all meals, four nights accommodation in 3-star hotels (twin/triple sharing), tours and entrance fees, and transfers. Tour cost is US$387 + airfare.

Make sure to book your flights on Cebu Pacific: January 15, 2013 (Tue), 5J744, Manila-Hanoi departing at 22:30 / return January 20, 2013 (Sun), 5J745, Hanoi-Manila departing at 01:00. E-mail to reserve a slot.

Itinerary is below. Hope you could join me!

Day 1: Late night arrival, check-in and overnight at hotel in Hanoi

Day 2: Visits to Ba Dinh Square, Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh's House, One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, Sword Lake, Ngoc Son Temple and Hanoi's old quarter. Water puppet show in the evening. Overnight in Hanoi

Day 3: Halong Bay cruise and visit to Surprise Cave. Overnight in Halong Bay (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Day 4: Free day in Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi

Day 5: Visit to Hoa Lu, Dinh and Le Dynastic Temples, Van Lam Village and Tam Coc Caves. Depart for Manila after dinner
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