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

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

From Saudi to Manila: Pag-ibig na Pangmatagalan

Finally, the Tide with Downy story is complete! Selected from the hundreds of stories shared to us via the Tide Bangong Padala Promo, the love story of Myrna and Emmanuel truly represents Pag-ibig na Pangmatagalan.

Emmanuel had been in Saudi for 16 years, occasionally reunited when he flies home. And sadly, he never saw his children grow up. But that is the reality overseas workers have to face. The lure of a better future even if it means staying away from your family becomes a clear choice given our situation here in the country. They may have been separated for so long, but their love remains fresh and strong. That’s why we selected their story.

After selecting their story, visiting Myrna at their home and sending Emmanuel her package in Saudi, the ultimate goal was to reunite them here in Manila after being separated for a long time. It was obvious that Myrna yearned to see Emmanuel again. The tears that flowed down every time she told the story was really a sign of longing to see her husband.

When we visited Myrna at her home in Novaliches, we never said when Emmanuel was coming home. When the day finally came, we motored to NAIA Terminal 1 to meet with Emmanuel who was flying in from Saudi.

Indeed, simple scents can remind you of home. I was standing at the arrival area when I saw Emmanuel walking down. And I knew it was him since he was wearing the Tide with the Freshness of Downy shirt that was sent to him from Myrna.

I got to talk to him while on the van en route to where Myrna was. He said that he had been in Saudi for 16 years since he had to earn money to raise his family. While working abroad, you can’t help but remember your family at home. He mentioned to me how the simple scent of his t-shirt reminded him of home, how the scent of freshly washed clothes remind him of Myrna’s care.

Myrna was actually not aware that Emmanuel was home, not aware that she was going to be seeing him that night. She was just being interviewed about her love story with Emmanuel when suddenly…

So what happened really? Watch the video and see how the two got reunited!

This whole experience touched me as a frequent international traveler. I can get homesick especially when I’ve been away for weeks, what more for people who have been away for years. It was also impressive to see how despite distance, love prevails.

If you missed the first video, here it is as well.

Thank you Tide with Downy for that heartwarming experience!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wiki Loves Monuments Philippines winners named

The winners of the Wiki Loves Monuments Philippines contest was announced last night at awarding ceremonies held at the Filipinas Heritage Library. Of the 2,300 entries uploaded over the thirty days of the competition, fifty advanced to the final round. From the fifty finalists, ten winners were selected. These ten will represent the Philippines in the Wiki Loves Monuments global competition.

Since the ranks will be disregarded in the global competition, here are the top ten in alphabetical order:

Batad Rice Terraces
© User:Captaincid / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Capas National Shrine
© User:RainJorque / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Daraga Church
© User:Angelonce / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Manila Cathedral
© User:Bhoyetjumpay / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Manila Post Office
© User:Corteco8 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Paoay Church
© User:Leoviernes1 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Quiapo Church
© User:Obra19 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
The Ruins (Mariano Ledesma Lacson Mansion)
© Ninya Regalado / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

UST Main Building
© User:Tristantamayo / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Vigan Cathedral
© User:Jsinglador / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Wiki Loves Monuments 2011 was limited to European countries. Here are the winners from last year's competition. This year, thirty six countries participated, including the Philippines. Good luck to the winners!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Laguna: Save the Alberto House!

If you believe that the Philippine Government should save the ancestral house of Jose Rizal's mother Teodora Alonzo, share this until it reaches our government leaders. No to transfer to Bagac, Bataan!

From Dr. Bimbo Sta. Maria of United Artists for Cultural Conservation and Development (UACCD) in Binan, Laguna:  "A part of the Alberto House caved in yesterday. This is the beginning of the end of this historic house. After it was demolished from the inside and its parts transferred to Bataan, the house has been left exposed to the elements. No ceiling, no floor and its foundations dug and exposed, it was inevitable for the house, now left only with its shell, to go down.

"The planned expropriation proceedings by our local government did not push through for some reasons. UACCD has followed it up in the past until the present but the LGU has other pressing problems to attend to. RA 10066 is in effect. But as stated before, the national government does not have the funds to save all heritage structures.

"It is a fact that the house remains to be private property. With the owner's loss of interest to preserve the house and his selling it, this is the moment he has long been waiting for to get rid of this important cultural property. Consummatum est! (Photo courtesy of Star Jenny Carpena Chiucinco-Temprosa)"

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Get ready for the International Cultural Tourism Conference and Heritage Conservation Summit in November! Register now!

Mark your calendars! We have two interesting heritage conservation and cultural tourism events this November which you all should not miss, especially for national cultural agencies and local government tourism, arts and culture offices, cultural workers, tourism policy makers and stakeholders, architects and urban planners, faculty and students, and the general public. Make sure to register early since slots are limited!

ICOMOS International Conference on Cultural Tourism 2012
City of Vigan, Ilocos Sur (November 7-8, 2012)

November 7, 2012 (Wednesday)
08:00-09:00     Registration
09:00-09:05     Philippine National Anthem
09:05-09:10     Welcome Message – Augusto F. Villalon, President, ICOMOS Philippines
09:10-09:20     Opening Address – Susan Millar, President, ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee (ICTC)
09:20-10:00     Keynote Address – Hon. Felipe de Leon, Chairman, National Commission for Culture and the Arts
10:00-10:30     Cultural Tourism: Challenges and Opportunities for Community Development / A Destination Approach to Protecting Heritage Values and Enhancing the Visitor Experience – Policy, Planning and Management – Susan Millar, ICTC President
10:30-11:00     Coffee Break
11:00-11:30     Tourism and Community Development through Successful Cultural Heritage Merchandising – Graham Brooks
11:30-12:00     Shared Built Heritage in Asia – Sue Jackson-Stepowski, ISC SBH Vice President
12:00-13:00     Lunch
13:00-13:30     Economic and Social Impact of Heritage – Michele Prats, Vice President, ICOMOS France
13:30-14:00     Community Based Tourism in the Philippines: National Tourism Development Plan and Intramuros Master Plan – Augusto Villalon, ICOMOS Philippines President
14:00-14:30     Cultural Heritage Tourism Development Framework for Enhancing Heritage for Tourism: Case Study, The Grand Trunk Road in Punjab, India – Gurmeet S Rai, Director, CRCI New Delhi  
14:30-15:00     Gabii sa Kabilin – Joy Gerra, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation
15:00-15:30     Coffee Break
15:30-16:00     Heritage Site Visitation Management – Randy Durband, USA
16:00-16:30     Cultural Tourism in a Multi-Ethnic Traumatized Community – Pali Wijeratne, Sri Lanka
16:30-17:00     The Role of Cultural Heritage in Peacemaking and Rebuilding Post-Conflict Communities – Suzanne Bott, PhD
17:30-18:00     War and Peace in Tourism – Mark Torres, MSU Iligan
18:00-18:15     Announcements

November 8, 2012 (Thursday)
08:00-08:30     Arrival of Participants
08:30-09:00     High-Impact Tour Packages for Sustainable Community Development: The Case of Kularts Tribal Tours and Cultureight Travel – Carlo Ebeo and Charisse Aquino-Tugade
09:00-09:30     Liternature: Cultural Tourism Destination and Opportunity for Community – Kwangsik Kim, Senior Member, ICOMOS Korea
09:30-10:00     Cultural Tourists of the Future for the Asia-Pacific Region – Hilary du Cros
10:00-10:30     Coffee Break
10:30-11:00     Cultural Heritage and Local Development: A Case Study of District Mansehra KP, Pakistan – Sattar Fazli Durrani, Assistant Professor, Hazara University
11:00-11:30     Communicating Heritage Values - Creative Conversations – Peter Ross and Susan Millar, ICTC President
11:30-12:00     “Telling the Stories of The Rocks”:  Place Based Interpretation (Ian Kelly, Director, The Rocks and Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority)
12:00-13:00     Lunch
13:00-13:30     The Heritage River Island, Assam – Dilip K. Medhi, Gauhati University, Guwahati Department of Anthropology
13:30-14:00     Developing Values-Based and Participatory Tourism: A Need for “River Island of Majuli Cultural Landscape in the Midstream of Brahmaputra River, Assam, India” for a Prospective World Heritage Site in North East India – GSV Suryanarayana Murthy, Conservation Architect, Hyderabad, India; and Syed Iftikar Hussain, CEO, Majuli Cultural Landscape Management Authority, Assam, India
14:00-14:30     Sustainable Tourism on World Heritage Properties Linked to Agricultural and Livestock Rearing Practices: Enhancing the Role of Communities – Celia Martínez, University of Granada, Spain
14:30-15:00     Small Town Heritage Tourism and the International Cultural Tourism Charter – Jim Donovan, FASLA
15:00-15:30     “The Castle and the Community” – The Key Role of Hillsborough Castle Northern Ireland in Cultural Tourism for Community Development – Sharon Brown and Alan Oliver, ICOMOS UK
15:30-16:00     Coffee Break
16:00-16:30     Limunsudan Falls, Northern Mindanao Heritage Tourism – Rosario Dizon
16:30-17:00     Argao Youth for Heritage Society - AYHS: Empowerment through Community-Based Cultural Education – Ruel Javier Rigor, AYHS Founder and Adviser
17:00-17:20     Open Forum
17:20-17:30     Conclusions and Announcements

For registration to the conference, send an e-mail to Note that seats are limited. We will accept participants on a first come, first served basis. Payment of conference fee confirms your slot.

Participation fees are Php3500 for professionals (inclusive of lunch on both days, conference kits) and Php600 for undergraduate students with ID (inclusive of packed lunch on both days, conference kits)

Note that the fees do not include transportation to/from Vigan and accommodation there. The City Tourism Office of Vigan, Ilocos Sur can assist you in looking for accommodation. You may contact the office at (077) 7228776 or Registration begins at 8 a.m. of Wednesday, November 7, 2012. Conference will end at 5:30 p.m. of Thursday, November 8, 2012.

For cash and check payments, you may deposit to:
International Council on Monuments & Sites Philippines, Inc.
Bank of the Philippine Islands S/A No. 3083 7113 95 (Loyola Katipunan Branch)

Scan and e-mail a copy of the deposit slip to Keep the original slip and present it when you register during the conference. You will need the deposit slip to claim your conference ID, kit and official receipt.

Heritage Conservation Summit 2012: Economics of Heritage
Batangas City Convention Center (November 24, 2012)

07:30-08:30     Registration
08:30-08:40     Welcome Remarks – Mayor Vilma Dimacuha, Mayor of Batangas City
08:40-08:50     Opening Remarks – Gemma Cruz-Araneta, Heritage Conservation Society (HCS) Chairperson
08:50-09:00     Summit Goals and Expected Outcomes – EnP. Nathaniel von Einsiedel, HCS President
09:00-09:30     Incentivizing Preservation under the Tourism Act of 2009 – Atty. Mark Evidente, President of TwoEco, Inc.
09:30-10:00     Open Forum
10:00-10:30     Report of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) – Dr. Jaime C. Laya, Chairman of Committee on Monuments and Sites (CMS)
10:30-11:00     Report of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) – Chairman Ma. Serena Diokno
11:00-11:30     Report of the National Museum (NM) – Director Jeremy Barns
11:30-12:00     Open Forum
12:00-13:00     Lunch
13:00-13:20     Batangas City's Heritage Conservation Initiatives – Eduardo V. Borbon, Vice Chair, Batangas City Cultural Affairs Committee
13:20-13:40     BPO@Escolta – Arch. Dominic Galicia, ICOMOS, 20th Century Architecture Committee
13:40-14:00     Ayala Land, Inc.'s Heritage Conservation Initiatives – Arch. Joel Luna, Vice President, Ayala Land, Inc.
14:00-14:20     Orchid Garden Suites: A 16-Year Economic Case Study of Adaptive Reuse – Simon Paterno, former president of Development Bank of the Philippines
14:20-15:00     Open Forum
15:00-15:30     Coffee Break
15:30-15:45     Report of the HCS – Arch. Manolo Noche, Corporate Secretary of HCS
15:45-16:00     Report of ICOMOS Philippines – Arch. Augusto F. Villalon, President of ICOMOS Philippines    
16:00-16:15     Report of the Diwa ng Batangan
16:15-16:45     Open Forum
16:45-17:00     Closing Remarks – Ivan Anthony Henares, HCS Vice President
17:00-17:15     Adjournment (Proceed to Bahay ni Ka Tonying)
17:15-17:45     History and Restoration of Bahay ni Ka Tonying – Arch. Rene Mata, Treasurer of HCS
17:45-18:30     Tour of the Acosta-Pastor Ancestral House
18:30-19:30     Concert
19:30-20:30     Dinner

For registration to the summit, send an e-mail to

Participation fees are Php1000 for professionals (inclusive of lunch), Php800 for HCS members in good standing and Php300 for undergraduate students with ID.
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