A Night of Sensory Wonders: TPB's Thanksgiving Event and BGC Immersive Exhibit

January 22, 2024

I've always been intrigued by the multi-sensorial experience at BGC Immersive, situated on the 3rd floor of One Bonifacio High Street Mall in Taguig City. This space serves as a fusion of art and technology.

Fortunately, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines invited me to their Thanksgiving event for media partners and content creators on January 18, 2024. It provided the perfect opportunity for me to finally experience it and reconnect with friends. And, it turned out to be a fantastic first encounter.

The night revolved around "Love the Philippines," the country’s tourism campaign, and the sentiment we all share about the country.

BGC Immersive is divided into three sections. Upon entering the first room, cultural performances from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao by The Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group awaited us. 

Attendees were free to explore the halls at their own pace, allowing ample time for everyone to fully enjoy and appreciate the artistry showcased in each hall.

Following that was the visual-auditory 180-degree experience with the Philippine Virtual Tours. Every detail of Philippine sites came to life in stunning detail in this room, from lush landscapes to vibrant cityscapes.

In the main hall, the last section, a 360-degree immersive screen featured a showcase of song and dance numbers and an interactive presentation by TPB Chief Operating Officer Maria Margarita Montemayor-Nograles, highlighting the agency’s 2023 achievements and upcoming programs.

It is an impressive feat with over 6.317 billion in negotiated sales leads and over 1 billion media values globally. TPB also organized, participated and supported a total of 224 programs and events globally and recruited and enlisted 859 members.

Among the highlighted aspects are the community-based tourism programs, a concept I am a huge fan of. This initiative focuses on highlighting the beauty of indigenous communities, preserving heritage, and crafting curated experiences that offer an immersive journey through the Philippines’ vibrant living traditions and cultural heritage.

Thanks to TPB, I got to know the ladies of Marang-marang, who impressed us with their heirloom dishes, served in a floating cottage that ended with a mangrove tour onboard their traditional sakayans or outrigger boats.

I also personally met the people behind the revival and promotion of traditional weaving in Maragondon, Cavite. 

Most recently, I had the privilege of meeting members of the Bagobo-Tagabawa group dedicated to preserving their vibrant traditions. Among them are the women who diligently uphold the legacy of Salinta Monon, a Bagobo-Tagabawa master weaver honored with the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan recognition in 1998. Additionally, I engaged with members at the Tibolo Cultural Village, where they provided insights into their customs, performed traditional dances, and hosted a delicious local feast.

The presentation also highlighted the enhanced version of the Travel Philippines App. Launched in the last quarter of 2023, the app features a document manager to store digital travel files, a directory of DOT-accredited facilities, partners, and tour guides, and access to promos for various accommodations and restaurants nationwide.

TPB surpassed the initial target of 10,000 downloads by the end of 2023 and had over 32 thousand downloads.

Other noteworthy projects presented were the Regional Travel Fairs in Cebu and Ilocos, MICECon in Davao, and Philippine Travel Exchange in Cebu, familiarization tours, Philippine Motorcycle Tourism, and training programs.

Due to all its efforts, TPB received a string of prestigious awards and recognitions. Some notable accolades include the recognition of PHITEX 2022 as the National Tourism Initiative of the Year by the Gov Media Awards; the Best National Tourism Organization for TPB at the TTG Awards; the Sustainability Leader of the Year and the Philippines as the Destination of the Year by Tripzilla; and the Philippines as the Best Dive Destination at DRT Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco was also present to deliver her keynote remarks.

The presentations concluded with songs and dances, an apt way to celebrate the 2023 achievements of the agency. Following that, we had cocktails with lots of conversations about past and, hopefully, future trips with TPB.

(Photos from TPB)

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