Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Philippines is getting down…down the Underground!

Yes, you heard that right! The Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) in London has gone down!…to the Underground! This momentous occasion was celebrated by the PDOT with a FUN bus ride around central London on the first day of May. The double decker bus sported the new designs of the Philippines tourist board with a huge “IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPINES” written on it. The London cab with the same livery was also present for the photo shoot with the Philippine Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo and the PDOT London led by Ms. Chit Afuang.

The bus was filled with guests from the travel trade, media, officers of the Embassy of the Philippines, PDOT team and Lahing Kayumanggi (Brown Race) Dance Company wearing beautiful Filipiñana gowns and Filipino Barong who also provided the entertainment on the go. PDOT staff also conducted fun games, gave away lots of prizes and serenaded everyone during the thirty-five minute joyride. The Philippines double decker bus went around Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, the Strand, Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus, Regent Street and then back to Piccadilly. “Everyone had a blast during the bus ride as we asked people to sing, wave their fun flags and participate in the games while we give away prizes,” exclaimed Ms. Afuang of PDOT London. Onlookers were delighted to watch the hullabaloo and laughter happening in the bus as it went around the full streets of Central London. The whole entourage led by PDOT staff also went down at Oxford Circus to give away bracelets and other treats to shoppers who were very happy to receive such surprises! 

Reymund Enteria and Steven Cheung, two Filipinos Olympic Torch bearers also joined the fun bus ride with other guests. 

The event ended at the Embassy of the Philippines in Piccadilly with a short video presentation and flowing cocktails. Ambassador Manalo welcomed everyone before another batch of fun and surprises unfolded. “This is just a sample of what you will experience when you visit our country. A culture of FUN, beauty and excitement await every visitor. With 7,107 islands, guests are sure to find islands that will suit their adventure. And with more than 90 million hosts, you are definitely going to have more fun in the Philippines,” said Ambassador Manalo. 

The UK is a very important market for the Philippines as it ranks 1st in Europe in number of tourist arrivals to our country, and 10th overall. It is a growing and expanding market, with over 100,000 British tourists travelling to the Philippines in 2011 alone – an all-time high.

Now, the PDOT has set its eyes on higher goals, therefore will be more aggressive with its marketing and promotional campaigns. Previously, we have seen the Philippine eagle land on the panels of the London buses while the London Cabs transported many to the beautiful beaches, underwater and mountains of the Philippines. Now, we will see the different smiling and welcoming people of this beautiful country grace the cover of the buses and taxis. Meanwhile, the Philippine version of the Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, a title holder as one of the new 7 wonders of nature award, adorns the London Underground; reminding people that being in the “underground” can be so much fun…in the Philippines! 

“I was impressed with the energy of the Filipinos during the short motorcade,” expressed Simon Beck of Orbital Communications. Iain Webb of Fulham Football Club seconded as saying, “the most ‘fun’ time I ever had on board a London bus!”

This advertising hype in the UK is a synchronized effort with PDOT Manila as they launch a worldwide advertising campaign with CNN International that broke on 30 April. The UK publicity with the London cabs will stay to capture the millions of visitors attending the Queen’s Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics. 

PDOT London office is in charge of promoting the Philippines to the UK market as well as 15 other countries in North and South Europe including the Baltic region, Israel and Turkey.