Ottawa — The Province of Aklan’s festive Ati-Atihan season saw the arrival of Winter Escapade 7 – It’s More Fun in the Philippines (WE-IMFITPH 7) on the island paradise of Boracay.
The tour, which has brought more than a thousand Canadian and American snowbirds to the most sought-after destinations in the Philippines in the last seven years, is known for showcasing the best of the country’s natural resources, cultural heritage, and regional cuisine.
This year, Winter Escapade brought more than a hundred visitors to Manila, Bataan, Pampanga, and Aklan from 15 to 22 January 2020. The tour kicked off with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Park, followed by a series of tours to national museums, Binondo, and Greenhills Shopping Center. The group then made its way to heritage sites in Bataan, including the Mt. Samat National Shrine and Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar where they were welcomed by the Department of Tourism with a gala dinner.
From Bataan, the tour moved to Clark, Pampanga, where the visitors had a first-hand glimpse of the New Clark City, the Philippines’ leader in smart and sustainable cities. A tour of Clark’s historical sites and Freeport Zone rounded out their visit before they joined Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) President and Chief Executive Officer Vince Dizon and other BCDA officials for a dinner hosted in honor of the group.
After their stop in Pampanga, the snowbirds flew from Clark International Airport straight to Caticlan for the Boracay leg of their tour. Dubbed Asia’s number 1 island for 2019 by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, Boracay amazed the group with its pristine white sands and clear blue waters. The visitors went island-hopping, accompanied with lunch on the beach, and had time to relax and unwind as they took their fill of sunshine and explored the island. During their stay, the Province of Aklan, led by Governor Florencio Miraflores, hosted the guests with a gala dinner that included a special Ati-Atihan performance.
In her message to the Winter Escapade 7 participants, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat welcomed them and stated that “the Philippines has been known as one of the top sun and beach destinations in the world with more than 7,000 islands to choose from. The country’s advocacy for sustainable and responsible tourism, coupled with the one of a kind hospitality of the Filipinos, makes the Philippines your perfect refuge this season.”
Philippine Ambassador to Canada Petronila P. Garcia thanked the tour participants for choosing the Philippines. “This is your chance to sit back, relax, and forget about winter. I enjoin our snowbirds to spread the word about the beauty of the Philippines and the warmth of the Filipino people. While winter is inevitable, the Philippines is always ready to welcome you with its perpetual summer.”
Joining Ambassador Garcia for Winter Escapade 7 were Consul General to Vancouver Maria Andrelita Austria, Consul General to Calgary Zaldy Patron, and Consul General to Toronto Orontes Castro.
Winter Escapade 7 is an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Promotions Board, local government units, and Rajah Tours Philippines, the office ground handler of Winter Escapade 7.