More than 80 Filipino tourists led by the Philippine Department of Tourism Assistant Secretary Maria Lourdes Japson and 2015 Miss World-Philippines Hillarie Danielle Parungao, attended the 2016 Asia–Pacific Cultural Day (APCD) Opening Ceremony on November 5 held at the Taipei Main Station.
The APCD celebration, dubbed as one of the biggest inter-cultural festival in Taiwan is now running on its 5th year and being participated by 20 countries including Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines. This event aims to illustrate the rich cultures and diversity of the participating countries by showcasing their performances, cuisines and products.
In time for the APCD, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines in partnership with local travel operators, EVA Air and Philippine Airlines offered a “Special Time to Visit Taiwan” promotional tour package for interested Filipino tourists who would like to participate in the said event and have a tour of Taiwan’s famous historical and tourists attractions and sceneries.
The said promotional tour package attracted positive responses from Filipino tourists and local travel operators, with almost 40 accredited operators joining the visit to Taiwan. Participants have enjoyed very comprehensive programme and itinerary that enable them to visit some of Taiwan’s famous landmarks such as the Taipei 101, Taipei Guest House, and National Palace Museum. They also visited Taiwan’s well-known night markets, shopping districts and had taste of the country’s best cuisine. They also experienced cruising in Taiwan’s world-renowned Sun Moon Lake and DIY activities in Taiwan’s leisure farms.
In an exclusive interview by Formosa Television (FTV) Miss World-Philippines 2015 Hillarie Parungao shared how delightful she is of being able to represent the Philippines in this occasion. She then emphasized the strong linkages of Taiwan and the Philippines which was evident in the cultures of the two countries.
“It is my first time to visit Taiwan and I am very fascinated to find out how Taiwan influenced our culture and vice-versa. Like for example, in terms of food and technology, we really do share a lot of commonalities,” the beauty queen said.
Parungao hopes that she can encourage more Filipino tourists to visit Taiwan most especially that it is very proximate to the Philippines and indeed has a lot to offer.
“Taiwan is such a wonderful and safe place, especially to young Filipinos and females; it ranks as the 2nd safest country in the world. Transportation is also very convenient and in terms of accommodation, there’s a lot to choose from. Taiwan is really a perfect getaway for all sorts of travelers,” she shared.
Dr. Gary Song-Huann Lin, Representative of ROC (Taiwan) to the Philippines highlighted the relevance of the Philippine delegation’s visit to Taiwan as the Philippines is gaining great significance under President Tsai Ing-wen’s “New Southbound Policy.”
In his National Day Speech, Representative Lin mentioned that Taiwan and the Philippines have long-standing mutually-beneficial close relations and that these ties are wide-ranging including areas ranging from trade, investment, agricultural, fishery, labor and tourism.
“Taiwan is the top 6th visitor source for the Philippines and we do believe that tourism is indeed one of the best and effective means to forge stronger partnerships and cooperation among our two peoples,” said Representative Lin.
He also highlighted that through the efforts of the two countries’ governments, Taiwan and the Philippines were able to amend the 1996 air traffic agreement which paved the way for more flights and new routes between Taipei and Manila. As of now, there are 255 flights being offered per month. Major airlines such as AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, China Airlines, Eva Air and Philippines Airlines have already introduced new routes and increase passenger seat capacity. Both governments have also relaxed their respective visa measures allowing easier access to tourism exchanges of the two countries.
Representative Lin envisions that this timely visit to Taiwan can transcend into more opportunities of cooperation such as in areas of business, investment, culture, education, labour and technology that will create a mutually beneficial win-win situation for Taiwan and the Philippines.
The Asia-Pacific Cultural Day is mainly organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Philippine’s participation to the APCD is being organized by the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in the Philippines and Philippines-Department of Tourism.