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M.I.C.E. Events

 January 08, 2009
The Philippines Honored As Featured Destination At ATE In Chicago

 Known as a beach haven for celebrities and those in "the know," the Philippines' unique 7,107-island geography makes the destination just as perfect for travelers looking for adventure, nature and culture. Greater Chicago residents can get a sneak peak of the Philippines this weekend, as the tropical archipelago is the featured destination at the Adventures in Travel Expo (ATE) - Chicago, on January 10 and 11 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (formerly known as the Rosemont Convention Center).

To the traveler, the Philippines offers countless adventures from whitewater rafting to kayaking through limestone caves to rappelling down mountains and waterfalls -- and due to a favorable exchange rate, the Philippines is affordable on any budget. The country is also home to the most diverse marine ecosystem known to exist, the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park in Palawan, a scuba diving Mecca featuring two of the world's oldest and most distinct reef systems.

The Philippine Department of Tourism will be on hand at the convention center to highlight some of its unique island adventures for those looking to learn more about the myriad activities in which visitors can engage.

Expo attendees may visit the Philippine Department of Tourism at Booth 1027 and receive material information on the country, inquire and arrange tour packages, answer surveys and receive souvenir giveaways. By the booth's "mini-theater" schedule, expect to view audio visuals on the Philippines, watch cultural performances by youthful dancers, experience massage techniques such as the traditional Filipino "hilot" and enjoy a sampling of delectable Filipino cuisine. The Filipiniana Dancers and the Samahang Kapatid are the cultural performers that will also perform at the Global Beats Stage on both days.

Travel agents will be present for consumers interested in special tour packages. Educational seminars on the must-see adventure destinations in the Philippines will also be conducted by Adventure Travelers Society Co-founder Lisa Greyhill and noted Filipino travel author Carlos "Caloy" Libosada. Saturday schedule is 3:25 -- 4:00 p.m. and Sunday's schedule will run from 2:30 -- 3:15 p.m.

"Our cosmopolitan cities, designer shopping malls, upscale spa facilities and private-island resorts cater to luxury travelers, just as our islands in general are perfect for those looking for unique cultural experiences. Adventure travelers can also possibly discover their own personal Man Vs. Wild or Survivor experience while in our more remote islands", said Vernie Velarde Morales, Director of the Philippine Department of Tourism in Chicago, noting television personality Anthony Bourdain's recent visit in October.

For one, the Philippine offers survival training at Jungle Environment Survival Training Camp in Subic Bay, where natives offer instruction on how to drink from a water vine, make fire out of bamboo shavings and twigs, cook in a bamboo steamer and eat on a bamboo plate under a century-old tree. But it doesn't stop there. Nearby at the Subic Extreme Adventure Park, adventurers can walk, fly and glide from tree canopies using cables of zip lines, suspension bridges and a motorized hoist for rappelling.

If skydiving is your passion, then the Philippines is the right place for you. The country's affordable skydiving packages allow you to fulfill your dream of hurtling through the sky while marveling at the majestic views. The Skydiving Center in Tanauan, Batangas presents some of the most spectacular skydiving scenery in the world, with a drop zone between Mount Makiling and Taal Volcano.

Camiguin Island, a volcanic island in the Bohol Sea where waterfalls create both hot and cold springs, is often referred to as the Philippines' Garden of Eden, where travelers can also experience white water rafting and enjoy the views of Katibawasan Falls, one of the most serene locales in the country.

Paddling out to sea is a great way to commune with nature. Sea kayaking packages are widely available all over the archipelago, but the prime spot for the sport has to be the remote Calamian Islands off the northern tip of Palawan. There you will discover the pristine, palm-fringed limestone islands that the indigenous people of the area, the Tagbanuas, have been preserving for generations.

Hardcore surfers, on the other hand, must make a beeline to Siargao. This island off Mindanao is home to the legendary Cloud Nine break, where the Pacific Ocean regularly serves up colossal waves that offer the ultimate surfing high.

The Adventures In Travel Expo is being held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago on Saturday, Jan. 10 from 10:30am to 5:30pm, and Sunday, Jan. 11 from 11:00am to 4:30pm.

Philippine Department of Tourism

The Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) is one of the Executive Departments of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines responsible for the promotion of travel to the Philippines, tourism investments, and enhancement and preservation of tourism products in the country. Field offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco provide the following services free of charge on a selective basis: dissemination of tourism information, maps, brochures and posters; lending out of videos, CDs and other tourism-related materials; recommendations on places to visit; endorsement of relevant entities; and assistance to those traveling to the Philippines. These offices also engage in a number of promotional activities: presentations to travel organizations, travel trade shows, media inserts and joint marketing arrangements.