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PH consulates launch first 'VIP' tour in 4 years

Steve Angeles | TFC News Los Angeles

Posted at Mar 17 2023 09:09 PM

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The Philippine consulates in the U.S. and the Department of Tourism are set to conduct their "Very Important Pinoy" tour for the first time in four years.

Formerly known as the Ambassadors' Tour, the project will run from July 16 to 24.

"We all know the world changed forever but it doesn’t mean our love for enjoyment has to forever change," said Deputy Consul General Ambrosio Encisco III.

Officials said Filipinos in the U.S. are eager to visit their homeland, as part of the Marcos Jr. administration's emphasis on the pivotal role tourism plays in the country.

"You can really feel the dynamism, the energy of the Philippine economy," Edgar Badajos, consul general in Los Angeles, said. "Everybody is so excited and we are seeing an uptick in Philippine arrivals."

Tour packages start at less than $2,000 for single occupancy.

The "VIP" tour will have stops in Manila, Iloilo, and the famed Boracay Island. Arrangements are also underway for guests to meet with Philippine officials.

While it's the first post-pandemic tour of the program, there would still be certain protocols in place to prevent COVID transmission, and treat possible cases.

"[In] the Philippines, face masks are optional now so we leave it basically to the discretion of the participants,"  Jojo Clemente of Rajah Tours said. "We also have our set protocol to deal with someone who may contract the virus while on tour.

He added: "There will be local health insurance that is included in the package so hospitalization will be covered."

The deadline for the tour's early bird registration is on April 1.