CHICAGO, IL –The Chicago launch of the 7th Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Tourism Directors (ACGTD) Tour at the Philippine Consulate’s Kalayaan Hall took place last week.
Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim welcomed the guests composing of media personalities, community leaders, business leaders, and young professionals, encouraging them to join this year’s tour, and to invite their friends and family. Said he, “This is a worthwhile trip that will let you immerse yourselves in our culture.”
Tourism Director Vernie Velarde-Morales handled the presentation on the 7th ACGTD Tour and its components. Going over the itinerary, pricing, airfare routing, and the optional post-tours, she said that escorted tours throughout Metro Manila area are available, as well as opportunities to watch favorite Filipino game shows live, pampering at spas, and exploring museum collections! Most meals are included in the trip, including what could be an extremely memorable welcome and farewell dinners. An all-day fiesta at the Las Casas de Acuzar in Bataan is the innovation to the Tour’s usual optional out-of-town day trip. The tour’s highlight will be the audience with President Benigno S. Aquino at Malacanang Palace and a photo opportunity with the country’s leader.
An added attraction during the launch was an introduction by P. Emraida Kiram of the producer, cast & supporters of Felipe de Leon’s Noli Me Tangere opera. Opera producer Karrel G. Bernardo tapped opera singers Steven Wallace (as Crisostomo Ibarra), Mila Koleva as (Maria Clara) and pianist Anatoliy Torchinskiy, to perform three songs for the launch attendees - which was a truly special treat! The cast enticed the audience to watch the doomed romance of Ibarra and Maria Clara, with soaring operatic scores and moving drama. Based on the book of our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, the Noli Me Tangere opera will be showcased for the first time outside the Philippines here in Chicago on May 26 & 27.
Also mentioned during the launch is the Philippines as the honored country in this year’s “Memphis in May International Festival.” Aside from the Philippine Embassy and Philippine Department of Tourism being involved in the activities, a group organized by Gem Classic Tours of Illinois arranged a 3-day bus tour to Memphis for those interested to participate in the Festival.
The question and answer portion of the launch was brief and ended on a very positive note. Almost everyone observed that the Filipino-American community has so many positive and cultural activities scheduled through the Asian Pacific-American month of May and the Philippine Independence month of June.
Attention on the Philippines Tour – Tourism Director Vernie Velarde-Morales talks to the attentive crowd during the launch event for the 7th Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Tourism Directors Tour. The event gathered several Fil-Am media, community leaders, and young professionals to the Philippine Consulate General on April 11 to learn about the exciting package for this year’s Tour. Among the highlights of the Tour are a photo opportunity with Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino, a “fiesta” in Bataan, and superb entertainment and dining during the welcome and farewell dinners.
Philippine Music at Its Finest – Attendees to the 7th Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Tourism Directors Tour launch event at the Philippine Consulate General were treated to a surprise special performance from some cast members of the upcoming opera Noli Me Tangere. This beloved piece of art written by the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, will be showcased for the first time outside the Philippines on May 26 and 27 in Chicago, IL. Above photo shows producer Karell Bernardo ready to introduce Steven Wallace and Mila Koleva after he welcomed Anatoliy Torchinskiy on the piano.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas – Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim and Tourism Director Vernie Velarde-Morales with some of the attendees at April 11’s 7th Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) launch at the Philippine Consulate General-Chicago. Launch attendees were able to mingle with the Consul General and Tourism Director before and after the presentations, as well as enjoy a surprise performance from some cast members of the upcoming Noli Me Tangere opera in Chicago.