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Tourism Undersecretary Katherine de Castro was in San Francisco to launch the Department of Tourism’s “Bring Home A Friend” Program at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center on Friday, 27 October 2017.

Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon welcomed the Filipino-Community, travel consolidators and members of the media to the launch, which aims to increase the number of visitors with foreign passport holders to the Philippines.

In line with the Consulate’s movement to Spark*Connect*Empower* the Filipino-American Community, Deputy Consul General Ascalon invited the Community to connect with the Philippines, and to bring friends home, so they can find out for themselves why Conde Nast would name three Philippine islands as the best islands in the world.

Tourism Director Pura Suanding-Molintas presented a video on the mechanics of the raffle, outlining the prizes that both sponsors and invitees could win, including a condominium unit, a car, and chances to win business class tickets to the Philippines, trips to Palawan Jpark Island Resort and Pearl Farm Beach Resort.

Undersecretary de Castro informed the event’s guests that the program was a revival of then-Secretary of Tourism Mina Gabor, who wished to attract more foreigners to the Philippines.  Undersecretary de Castro underscored that more than the splendid diving sites, beautiful beaches and mountains, it is the Filipino people’s warmth and hospitality that would make a visit to the Philippines memorable.  She encouraged the Community to become tourism ambassadors and to support the Government’s efforts in growing the nation’s economy.

The event culminated in a performance by Kariktan Dance Company, accompanied by food from Malasa, a Filipino pop-up restaurant based in San Francisco.

A soft launch of the program took place during Undiscoverd San Francisco on Friday, 20 October 2017, a night market held at the Old Mint that celebrates SOMA Pilipinas.

To register and to find out more about the Bring Home A Friend program, please visit   END