Stunning Filipino fashion in Qatar

 08 May 2017 - 10:33

Stunning Filipino fashion in Qatar

By Raynald C Rivera / The Peninsula

Intricately woven fabrics by weavers from indigenous communities in the Philippines transformed into stunning creations by acclaimed Filipino fashion designer Renee Salud took to the runway during the “Philippine Tapestry” fashion show in Doha, which served as a fitting finale to the tourism promotion event organised by the Department of Tourism (DOT) of the Philippines.

From Inaul of Maguinadanao and Landak of Marawi to Yakan of Basilan and T’nalak of the T’bolis, the fabrics represent the various Filipino indigenous communities particularly in Mindanao and their painstaking efforts to sustain their long-held weaving tradition.

It was one of those rare evenings when the colourful array of creations, which has already won acclaim in several countries, was showcased on the catwalk by a number of top Filipino models and beauty queens who flew in especially for the show.

The hour-long fashion  show exuded a festive spirit as segments of the show were introduced by  popular folkdances from various regions and provinces in the Philippines such as the Cordilleras, Davao, Manila, Bicol and the Visayas.

Through the colourful handmade fabrics and designs of international appeal and the range of dances, the audience were able to catch a glimpse of the diversity of Filipino culture and the beauty of the Philippines waiting to be explored by tourists in search for a new and exciting destination.

Spicing up the show was a unique performance by Filipino beatboxer Neil Rey Garcia Llanes who enthralled the crowd with his impressive vocal prowess producing various sounds turned into beats and music. He showed the audience the reason why he made it to the first season of Asia’s Got Talent.

It was not the first time the Philippines sent a delegation for a tourism mission in Doha, but it was one of the best in recent years.

“We have been organising sales missions to Qatar over the last seven years, but this by far is one of the most high level delegations that we’ve put together and from the feedback that I’ve got, the B2B sessions have been very encouraging,” Philippine Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon, Jr. told The Peninsula.

The event, Bengzon said, was organised mainly to promote mutually beneficial business opportunities and showcase the best of tourism in the Philippines.

“Every year, we get almost 5,000 visitors from Qatar who get to experience our fantastic sand beaches, our excellent shopping, the rich history and culture and the warm hospitality of the Filipinos. But we feel more than ever this is the time for us to step up to intensify our marketing and promotion efforts here in Qatar as well as the rest of the GCC as we aim to get a larger share of the outbound market.

Recently, the Philippines has been aggressively promoting its tourism sector to compete with its neighbours. “We have expanded our global media campaign; we have developed more accommodation facilities and expanded our capacity to absorb; we have created more exciting, compelling tour options for visitors; but more importantly we have created improved international air access to the country. We are therefore confident that we are more than ever prepared to welcome visitors and to address their requirements,” said Bengzon. He said the event  “signals the start of a more sustained campaign here in Qatar in order to move closer towards the objective of making the Philippines a more compelling and more fun destination in Asia.”

Bengzon also revealed plans to launch new destinations and new tourism products to further position the Philippines on the tourism map and entice more tourists from Qatar and the GCC, among which are a medical tourism programme and a dedicated programme for Qatari  ladies and the those from other GCC states.

DOT will also be working to convince airlines to increase their frequencies not only  to Manila but other Philippine destinations as well, he said, in addition to furthering efforts to increase the number of hotels and food establishments that are Halal-friendly.

Speaking at the event, Philippine Ambassador to Qatar Alan Timbayan underlined the importance of tourism towards economy and bilateral relations. “In the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) 12th Ministerial Meeting in Bahrain on November 25, 2013, where representatives both from the Philippines and Qatar attended, the Manama Declaration acknowledged the importance of tourism as an engine of economic growth, mutual understanding, strengthening cooperation and people-to-people contact,” said Timbayan.

“As the Philippines and Qatar continue to experience robust economic growth, a vigorous tourism promotion campaign presents a good opportunity to increase Qatari tourist arrivals in the Philippines in order to develop and enable them to discover the wonders of the country’s fascinating tourist destinations,”  he said.

The Ambassador went on highlighting the Philippines’ wide range of tourist attractions such as its beautiful scenic islands, exotic beaches, amazing volcanoes, world-class parks, unique wildlife, exciting fiestas, mouth-watering dishes and the world-famous Filipino hospitality.

“With 7, 107 islands, the Philippine archipelago is blessed with a wealth of natural resources, rich and vibrant history and unique and powerful culture,” he said.

He added: “I fervently hope that tonight’s event and networking opportunity among the prime movers in the tourism industry from both countries will generate the expected outcome in providing a better understanding of the Philippines is what it’s best to offer.”