Philippines: A traveller’s paradise

| September 2, 2010 | 0 Comments

My priorities as ambassador of the Philippines to Canada are to reflect the three pillars of our foreign policy: firstly, to assist in our country’s economic growth, secondly, to strengthen our national security and, thirdly, to ensure and promote the welfare of our citizens abroad.
Under the third pillar and enshrined in the Philippine Constitution is the mandate for our foreign service to ensure the well-being and protection of the rights of Filipinos working abroad. This is a priority in Canada, where there are more than 400,000 Filipinos and Filipino-Canadians.
The Philippines and Canada enjoy very strong bilateral relations. The two countries are blessed with a cordial and mutually beneficial relationship which is founded on shared values and goals as freedom-loving nations.
Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon was among the first to congratulate our new president, Benigno C. Aquino III, who was inaugurated June 30, revalidating once again the shared commitment of the Philippines and Canada to the democratic process.
Sixty years of relations between the Philippines and Canada have strengthened mutually beneficial cooperation which is rooted in human terms. Canada now receives 30,000 Filipinos as permanent or temporary residents each year, making the Philippines the country’s No. 1 source of temporary workers. The more than 400,000 Filipinos living in Canada make up the third largest group of immigrant communities in the country.
I encourage Canadians to try the Philippines as their next vacation destination. I am 100 percent sure that Canadians who holiday in the Philippines will fall in love, and will come back again and again.
The Philippines, in many senses, is Canada in Asia. It is the only country in Asia that is predominantly Christian — most Filipino are Catholic, and we share the same centuries-old Christian traditions. Like Canadians, we are very friendly and deeply family-oriented.
Like Canada, we have excellent water-sports and ecological tourism facilities. We have been rated as having the best scuba-diving areas in the world. Our Tubbataha Reef is a UN World Heritage Site while Boracay Beach in the central Philippines has been voted by a world tourist organization as “the most beautiful beach in the world.” Coro, in Palawan, with its lagoons and soaring cliffs, is said to be one of the most magical places on earth.
Only a few Canadians have discovered that Metro Manila has become one of the most bustling metropolises in Asia, and for shoppers, it’s a paradise. We have more than two dozen malls in Manila, and the newest one, the Mall of Asia, located along the historic Manila Bay, is said to be the biggest and most beautiful in Asia now. Manila is known as a world-class shopping centre: prices of products are very, very reasonable, and the variety of things available covers the entire globe.

Jose S. Brillantes is the ambassador of the Philippines in Canada. Reach him at or 613-233-1121.

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