MICEweek: February 6

Miss Universe was an events triumph in Manila, but there was more to Philippine MICE, last week. William Wadsworth discovers new facets of our industry, from the floral beauty of Quezon City to the smoke-filled flight training of tomorrow’s air crew.



HortiKultura 2017, The Plant & Garden Show was a joy to follow at the Flower Garden, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City, last week. The February 3-15 flower fest reveals the refinement of Filipino horticulture and its passion for shows. HortiKultura 2017’s ribbon-cutting was a beautiful setting, and quietly reveals the event’s sponsorship by Del Monte and Uni Writing Instruments, which supplied pens for visitors’ drawing sessions.

HortiKultura 2017’s talks seem well-curated and range from a detailed study of local carnivorous plants to professorial discourses on the nation’s exotic fruit trees; natural heritage; water lily weaving and stunning presentations of cacti. The show’s organizers must have worked very hard to choose content that would interest its discerning audiences (below). The event’s speakers also discussed the import of plants, a study of native trees and the introduction and presentation of tillandsia, hibiscus and orchids. The event might also open new vistas in alfresco MICE events and wedding-reception settings, with corporate landscapes (right) ranging from the Bonsai & Suiseki Alliance of the Philippines to the Cactus & Succulents Society of the Philippines and Flora Botanical of Bacolod by Doreen Dofitas. Such displays remind Philippine meeting venues and hotels that our nation has a thriving horticultural sector. Its creativity can turn a modest garden into a memorable, beautiful space for selfies and group photographs. Philippine gardens can also be heavenly spacious, colorful and fragrant for visitors from Hong Kong and Singapore who are used to living in tiny, expensive apartments. However, a Facebook post also reminds Philippine events organisers to tie-in with similar shows – as Manila FAME did so effectively last April. On January 13, an out-of-towner wrote that he was looking forward to attend Hortikultura 2017, but learned that there was “a succeeding show by the Philippine Orchid Society, which I also want to attend”.  He adds: “I hope next time your two shows shorten the gap in between shows. Ten days is too long of a wait, specially if you are coming from abroad.”

The Hotel Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMA) is the “voice of hotels and resorts” in the Philippines. And who can forget how it held its glamorous VIRTUS Awards (left) at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center on November 15. The HSMA is also very good at telling media about is events, and we wish more hotel GMs across the Philippines would be as enthusiastic about their MICE facilities and event case studies. HSMA Secretary Christine Ann U. Ibarreta on Friday alerted her colleagues to the upcoming business impact of Madrid Fusion Manila and the Coldplay concert, and observed how “various movers and shakers in government and the private sector have seemingly conspired to bring us another exciting and eventful 2017”.  She also gave HSMA members a timely reminder of the association’s first general membership meeting on Thursday, February 16, from 11am-2pm at The Peninsula Manila. Its speakers will include two DOT officials, Benito C. Bengzon, Jr., undersecretary for tourism development (TDP) tourism development planning sector; and Maricon B. Ebron – manager, international promotions department, Tourism Promotions Board. It should be a fascinating discussion and we hope HSMA or DOT can later share what was said.  After all, HSMA members are key to the Philippine MICE community because they persuade corporations and associations to fill meeting rooms. Inquiries: e-mail hsmasecretariat@gmail.com on or before Thursday, (February 9).

Two big MICE events are coming up. Much of the Philippine MICE sector is preparing for the The TravelTour Expo, on February 10-12, at the SMX Convention Center. Its 1,008 booths drew over 100,000 visitors, last year. We also draw overseas readers attention to the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, which on February 9-12 covers virtually everything to do with flight at Clark, Pampanga. Get there early as the Philippine Flag will be flown at sunrise, and the hot air balloons lift off around 5.30am-6am. Look out too for paragliders, skydivers, radio-controlled aircraft, dancing kites, and more. There’s the flight industry’s Aviation Awards, archery, animals and a VIP lounge with tickets at P6,000 per person. Such facilities offer excellent MICE-event potential, not only from Manila but also Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou, Hainan, and Taipei – all of which can be a “quick hop” to Clark.  Details of past events are archived in MICE News Philippines. Just type “Clark Balloon”.

MICEweek also congratulates the Philippine Society of Newborn Medecine on a fine event backdrop (left) and busy table set-up for its 3rd International Convention at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria Ortigas Center in Quezon City, last week. The room shot (below) shows lots of keen, young professionals and students discussing relevant topics. Associations, please email us about your event on micenewsph@gmail.com – or message us on our Mice NewsPh Facebook page.

Most of the Philippines’ best hotels are gearing up for Valentine’s Day events. The best love-in promotion so far is the Sofitel Manila Philippines’ staycation packages “that bring couples together to experience a glamorous and a romantic getaway”. Its room rates start from P11,000.00 net inclusive of breakfast for two at Spiral and Valentine dinner buffet at the Poolside for two adults.

MICEweek also introduces MICE Students, in which we encourage HRM, tourism, cruise and aviation colleges’ faculty and students to highlight their training and events. After all, our young students are our industry’s future, and many are staunch readers of this little website! So we’re thrilled that the Ortigas Center-based International Cabin Attendant Training School (ICATS) has posted some interesting classroom pictures online. Founded in 2009, ICATS offers 30-day intensive inflight training opportunities, and with a curriculum “based on standards set by international flight attendant schools”.  ICATS’ courses include “a five-module training with key subjects on personality development, aircraft familiarization, emergency situations and procedures, on-board service and interview essentials” Trainees also receive hands-on training by qualified instructors who are “all equipped with years of experience flying with major and prominent international airlines”, ICATS says. It also says it runs the only scholarship program of its kind in the Philippines. ICATS graduates also fly for Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Oman Air, Fly Nas, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Air Asia and Cathay Pacific. So no wonder ICATS’s latest trainees look smart and composed while undergoing decompression and smoke-filled cabin training (above) from their lecturer, JV-Nina Lozada. The picture of Batch 47’s birthday surprise and bunch of flowers (left) also reveals their touching respect for their personality development trainer, Naze Mortell. ICATS students also YouTubed their glamorous year-end party, “ICATS goes to PARIS” at the Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, in Quezon City. Flight-crew training looks a fabulous career start, just as Philippine aviation and MICE sectors are taking-off. Inquiries: arthdeleon@icatsonline.com

On another point, if there are any events companies looking for work-experience interns, please let us know, on micenewsph@gmail.com. Students often ask us for industry contacts, events ideas or coursework information, so please let us know here, and – who knows – maybe an events boss might spot your question and get in touch.

Finally, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) won this website’s Best Publicity prize, and then gave the Philippine MICE industry an unexpected boost, last week.  The Amsterdam-based world body and SCB won the award, thanks to their #RoadtoSarawak campaign. This was designed to promote its November 2016 ICCA Congress at SCB in Kuching, in Malaysia. In order to achieve that, they cleverly invited ICCA’s 1,000 members worldwide to adopt Sarawak orangutans at big MICE events such as IBTM in Barcelona, IMEX in Frankfurt, AIME in Melbourne and IT&CM in Shanghai. It was a big, global success, as #eventsprofs wanted to win a prize of adopting such beautiful creatures.  Now anyone who is anyone in international MICE knows about ICCA, Kuching, Malaysia and SCB. “The orangutans’ message was unbeatably heart-rending,” this website wrote. “And the lovable Sarawak “princess” Tingsan (right) stole MICE News Philippines’ awards limelight.”

ICCA then gave the Philippine MICE world an unexpected boost by leading its industry-influential ICCA World News newsletter  this week with a report of its Best Publicity Prize win – and linking to MICE News Philippines’ Second Awards report. As a result, the global meetings industry also learned more about Philippine MICE, and this website’s award winners:  Iloilo; Safesat; The Philippine Retailers Association; Manila FAME – April 2016; World Trade Center Metro Manila; Madrid Fusion Manila; Philippine International Convention Center; Ex-link Management and Marketing Services Corporation; and the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. Thank you, ICCA.

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