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25 May 2012

Philippines was 2012 Honored Country in the Memphis in May International Festival (MIMIF)

The Philippines was privileged to be chosen as the 2012 Honored Country in the Memphis in May International Festival (MIMIF), a month-long celebration of local and international customs, cuisines, and culture held annually in Tennessee, United States. The Philippine delegation led by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr., consisted of high-ranking government officials and representatives from the private sector. Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. also took the opportunity to launch the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign in the heartland of the United States as part of the country’s participation.
“Memphis in May is a very good opportunity to showcase our country’s unique offering to an audience that is relatively clueless of what the Philippines is all about. Aside from the honor that the people of Memphis gave us, this event also allowed us to launch our new tourism campaign to the heartland of America, a market that the DOT has never explored in the past,” Jimenez said.
In selecting the featured country for the festival wherein the chosen country will be given the opportunity to showcase their society and way of life, James Holt, President and CEO of MIMIF shared that, “The opportunity to experience the immense history and culture of this archipelagic country in Asia will certainly make for an educational and enjoyable Festival this year.”
The Philippine tourism campaign enjoyed a huge mileage, especially during the second week of the MIMIF where the Secretary’s visit also coincided with the “International Week Salute to the Philippines.” The delegation showcased the best of Filipino talent in a cultural performance entitled “Philippines: Live from the Islands.” The foreign community was entertained by performances from world-renowned Filipino artists such as the Bayanihan Dance Troupe and the Worldwide Family of Modern Arnis.
In a luncheon program held the following day, Secretary Jimenez presented the idea and strategy behind the country’s new campaign to the tourism stakeholders of Memphis.
In his speech, Secretary Jimenez said“The Philippines’ core strength is its people, the Filipinos, to which our campaign is primarily all about. It is not a scholarly or elegant Madison Avenue line. It is a direct description of the Filipino skill and natural instinct for turning all strangers into friends. And as what we have been treated since the time we arrived, I could say that we have met our match—the people of Memphis, Tennessee. You have not only received us as guests; you have also given up time and space to honor us as friends and that is, if you will allow me, the most Filipino thing I could think of.”
An international gala was also held bringing together over 300 Memphis dignitaries, celebrities, and Filipino-American guests to honor the Philippines and feature the host country’s excellent cuisine. Filipino VuQo, the world’s first and only Vodka distilled from coconut, was served to the guests that evening. Secretary Jimenez invited everyone to come to the Philippines and experience the Filipinos’ genuine hospitality and unique culture.
“The Philippines as a country shares many distinct similarities with the City of Memphis that make the two destinations a great pair in terms of friendship and camaraderie. From the weather to our people’s warmth and love for basketball, the two share many parallels that make it very easy for our citizens to relate to the culture of one another and, in effect, make the travel much convenient for the tourist,” Jimenez enthused.