ILOILO City – Passengers of Japanese cruise ship MV Pacific Venus were amazed by the warm welcome extended and shows presented by Iloilo City during the first port call in the city on Jan. 26 to 27.
Department of Tourism Region 6 together with the Iloilo City Government, Philippine Ports Authority and Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. led the welcome for 720 passengers and 180 crew of MV Pacific Venus upon their arrival at the Iloilo Commercial Port Complex at Loboc, Lapuz.
About 400 passengers disembark from the cruise ship and witnessed the Kasadyahan Festival at the new Iloilo Freedom Grandstand in the morning of Jan. 26.
DOT-6 headed by regional director Atty. Helen Catalbas, Mayor Jose Espinosa III and personnel from Iloilo City Tourism Office, Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, Inc. and Philippine Ports Authority boarded the cruise ship for the exchange of plaque right after the Kasadyahan Festival. They were also given the chance to tour the cruise ship.
A plaque given by the Department of Tourism Region 6 when the same cruise ship visited Boracay Island in 2016 was one of those prominently displayed in a portion of the wall of the ship.
Passengers of MV Pacific Venus were also catered to an Iloilo City Tour and were entertained by the cultural presentation of students from Iloilo National High School inside the cruise ship.
The next day, MV Pacific Venus passengers watched the Dagyang Tribes Dance Competition of Dinagyang Festival where they were amazed by the performances of the tribes showcasing the unique and rich culture and traditions of Western Visayas.
Routh, a German National and a passenger of the cruise ship said, “I watched the Kasadyahan and the Dinagyang Festival, it was so amazing, I want to see it again. So next year I’ll come back.”
Pacific Venus executive Ito Junkichi said that he really enjoyed Iloilo especially the Dinagyang Festival. He added that even the 92-year old Japanese passenger of the cruise ship enjoyed dancing to the lively music produced by the drums.
Passengers of MV Pacific Venus were mostly Japanese retirees and some were Europeans and Americans. Most of the crew were Filipino.
Mr. Patrick Loquinario, a resident of Lawa-an, Antique said that he has been working for MV Pacific Venus as a waiter for four years now. He added that he begun last December and he cannot deny the fact that he’s happy when the ship docked in Iloilo City because he had the chance to see his family. The families of the Filipino crew were invited to enter and tour the cruise ship.
Mayor Jose Espinosa III said that the arrival of Japanese cruise ship would not be possible without the effort of the Department of Tourism.
“Through the cooperation of everyone especially the Iloilo City Government, we had a successful port call and made a good impression to passengers of MV Pacific Venus. Iloilo City only proved that indeed, it is ready for cruise tourism. This is a good start for Iloilo City in the cruise tourism industry and I am looking forward that it will be sustained so that we can achieve our goal to position Western Visayas as an ideal destination for international cruise ships”, director Catalbas said./PN