Streamers touting Philippines Airlines (PAL) were on display at one end of the room, Cebu and its beaches were at the opposite end, and the attractions of Vigan in the Ilocos was also thrown in.
PAL even distributed flight schedules for the summer on its international and domestic routes to the travel agents there.
The mood was festive, food plentiful, and the drinks were led off by Tanduay Rum mixed in with fruit juice.
For Filipino-Americans attending the reception in New York, what happened at Resorts World did not make them hesitate about visiting the Philippines or promoting trips to the country.
Lakhi Siap, who works in community relations for Ascene Chicago, a full service public relations media marketing firm focused on the Asian American community, visits often.
“I am one who goes back to the Philippines regularly. All these things happening in the Philippines are something to be aware of but (it) doesn't deter me from coming back,” he said.
“I live in Chicago, a city that has reports of shootings on a daily basis and there are certain parts of the city I don't travel to, similarly just like the Philippines. Just because all these things are happening in the Philippines doesn't deter me from going or being in fear that something may happen,” he explained.
Narvadez said the people in the five cities they toured were also “very supportive.”
He strongly believes that one cannot give into the paralyzing terror inflicted by the attacker in Resort World or the wholesale bombings and beheadings carried out by groups like the Abu Sayyaf.
“We cannot lose to them (that way),” he said. “We still need to do” these promotions.
The most powerful incentive for Siap is of course family. Siap’s father is Filipino-Chinese and his mother is Indian. His parents were born and grew up in Cebu, where he likewise first saw the light of day.
“I go back for family,” he said.
“And I also go back regularly with friends who are both Filipino and non-Filipino to show them the beauty of the country, the hospitality and the opportunity of creating businesses to help uplift the country, create jobs, reverse the brain drain and advance the country.” – Rappler.com
Rene Pastor is a journalist in the New York metropolitan area who writes about agriculture, politics and regional security. He covered the 9/11 attacks in New York and the innumerable coups in the Corazon Aquino era. He was, for many years, a senior commodities journalist for Reuters. He is known for his extensive knowledge of agriculture and the El Niño phenomenon and his views have been quoted in news reports.