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AdCongress formally opens at CWC today

By MAR S. ARGUELLES
Bicol Mail

Early registrants came pouring in as trade exhibits were opened and food stalls, photo and open market booths mushroomed at the Cable Park beach area of the CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC) here Wednesday morning before the formal opening ceremonies at the CamSur Convention Center slated at 9:00 a.m. today, Nov. 17, with Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez as keynote speaker.

Over 2,000 delegates are expected to converge here for the first time in history to join AdCongress 22, or the 22nd Philippine Advertising Congress from November 16 to 19.

After over a year since CamSur Gov. LRay Villafuerte bidded his province to be the venue and host, everyone at the provincial capitol left no stone unturned to set the stage for the event that could well turn out to be the milestone activity ever in the history of the advertising industry in the Philippines.

“We are ready as we can ever be. We’ve pulled all the stops and worked hard to make sure that this year’s AdCongress would be very successful and give the delegates a great time,” Gov. Villafuerte declared.

Philippine Daily Inquirer President and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, overall AdCongress22 chairperson, said, “Our business and our jobs have changed dramatically in the last few years along with the rules of consumer engagement. And to stay in the game, we can no longer play by the same rules. So it’s either we let the game change us, or we change the game.”

The AdCongress finds its host in a place that embodies the spirit of game change. Reinventing itself from plain old Camarines Sur to CamSur, the number one tourist destination in the Philippines, the now famous adventure land is home to what local and international visitors hail as “the best cable park in the world,” which is found at the CWC.

More than just a historic event, AdCongress 22 will be a totally different experience. Aside from interfacing in a novel professional convention, the participant may also relax and enjoy wakeboarding, the water-based sports at facilities on-site and visit fabulous beaches and attractions easily accessible from the convention site.

Jaw-dropping special exhibits have been put up by GMA Network, Smart, TV5 and Cignal.

Because many of the delegates have been booked in hotels in Naga City, some 10 km from the convention site, City Mayor John Bongat and the concerned stakeholders have made sure that the city will be a pleasant place to stay – and a memorable one – for the delegates, many of whom will also be coming with their friends and close family members.

Already, the city mayor has reactivated the Joint Operations Center and convened an Inter-Agency Task Force that will jointly supervise operations and pool vital resources for solid waste management, orderliness, security, public safety, health and sanitation, tourism services, emergency response, and disaster preparedness. It is also tasked with establishing command, control, coordination, and communication systems for the management of programs, activities and services.

Several cultural and entertainment activities have been lined up in the city, including street parties, banchettos, food trips, bar wars and concerts at the city’s main plazas and Magsaysay Avenue, Bicol’s most scintillating food and entertainment strip.

From the outset, Gov. Villafuerte has been very keen on holding the AdCongress in CamSur, not only to fortify its stature as the country’s number one tourism destination but also to boost the image of the province in general, and the Provincial Capitol Complex in particular, not only as an ideal seat of local governance but also as a center of culture and the arts, international extreme sports and major conventions and conferences.

“Now, our vision for CamSur is to make it a prime destination for meetings, incentive travel conferences, conventions and exhibitions, or MICE,” the governor added.

Aside from facilities and amenities on-site at the CWC, two new giant air-conditioned tents were erected, a 5,250 square-meter plenary hall that can comfortably seat the entire number of expected participants and another 3,750 square-meter exhibition hall where the general public needs only to register in order to have free access to view all exhibits.

Another feature singular to the AdCongress is the on-line facility, the first time such convenience was provided by any AdCongress through which participants could register, book hotel and travel arrangement well in advance sans the hassle of on-site paper registration.

Headed by the Philippines’ TV triumvirate Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III of ABS-CBN, Atty. Felipe L. Gozon of GMA-7 and Manuel V. Pangilinan of ABC-TV5, the congress will feature an awesome retinue of resource speakers acclaimed in Asia and globally.

Entertainment galore will also be provided, an array of parties, raffles and the gracious presence of showbiz stars and celebrities incuding Shamcey Supsup who will lead this morning’s invocation, and the special appearances of Anne Curtis, Angelica Panganiban, Christine Reyes, Angeline Quinto, Derek Ramsay, Gary Valenciano, John Lloyd Cruz, Piolo Pascual, KC Concepcion, Kim Chiu, Kris  Aquino, Luis Manzano, Maja Salvador, Sarah Geronimo, Vice Ganda, and a horde of other personalities.