BLACK EYED PEAS' Apl.de.ap EMBARKS ON 'MISSION PHL TOURISM'

MANILA, OCTOBER 26, 2011 (STAR) By Mayen Jaymalin (Photo - Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas is welcomed by Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez at the DOT office in Manila yesterday. EDD GUMBAN)

Filipino American rapper Apl.de.ap is doubling his efforts to promote Philippine tourism.

Soon the Black Eyed Peas member would be joining forces with the Department of Tourism (DOT) in promoting not only the country’s various destinations, but also in encouraging humanitarian work among foreign travelers.

In a meeting yesterday with Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Apl.de.ap, or Allan Pineda Lindo Jr., agreed to push for the so-called “Mission Tourism” among Filipino-Americans and other tourists from the United States.

“Mission or meaning tourism is a mix up of travel adventure like a trip to Boracay and then going to a school and building something to help out young children from the area,” Jimenez said.

“It’s like experiencing the zipline with a convent at the end of the line where you can do humanitarian work after having fun,” Jimenez said in jest.

According to Jimenez, he had known that Apl.de.ap does charitable activities during his visits to Manila so he thought of seeking his support for a different program that would give Filipinos abroad a more meaningful opportunity to reconnect with their relatives in the Philippines.

With the help of Apl.de.ap, the tourism chief also expressed hope to position Manila as the biggest “discotech” or entertainment destination.

“If there will be great talents, we can promote the Philippines as an entertainment destination,” Jimenez said.

Apl.de.ap expressed willingness to collaborate with the DOT in mounting mission tourism and encourage other Filipino-American artists and balikbayans to try and enjoy a different kind of travel to the Philippines.

“Coming to the Philippines to have a good time and help others keeps me grounded and helps me not to forget where I came from,” he said.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) sponsored Apl.de.ap’s trip to the Philippines in line with its program to encourage more Filipino-Americans to visit the country.

A few months ago, PAL brought another Filipino-American artist, Bruno Mars, and his family, to the country.

PAL officials said they are also making available a tour package for Apl.de.ap’s friends who want to come and see the Philippines.

In 2009, Apl.de.ap already collaborated with then tourism secretary Joseph Ace Durano in coming out with several music videos, including “Biyaheng Pinoy with Apl” that showcased different scenic spots in the country.

Apl.de.ap said he has been wanting to actively promote Philippine tourism, but he did not have sufficient time then because their group had concert tours.

The music artist said he would be meeting with Jimenez for the second time so they could discuss the launching of the mission tourism campaign at the soonest possible time.

The rest of the Black Eyed Peas are coming to Manila for a concert at the Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City on Oct. 25.

“All the members of Black Eyed Peas are excited to come over here for the concert. There would be a lot of costume changes and we will be singing some of our hits. But this time I am looking for Filipino special guests to do a duet with me for Tagalog songs,” Apl.de.ap disclosed.

The US-based rapper is also scheduled to come back in December to distribute goodies among Aeta children in his native Pampanga and Pasig and in January to mount a fund-raising drive in Boracay.

Meanwhile, Apl.de.ap belied reports that their group is breaking up.

“No we are not breaking up. We always take a break after doing an album and do some projects on the side,” he said.

Apl.de.ap recently disclosed that he is legally blind and he did so to encourage children who have similar conditions to continue pursuing their dreams despite having eyesight problems.

“A lot of kids have the same problem, but I don’t want them to give up. They should pursue their dreams. I am an example - I did not let (my condition) affect me and I always found ways so that it won’t get in the way of my dreams,” he said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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