Whether you're a basketball fan or just curious about the game, the Philippines is offering many exciting packages and experiences for any tourist in the country visiting for the FIBA International Basketball Federation World Cup 2023 this August.
As the country is gearing up to welcome the influx of international visitors eager to catch the competition, the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched on Tuesday, July 25 the Philippine tour packages for international fans and Filipinos.
In a statement, DOT Secretary Christina Frasco said that she saw FIBA Basketball World Cup as an opportunity to reintroduce the country to the world in terms of natural cultural assets, award-winning destinations as well as emerging cities and municipalities all over the Philippines.
"Truly, basketball has had such a great cultural impact on all of us Filipinos and all nations participating, that we see this as an opportunity to remind the world how much there is to love about the Philippines, and an opportunity to show the Philippines is ready, and the Philippines is open for tourism," Frasco stated.
What tours are available?
The department carefully crafted trip packages that highlight renowned tourist locations including those in Metro Manila, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, La Union and Pampanga, Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo and Bacolod, Boracay, Palawan, and Davao.
The government agency has collaborated with a tourism consortium of national tourist associations such as the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), HSMA (Hotel Sales and Marketing Association International), the Pacific Asia Travel Association Philippines Chapter (PATA), and the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP).
Likewise, the country's Hop On, Hop Off bus tours; accredited hotel and accommodation options; and travel packages with and without airfare are also included in the said tour packages.
Tours around Metro Manila are being offered. There's the Half Day-Old Manila Tour, which highlights the "vibrant energy" of the city and the "hidden gems of its surrounding destinations." It costs P3,804 for 2 and already includes private transportation to and from the hotel, entrance fees where applicable, and services of an English-speaking guide. If you want a kalesa ride to go with it, the fare is P4,342 for 2, which already includes the same perks.
Art enthusiasts can also join the Whole Day Museum Tour, which includes Casa Manila Museum in Intramuros, National Museum of the Philippines, and Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo. The price is P7,608 for 2, and it includes the same perks mentioned above.
For those who want to go outside Manila, there are also a few tours around Tagaytay, Quezon Province, Laguna, and Zambales.
How do I book?
Visitors can book and avail of the FIBA-exclusive tour packages with options of 3D2N or 4D3N arrangements at four or five-star hotels through the DOT website starting August 1 until September 30.
"Not only this will benefit [our] international tourism portfolio, but also our domestic tourism portfolio with all of these tour packages having been laid down from one region to the other," the tourism chief said.
The Philippines will share hosting duties for the group stage of the FIBA Basketball World Cup with Japan and Indonesia starting August 25 to 30.
52 of the 92 games will be held in the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City; the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City; and the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. MOA Arena will also host games in the World Cup's final round, which is set to take place from September 5 to 10.
Among the potential NBA stars to play at the FIBA World Cup are Nikola Jokic of Serbia, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Dominican Republic. The Philippines will host competitions featuring elite national teams from other countries including the United States, New Zealand, Jordan, Greece, Mexico, Montenegro, Lithuania, Egypt, China, Serbia, Puerto Rico, and South Sudan.
Meanwhile, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio confirmed to The Philippine STAR that NBA Fil-Am ace Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz will play for the Gilas Pilipinas in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.