Last Sunday, Edge and had the chance to attend the Travel Madness Expo 2014 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Already on its third year, the expo showcases exhibitors ranging from famous local and international airlines to leading travel agencies, as well as tourism offices of different governments all over the world.
While most aim to sell ticket deals and tour packages, there were some exhibitors who pulled a few cool gimmicks. At the Sabah Tourism Board booth, for example, we had the chance to talk to a couple of tourism officers who gladly gave us some advice and the contacts for our ambitious Mt. Kinabalu climb next year.
On the other hand, the carnival-inspired Qatar Airways featured a gaming booth where guests can shoot balls and win soccer jerseys (Qatar made a bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup).
My favorite, the Japan Pavilion, even put on different shows at different times throughout the day. We were treated to a spectacle of traditional Japanese painting, koto-playing, and authentic sushi-making. They even have a booth where guests can write their names in hiragana and katakana, two of Japan’s writing systems.
One of my favorite moments in the expo was stumbling upon this travel deal for North Korea — the hermit kingdom, the land of the Kims, the sworn enemy and poor little brother of South Korea. I’ve always been fascinated with this country and I never had the slightest expectation that travel tours to NoKor would be available in the Philippines, so imagine my delight when I found this deal. The tour is expensive — minimum of around Php 75,000 — but the possibility of setting foot in NoKor someday keeps my hope alive!
The highlight of this expo, my day, my year, and probably of my life was when we scored some Basco, Batanes tickets from Philippine Airlines! Edge and I have always planned to reach this elusive province, but with exorbitant plane fares, I’ve always treated Batanes as a dream. On a regular day, Basco round-trip ticket prices from SkyJet and PAL would range from Php 15,000 to Php 20,000. However, we managed to buy our tickets from the expo for the sweet, sweet price of only Php 3,200+ (round-trip) per pax. Thank you, PAL!
In summary, the Travel Madness Expo 2014 can be described in a few words: freebies, deals, and savings, savings, SAVINGS! A huge thank you and kudos to the organizers. Can you please hurry with next year’s expo? 🙂