NPC witnesses wonders of nature, cultures of Thailand, Laos

NPC witnesses wonders of nature, cultures of Thailand, Laos

July 12, 2018 @ 7:48 PM 5 years ago


Two representatives from the National Press Club of the Philippines were accorded a privilege and opportunity to witness and experience the wonders of nature and great cultures of the peoples of Thailand and Laos.

National Press Club of the Philippines Sec. Lydia Bueno and Director Benedict Abaygar, Jr., represented the Philippines in the CTJ-LJA 10-day working visit program in Thailand at Laos.

NPC Secretary Lydia Bueno, editor-in-chief of REMATE, Ang Diaryo ng Masa and Director Benedict Abaygar, Jr., executive producer of Global News Network, were among the journalists from 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries plus China who participated in a 10-day working visit program staged by the Confederation of Thai Journalists (CTJ)- Lao Journalists Association (LJA) under the Confederation of ASEAN Journalists (CAJ) Action Plan 2018-2020. CTJ currently holds the presidency of CAJ which rotates among its members every two years.

Other journalists who participated in the working visit program were Azaraimy Bin Haji Hasib, chief reporter, Borneo Bulletin (Brunei); Romdul Chetra, deputy editor-in-chief, (Cambodia); Im Rachna, deputy editor-in-chief, Radio France International (Cambodia); Elitha Evinora Tarigan, editor, RMOL (Indonesia); Widya Victoria Mahmilawati, editor, RMOL Online (Indonesia); Souphaksone Silaphet, news anchor/journalist, Lao National TV (Laos); Keoxomphou Sakdavong, deputy head of Online Section, Vientiane Times (Laos); So Yuen Ling, journalist, Nanyang Siang Pau (Malaysia); Kyaw Zay Yar Tun, editor, Maw Kun Magazine (Myanmar); Yan Naung Soe, assistant editor, The New Sky Media (Myanmar); Tanpisit Lerdbamrungchai, reporter, Nation TV (Thailand); Pongtorn Kitjaroenying, reporter, MGR Online (Thailand); Nguyen Hoang Viet, journalist, Journalist and Public Opinion Newspaper (Vietnam); H’lan Eban, editor and translator, Voice of Vietnam (Vietnam); Yao Lijuan, editor, People Daily Online (China) and Wang Kaihao, reporter, Features Department of China Daily (China).

Also included in the delegation were officials/representatives from CAJ, CTJ and LJA namely: Vorasack Pravongviengkham, DDG of Lao National Radio and Lithisack Vorarath, deputy director of Information Service, Tourism Marketing Department, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao PDR, both from LJA (Laos); Darin Horwattanakul, from CTJ (Thailand) and Sumonchaya Chuengcharoensil, from CAJ (Thailand).

Journalists from 10 ASEAN countries + China together with officials and representatives from Confederation of ASEAN Journalists, Confederation of Thailand Journalists and Lao Journalists Association posed after the opening ceremony of 10-day working visit program held in Thailand.



This year is a very important year for both Thailand, The Land of Smile and Laos as far as tourism is concerned.

Thailand is celebrating its ‘Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018’ while its neighboring Laos has its “Visit Laos Year 2018.”

The 10-day working visit to both countries was a great opportunity for journalists from ASEAN countries and China who came together to witness and experience the charms and beauty of the two countries.

Journalists who participated in the program had unforgettable and rich experiences and acquired greater knowledge of economic, social and cultural fabrics of both countries that they can share and promote to their audiences in their own homeland.

In an opening ceremony, CAJ President Thepchai Yong, said, the working visit program is part of the activities under the Action Plan adopted by the Confederation of ASEAN Journalists at its General Assembly held in Bangkok early this year and is aimed at fostering closer cooperation among journalists and creating better understanding among the peoples in the region.

He added that CAJ was conceived to play the role of a communicator to help people understand the diversities of the region and forge regional cooperation and it has played a significant role in serving as a bridge to bring together peoples of diverse historical and cultural backgrounds in the ASEAN countries.

Meanwhile, Pramed Lekpetch, president of the CTJ, said that journalists play the key role as friendship bridges to connect people and understand one another.

“For ASEAN to move forward and stand up to the world’s challenges, we must become one, we must understand one another, unify and cooperate while prioritizing people to people connections,” he added.

According to Minister Weerasak Kowsurat, of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, they organized tourism promotion in many forms such as Community and Cultural Tourism, Environmental or Eco-Tourism, including tourism in industries in Thailand to encourage both domestic and foreign tourists to flock to their nation.

He added that they also promote the awareness of creative tourism to preserve the tourism sites as part of sustainable development of their country.



Journalists from ASEAN countries and China have travelled and discovered the beauty of Thailand and Laos during the 10-day working trip.

During the tour, which started in Thailand and ended in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), journalists visited and enjoyed various cultural, historical and natural tourist sites.

In Thailand, journalists visited the Grand Palace or the “Ancient Palace” in Bangkok where they saw the important buildings/halls inside used for various royal ceremonies, including coronations, processions and military exercises among others and historical temples in Ayutthaya such as Wat Yai Chaimongkol, Wat Phananchoeng Wat Phra Mahathat, Wat Chaiwattanaram, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wang Chang Ayutthaya Lae Phaniat among others.

Group photo of working visit program delegates at the Grand Palace in Bangkok,Thailand.

They also visited the Udon Thani Museum that showcases provincial arts, culture and archaeology, natural science and geology, along with the town’s history and the Thai-Chinese Cultural Center, the UNESCO World Heritage Ban Chiang Archeological Site, Ban Chiang National Museum and the excavation pit at Wat Pho Si Nai, as well as the Ho Chi Minh Educational and Tourism Historical Site.

Officials of Udon Thani Province welcomed the delegates from 10 ASEAN countries + China.

All participants enjoyed a river dinner cruise at Baan Vatcharachai.

They also experienced riding a trolley for city tour at Central Plaza of Udon Thani.

From Thailand, journalists crossed the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge passing thru Mekong River via bus going to Laos.

In Laos, participants visited various temples as well as the That Luang Grand Stupa and the Patuxay Victory Gate, Wat Sisaket and Wat Prhakeo, in Vientiane City.

In Vang Vieng, they explored Tham Chang and Poukam caves and engaged in adventurous activities such as “zip-lining” and “canoe kayaking” along the Namxong River.

In Luang Prabang, they visited the former Royal Palace, the historic Vat Xienthong temple and Kuangxi waterfall, where they enjoyed a refreshing moment.

Delegates and officials of CAJ, CTJ and LJA posed in front of Kuangxi waterfalls in Luang Prabang, Laos after a refreshing moment.

They also enjoyed the Mekong Kingdom luxury cruise at the waters of the Mekong River and fascinated by green mountains surrounding the rivers in Vang Vieng.

They were also continuously greeted with delicious local cuisine such as Lao chicken stew, steamed fish hor mok style, Luang Prabang sausage, crispy spring rolls, banana flower salad, papaya salad and melting pork among others.

They bought souvenirs at the Luang Prabang night market, visited the weaving center of Ock Pop Tock in Xiengkeo Village catering to women alone in the community and the souvenir shop at Sankhong Village where most people earn an average of 200 baht per day for making materials for souvenirs like lanterns, cards, albums, notepads, etc.

Another unforgettable experience was a very early awakening (3:00am) to see and experience the alms giving to local monks at Vat Syrimoungkoun Xaiyaram, in Laos. The idea of the alms giving is for the Buddhist monks to make merit and also to collect food for their one meal of a day.

Delegates posed before the alms giving to local monks at Vat Syrimoungkoun Xaiyaram.

Just like Filipinos, Thai and Lao people are very warm, polite and hospitable.



Journalists who participated in the working visit were able to meet and interview government officials and tourism entrepreneurs, including CAJ Pre­sident Yong;  CTJ President Lekpetch; MTS Minister Kowsurat; Mr. Chatchawan Sa­korn­sin, Minister, Royal Thai Embassy, Vientiane; Anan Nanmanont, president, Provincial Press Association/VP of CTJ; Kaweepong Prathungsuksakorn, treasurer, PPPA Thailand; Watana Puttichat, governor ng Udonthani Province; H.E. Savankhone Razmountry, deputy minister of Information, Culture and Tou­rism and Pre­sident of Lao Journalists Association; Chansamone Thipphavan, deputy director, Luang Prabang Provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Dept.; Mr. Thonglor Duangsavanh, director gene­ral and Editor-in-Chief ng Lao Press in Foreign Languages and director of CAJ; Mr. Vongsavanh Thepphachan, deputy governor ng Luang Prabang pro­vince; Mr. Damrit Viriyakul, CAJ secretary general and Mr. Khamphay Somsana, president of Khamphay Sana Group who smartly transformed a 10,000-hectare land in Tad Xon into one of the best eco-tourism sites in ASEAN.

At the closing ceremony, participants enjoyed the exceptional traditional cultural performances of talented Lao artists and tasted special Lao food dishes.

Each of them, shared their insights, impressions and experiences on the working visit and gave a glimpse on how they can help promote the tourism of both countries in their respective countries.


Despite hectic schedule for the working visit program, representatives from the NPC managed to visit the Philippine Embassy to Laos and had personal conversation with Philippine Ambassador to Laos H.E. Belinda Ante through Mr. Juan Carlo Morales, third secretary and vice consul who attended the closing ceremony of the 10-day working visit program.

According to Ambassador Ante, they have lots of projects and program for   overseas Filipino workers in Laos, but, Lao government is so strict that any proposed project or program may take time for approval and execution due to repetitious processes from proposal, meetings to amendments in accordance with rules imposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

There are relatively few problems with Pinoy workers in Laos, mostly professionals, like teachers, nurses, doctors and other hospital personnel.

Most Filipinos in Laos were hired directly leaving them without health insurance and other protective measures from the Philippine Embassy.

She expressed frustrations over the absence of Philippines-Laos economic cooperation which might be rooted in the small Laos population numbering only eight million.

However, she showed excitement over the many beautiful places Laos can offer to Filipino tourists. But this is hampered by the lack of a direct flight between Laos and the Philippines preventing visitors to move or travel with ease.

Tourists can only visit Laos thru international airports, such as Wattay International Airport in Vientiane Capital; Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang Province; Pakse International Airport in Champasak Province; Savannakhet International Airport in Savannakhet Province and Attapeu Province International Airport.

She added that very few people know about the “Visit Laos Year 2018” program because of the lack of advertisements.

She expressed hopes that the working visit program may be of great help in promoting Laos to become Southeast Asia’s newest tourist destination for others to discover the merger of its colonial past with its fascinating new travel trends.

Laos is rapidly evolving and becoming more accessible to everyone these days with all the development initiatives its government and people are doing on its transport services.

Laos has also embarked on attracting both local and international companies to invest in its eco-tourism industry.

The author of this articles personally witnessed the Laos’ quiet, peaceful and green environment, beautiful sceneries, delicious foods and hospitable government officials and entrepreneurs.

The success of this 10-day working visit program for journalists from 10 ASEAN countries plus China was made possible through the effort of government officials and journalists from CAJ, CTJ and LJA.  (LYDIA B. BUENO, MC / Editor-in-Chief, REMATE and Secretary, National Press Club of the Philippines)