Contact Us
Century International Hotels



Japanese tourists flock to Cebu to hunt for ‘Magellan treasure’
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: *
Date: 2006-12-31
Over 2,300 Japanese men and women have flocked to Cebu and more are reportedly coming to hunt, not for Yamashita’s treasure, but for Magellan’s.

This was revealed by Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace H. Durano as he ruled out any reason for alarm.

"The treasure hunt dubbed ‘Magellan Code’ is not for real, but a marketing promo that has been successfully going on since July 31 in five famous landmarks and destinations in Cebu," Durano said.

The promo is being conducted by the JTB, the largest tour wholesaler in Japan, which has successfully made the throngs of Japanese participants learn a lot about the Philippines’ history and culture during the hunt and the rest of their trip.

"At the same time, the treasure hunt will reinforce the image of the Philippines in Japan as a ‘Premium Resort Islands’ destination," Durano added.

The Japanese participants registered for the Magellan Code through the website, from where they downloaded the supposed treasure map of Cebu and a list of clues.

They all flew to Cebu to hunt for five treasure boxes in five different locations. Each treasure box contains a code that the participant must write down on a sheet, which he should drop off at a designated point at the Cebu Airport or send online via the Magellan Code webpage (

Each correct code entitles the participant to one raffle entry. The entries will be raffled off after the promo period, which ends on October 31.

Raffle prizes include roundtrip tickets (Narita-Cebu-Narita) for two via Philippine Airlines, three nights and four days stay for two at the Shangri-La Mactan Island Resort and the Spa in Cebu, and 333 pieces of Dream Jumbo lottery tickets worth Y300 each. The lottery draw scheduled on December 31 offers a grand prize of Y300 million.

Other prizes include a dinner ticket for two at the Kainan Filipino Restaurant in Roppongi, free "Hilot" treatment at Rirakuno Mori healing theme park in Tokyo, one night and two days stay for two at the Okuhida Garden Hotel in Gifu Prefecture, Canon IXY Digital 800IS camera, and 24 pieces of Philippine mango juice, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).

"Apparently, the prizes are also geared at acquainting the Japanese with the Philippine culture and strengthening the bond developed in their Philippine experience," said DOT Team Japan Head Rosvi C. Gaetos, citing the Magellan Code as the first Japanese treasure hunting activity to be held outside Japan.

"So far, 86 visitors have found all five treasure boxes, and 44 discovered four or less," Gaetos added.

This promo, which creates excitement for the Philippine tourism brand, is being conducted in cooperation with Cebu’s Pacific Discovery Tours and Attic Tours as ground handlers.

Durano said various other marketing activities had been lined for the rest of the year to sustain the unprecedented influx of Japanese tourists, whose 2005 arrivals breached the 400,000 mark for the first time in 20 years.

Indonesia Thailand USA Europe Canada Hong Kong Philippines