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Eat & Travel with Purpose (An Interview With Justin Pagotto From Trips+ Holidays)

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August 11, 2017 / Filipino / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Eat the Globe sat down to have a chat with Justin Pagotto to talk about his new social tourism venture in the Philippines - Trips+ Holidays.

What inspired you to start your social tourism venture in the Philippines - Trips+ Holidays?

It sort of happened like a lot of things in life, it was a bit of an accident. I went over to the Philippines in 2016 to do leadership training in one of the provinces. While I was there, I noticed the problem that young graduates didn't really have any job opportunities locally and needed to move to another area or overseas in order to build their careers. This created some social issues, as the local graduates lost their connections with the local community and their loved ones. So, we thought, why not use the power of business to give the local graduates an opportunity to build their careers locally, so that's how the idea for Trips Plus Holidays came about.

 

What's your point of difference?

Well, we call it "Holidays with a Purpose". There are plenty of travel companies out there, but we believe we are one of the only ones where you can go on a value loaded holiday, see some amazing, beautiful scenery, eat some amazing things, but at the same time, also give back to the local community.

We have two types of tours, the first type is called Medical Missions, this involves bringing doctors, dentists, health workers,etc to the local provinces to assist the local medical teams, and at the same time, the visiting medical workers can also spend some time to experience the local culture and sights with our tours.

The second one is called Community Connect. People around the world love to travel, so we'll be taking people to see all the beautiful sights in the Philippines. The Philippines is one of those countries that's a bit harder to go around on your own because of the infrastructure, so we'll take care of it all and provide you with a unique experience where you can enjoy the local sights, connect with the local community, and we also donate a portion of our profits to a transformation project for the local community, such as building a well. All guests will vote and agree on what the transformation project will be at the beginning of their holiday, this allows guests to be fully engaged and involved in the chosen community project.

 

What's the hardest thing about running Trips+ Holidays?

One of the things is learning how to deal with the local business practices in the Philippines, it does take some time to get things going with the local governments. Also, as an ethical business, we want to do everything by the books, so we want to make sure all our suppliers have the necessary processes in place. It's all really been about working on getting the collaboration model working well between the customers, suppliers, local communities and government.

 

What's the most enjoyable thing about running Trips+ Holidays?

It's been amazing to see the impact Trips Plus is having on our employees. We are starting to train up some of the local graduates, it's great that we can help to give meaningful employment opportunities to the local communities.

 

Are there any dishes you've tried in the Philippines that have been interesting? What's been the highlights?

I love all Filipino food but here are three that caught my attention:

1. Chicken and Pork Adobo

Perhaps the national dish where chicken and pork are marinated in vinegar, garlic, peppercorns and soy sauce and left to simmer for hours. The result is a mouth watering main served with rice.

Image credit: By Jacobjbarnes - CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

2. Halo Halo

The Philippines climate can be hot and humid so this is a delicious shaved ice and condensed milk dessert. Halo Halo mean 'mix mix' and is a staple right across the country. It includes local fruits, coconut, bean, sweet potatoes, sweet corn and jackfruit.

Image credit: By bingbing from Quezon City, Philippines (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons]

 

3. Last but not least is: Turon

This is an amazing fried banana with jackfruit coated with pastry. Think an amazingly sweet Chiko roll. I bought these in Sorsogon and we will take our customers to try these on our tours!

Image credit: FoxLad at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons]

I also tried Pork Sisig - which is where they grind up all parts of the pig that's left over, eg. ears, head,etc, and it becomes this crackly rice dish that's beautiful.

Image credit: By Bing Ramos from Quezon City, Philippines (Sisig) [CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons]

I also tried some sting ray, sort of tasted like tuna, interesting but wasn't amazing in regards to the flavour or texture of the meat.

 

At Eat the Globe, we love to inspire people to try new cuisines and learn about new cultures, what's the top 3 places you would like to visit (whether locally or abroad)? and why?

I have travelled to a lot of places, but there's quite a few places still on my bucket list:

  • Alaska - I want to go out to the wild, and experience the sheer wilderness of Alaska.
  • Himalayas - I want to climb some of the mountains there, it's such a beautiful, amazing region.
  • South America - I haven't been to that continent at all yet, I would love to go around the Aztec trail.

 

Where can people find out more information about Trips+ Holidays?

You can visit the Trips Plus website or check out our social media channels:

Facebook: @holidayswithpurpose
Instagram: @tripsplus

 

Do you currently have any special offers you'd like to make our readers aware of?

The best way to keep in contact is via our Facebook and Instagram pages where we will share our Tours and Special Offers.

 

So, what's the upcoming plans for Trips+ Holidays, what's on the horizon?

We plan to expand to many of the local areas within the Philippines so we can employ more of the local people. Our goal is to have a presence in all the major regions in the Philippines.


Trips+ Holidays

Country: Australia

Province/State: New South Wales

City: Maroubra

Address: 319 Malabar Rd (Suite 1)

Zip/Post Code: 2035

Location Tips: N/A

Phone: +61 2 8320 2802

Website:http://www.tripsplus.org...

Price Guide:N/A (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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