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New tourist destination rising

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A new tourist destination is rising in Romblon province, complete with an international airport that could transform the island into the next Boracay.  This early, foreign and local investors are coming in to buy beachfront properties on Carabao Island in San Jose, Romblon, according to its mayor.

Mayor Filipino Tandog said construction of the international airport, with a 1.8-kilometre runway, is now in full swing on the island, despite the opposition from investors based in the nearby Boracay island.  Carabao Island has a long stretch of the kind of white powdery sand that made Boracay world famous.

Carabao Island, a part of San Jose town, is located just 15 minutes by boat from Boracay, and has the same white-sand beaches and pristine waters.  Carabao Island is about four times the size of the 10-square-kilometre Boracay, which accommodates more than half a million visitors each year.

The airport, being built at a cost of PhP3 billion, is expected to be completed and operational by 2012. It is being constructed at the same time that Caticlan airport, which is the gateway to Boracay, is being upgraded to meet safety standards.

Environmental groups are opposing the expansion of the Caticlan airport, which will involve reclamation of land from the sea and flattening of hills.