Fast Rising Tourist Spots in the Philippines 3

Entertainment City blooms

Property prices at the Entertainment City project in Paranaque City may further increase in the coming months, after doubling over the past four years, according to a report by Manila Standard Today.

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) CEO Cristino Naguiat said the government bought the Entertainment City property for PhP23,000 per square metres in 2008.  “We’ve recently had it priced by Landbank. It is around PhP47,000 now,” he said.

The state-owned gaming regulator owns at least 50 hectares of land in the Entertainment City project, which is leased by hotel groups Travellers International Hotel Group and Bloombery Resorts Corp.  He said the tenants pay the rental fee annually to the government via Pagcor.

Mr. Naguiat said Entertainment City has the potential to become the next major central business district in Metro Manila and replicate the success of Bonifacio Global City where demand for real estate properties has gone up significantly.

He said Entertainment City, located on 100 hectares of reclaimed land along Manila Bay, is not only poised to become the country’s premier gambling destination but is also seen to lead the next wave of growth in the metropolis.

“Entertainment City may be the next Bonifacio Global City. Similar to Fort Bonifacio, lot prices are expected to go up further as new developments rise in the area. But the value will not rise without the casinos,” he said.

Entertainment City is seen to attain even greater momentum once all four gaming proponents are fully up and running by 2016 or 2017.

In anticipation of the expected influx of new businesses in the area, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has sought the construction of a new PhP1.2 -billion substation to address the needed capacity of large load customers at Entertainment City.

Alphaland Corp. of businessman Roberto V. Ongpin is building an exclusive marina club along the western coast of Alphaland Bay City, located between SM Mall of Asia and Solaire. The project is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2014.

A short distance away from Makati and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Entertainment City’s strategic location is another prime attraction. The extension of the existing LRT Line 1 from Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite and the construction of an elevated expressway linking the South Luzon Expressway to NAIA Terminals I, II and III are also expected to boost commercial activity in the area, according to a report by Philippine Star.

Naga expects more tourists

Metro Naga in Camarines Sur expects a 20-percent growth in tourist arrivals over the next three years, as it positions itself as a premier destination in the Bicol region, according to a report by BusinessMirror.

Naga City Mayor John Bongat said he is looking to spend some PhP1 billion for tourism-related infrastructure projects over the medium term that would further boost the area’s chances of attracting more visitors.

“We will solicit support from national government sources,” he said of the proposed budget. About PhP400 million to PhP600 million of the proposed infrastructure budget will be spent to rehabilitate the Naga River.  The rest of the P1-billion proposed budget is for the repair and construction of roads, bridges, promenades and walkways.

Butanding bring tourists to San Fabian

Resorts and boat owners in San Fabian, Pangasinan have been cashing in on the presence of “butanding” (whale sharks), according to a report by Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Four whale sharks were spotted in the waters off the resort-dotted beaches of the coastal town in May.  Resort guests would rent boats to go near the butanding, which are frolicking about a kilometre from the shoreline.

San Fabian tourism officer Sara Rusela Lazo confirmed the that the presence of the butanding boosted the tourism industry of the town.  “Tourists from northern and central Luzon do not have to go to Sorsogon to see the butanding,” Ms. Lazo said.

Butanding watching has been offered as an attraction to tourists to visit Donsol in Sorsogon, where whale sharks are frequently seen.

Preserving Boracay and Baguio

The government has ordered the creation of a group that will help preserve Boracay island and Baguio City.  President Benigno Aquino III signed Memorandum Circular No. 47 directing the secretaries of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, Interior and Local Government, and Justice to create a “technical working group” (TWG) which will “review the environmental, commercial, tourism, and law and order situation in Baguio and Boracay for the purpose of developing comprehensive plans to preserve these vital national assets.”

“All officials and employees of government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations and local government units, are hereby enjoined to fully support and cooperate with the TWG in the preparation and implementation of comprehensive plans for Baguio and Boracay,” the memorandum circular said.

Baguio, located in the province of Benguet in Northern Luzon, is known for mainly for its cold weather, strawberries and annual flower festivals.  Boracay has been praised by several travel magazines and websites for being one of the best beach destinations in the world.

About 1.2 million foreign and local tourists visited the island of Boracay in 2012 while Baguio City drew at least 600,000 visitors last year.

Sarangani hosts swimfest

Sarangani Bay, one of the world’s richest tuna fishing grounds, staged the 15-kilometre Swim Across the Bay on 24th May 2013, which drew the participation of 800 swimmers, according to a report by Philippine Star.

The extreme relay swim race covered both ends of the bay from Maasim to Tinoto Beach in Maasim to Gumasa Glan.  It also kicked off the two-day Sarangani Bay Festival, one of the biggest beach and sporting events in the country.

Regarded as among the longest sea swimming race in Asia, the three-hour relay marathon has been dominated by the Dadiangas Torpedoes of General Santos City in the past five years.

Sarangani Governor Migs Dominguez said the swim challenge is also one way of helping Filipino swimmers compete not only in pools but also in international offshore contests.

Albay adopts tourism slogan

In a bid to consolidate its marketing success at the Internationale Tourismus Börse in Berlin, Germany, the provincial government of Albay has adopted a new slogan as it geared for the month-long Daragang Magayon Festival 2013 in April, according to a report by Manila Standard Today.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the province has adopted the new sales pitch: “Indulge yourself in warm Albay!” which they hope will boost tourism gains after Albay posted a 49-percent hike in tourist arrivals in 2012, with a 23-percent growth in the foreign tourists sector.

Albay was featured as a highlight tourist destination in the Philippine exposition at the ITB-Berlin convention of global trade and tourism stakeholders.   “Indulge yourself in warm Albay! Warm people, hot and spicy food and tropical ambience” is Albay’s new come-on call.

More tourists visiting Bicol

Official tourism data are showing a substantial increase in the number of visitors to the provinces of Albay, Masbate and Sorsogon in the Bicol region, which has been dubbed Almasor, phonetically meaning “soul of the south”, according to a report by Manila Standard Today.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said tourism arrivals in the three provinces registered encouraging growth in 2012 compared to 2011, particularly Sorsogon which posted a 31 percent hike mostly due to interactive tours with whale shark, and Albay with 24 percent. Masbate also posted a modest growth.

Governor Salceda, chairman of the Bicol Regional Development Council, said the Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon Tourism Alliance (Almasor) was organised last year to strengthen tourism promotion and help the three provinces lure at least 650,000 tourists annually within the next five years.

He said they have noted a substantial increase in the number of tourists who inquire about tourism activities in the three provinces at drop by daily at Albay’s Provincial Tourism and Cultural Office.

The favourite activities are Mayon Volcano climbing, sightseeing and souvenir opportunities at the Cagsawa Ruins, the Daraga Church, the Lignon Hill, and the lava tours all in Albay, and the popular whale shark interaction in Donsol, Sosogon.

Ecotourism promoted in Misamis Occidental

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has teamed up with the local government of Baliangao in Misamis Occidental for the development of the Baliangao Protected Landscape and Seascape (BPLS) as an ecotourism site, according to a report by BusinessMirror.

DENR regional executive director Ruth Tawan-tawan said the partnership aims to promote the protected area, which covers around 300 hectares in barangays Tugas, Misom, Sinian and Landing, as a potential destination for both local and foreign tourists.

The local government of Baliangao is eyeing tourism to boost the local economic development of the coastal town, which takes pride in being home to the BPLS.

The BPLS is home to 21 species of mangroves, with bakauan as the dominant species.  It also boasts of a 75-hectare marine sanctuary where 39 colorful fish species could be found.

Among the ecotourism activities to be promoted are boating, snorkeling, scuba diving and islet hopping.

Panagbenga boosts Baguio economy

Panagbenga festival brings about economic gains for all businesses in Baguio, from high-end businesses to the barbecue sellers on the city’s streets, according to a report by BusinessMirror.

Mr. Amboy Guevarra, Baguio Flower Festival executive committee chief of staff, said the month of February records the highest tourist arrivals in the city, estimated at 1 million daily from the opening day of Panagbenga on 1st February 2013 until it ends in the first week of March.

Mr. Guevarra said each of the estimated 1 million tourists who visit Baguio during the flower festival actually spends about PhP1,000 a day for breakfast, lunch, snacks and pasalubong of strawberries, vegetables, T-shirts and other items sold at the city market and various stalls.

“Multiply the PhP1,000 from the 1 million tourist arrivals and a conservative estimate of P1 billion in fresh money is brought in the city from other places each day the tourist stays in the city,” he said.

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