Aurora’s tourism industry gets boost

By: Advocacy For The Development Of Central Luzon  04/20/2008

BALER, Aurora --- Senator Edgardo J. Angara recently led the inaugural flight of the South East Asian Airline (Seair) from Manila to Baler, marking the hope of more tourism opportunities and investments for the province of Aurora in the coming years. Last April 14, Seair launched its first regular flight to this capital town with a 20-seater aircraft, on board is no less than Angara and his guests, filmmaker Gil Portes, national artist Junyee of UP Los Banos and one Filipino expert in solar and wind energy. Seair will have two flights a week, Mondays and Fridays, from Manila to Baler and vise versa. Aside from his commitment to promote Aurora as a top tourist destination in the country, he also considers to put up an alternative source of energy as part of this province’s master socio-economic development plan. Just last month, Aurora held an investment summit in Clark where the Palafox Associates revealed Aurora’s huge potential to become a prime industrial and eco-tourism zone given its strategic site near the Pacific and its infrastructure and support facilities such as the seaports in Dingalan, Casiguran and Baler and its economic zone also in Casiguran. Angara also invited the Advocacy for the Development of Central Luzon (ADCL) last April 14 to draw up strategic plans for the realization of major road networks to Aurora, particularly the Tarlac-Nueva Ecija-Aurora Expressway. At present, the DPWH is already constructing the Rizal-Pantabangan-Castaneda-Aurora road that is expected to facilitate land travel to Aurora. But Angara said the proposed TNEA expressway that will be linked to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) will even cut down travel time from Clark to Aurora from 5 hours via the regular highway to only 2 hours. Also, the proposed expressway will serve as the major network for the mobilization of industrial cargo coming from the ports of Dingalan and Baler.ADCL president Renato S. Tayag said the TNEA expressway will complete the vision of the national government to make Central Luzon a megalogistics hub in Asia linking the east coast (Aurora) to the west coast (Subic), making the country more attractive to industries moving cargo from the US Pacific coast to countries in Asia. Tayag also said that Angara has several collaborative works with ADCL including agriculture and tourism opportunities for Aurora’s development. He added that the senator, with the help of ADCL, plans to put up an info-tourism office at the Clark ecozone to serve as a show window of Aurora’s magnificent beaches, impressive rock formations, natural and pristine waters, abundant rainforests and fauna. ADCL has already started talks with Aurora Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo and Baler Mayor Arturo Angara for the details of this promotional campaign and the eventual tour packages to Baler and Casiguran. Meanwhile, ADCL vice president Sonny Dobles said the senator also requested the assistance of ADCL for the establishment of a world-class resort and artist village in Baler. Through ADCL, Angara was able to tap one of the respected Kapampangan contemporary artists, Norman Tiotuico, to help design and create artworks for the world-class resort and artists’ village. As for environment, ADCL has several projects for agriculture with Aurora including the propagation of bamboo and establishment of meat processing in the area. “These projects are crucial for Aurora’s socio-economic development. We have to help them empower their people and give them economic opportunities to increase their cash flow. At present, the province is rich in natural resources, food and basic supply but the people have less money to invest on other opportunities such as education, small and medium businesses and other economic activities. The plans of Sen. Angara and ADCL’s commitment to help promote the province will definitely add up to Aurora’s huge potential to become an eco-tourism and industrial hub in the east coast,” Tayag said. (30)

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