BACOLOD CITY: The provincial governments of Negros Occidental and Pampanga linked arms as the Clark-Bacolod inaugural flight of the country’s flag carrier landed at the Bacolod-Silay Airport Fridaymorning with Pampanga officials on board in time for the signing of a “sisterhood” agreement.
Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr., said the agreement is both “historical and significant” for both provinces.
He said the province of Negros Occidental has many things in common with the province of Pampanga, citing food, culture, and even the sugar industry.
“We can learn from them, they can learn from us,” the governor said.
He added that the new agreement will open Central Luzon to Negros Occidental and vice versa.
It will not only benefit the tourism industry but will also help decongest air traffic at the Manila airport, Marañon said.
“It’s a very huge market for the tourism industry,” he said, adding that people of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental will no longer have to go to Manila for their trips to the central and northern Luzon provinces.
Gov. Lilia Pineda led Pampanga officials who were on board the maiden flight to Bacolod of Philippine Airlines (PAL).
Marañon said that PAL added one more Clark-Bacolod flight, making it four flights a week.
PR859 leaves Clark International Airport in Pampanga at 7 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, while PR860 departs from Bacolod at 8:45 a.m. on the same days.
Pineda said Korean students in Negros no longer need to pass by Manila when they return to Korea, as there are three flights from Clark to Korea every week.
Marañon said Negros is a good place for local as well as foreign visitors because of what it offers: good food and ambiance, the hospitality of Negrenses, and the many places of interest for visitors such as the diving sites in Sipalay City and neighboring areas in southern Negros, where former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a Pampanguena, used to dive.
The coastline of Negros Occidental is 400 kilometers long, making aqua-culture one of the strong suits of the province. Seafood is very abundant here, Marañon said adding that most foreign tourists like to taste the highly touted bounties of the sea.
Negros Occidental officials are set to visit Pampanga this Sunday using the Bacolod-Clark route for a similar signing of the sisterhood agreement.