BAGABAG, Nueva Vizcaya: The opening of Bagabag Airport in this town to accommodate local flights by Wakay Air from Clark International Airport (CIA, formerly Diosdado Macapagal Airport) in Pampanga is expected to generate investments in this province and the Cordillera region.
Rep. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma of the lone district of Nueva Vizcaya said the opening of the Bagabag airport “will boost tourism and generate investments not only in Nueva Vizcaya and the northern Cordillera provinces of Ifugao, Mountain Province and Kalinga but also Cagayan Valley [Region 2].”
She added that this has been a dream come true for many Vizcayanos as she pledged her support for the first chartered flights of the airline along with two other congressmen from the Mountain Province and Ifugao.
Local and international tourists also welcomed the operation of the Clark-Bagabag air route because this will offer a quicker and more convenient travel option for those who want to visit Sagada in Mountain Province and the Ifugao Rice Terraces, which is on the World Heritage list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).
According to the Department of Tourism (DoT), the Bagabag Airport will stimulate more tourism activities in the Banaue-Sagada area, which at the moment are the two of the top destinations being frequented by local and foreign tourists going to the Cordilleras.
DoT statistics show that the Ifugao Rice Terraces continues to be the preferred destination of foreign tourists.
During a recent meeting in preparation for the first landing of Wakay Air on Wednesday, Cuaresma requested DoT officials in Cagayan Valley and the Cordillera as well as the Wakay Travel and Tours Inc. (WTTI) to organize tour packages for the province of Nueva Vizcaya.
She said the province has already developed a network of roads and transport facilities going to far-flung tourist areas and there are good hotel accommodations in Bambang, Bayombong, Solano and Bagabag towns.
The provincial tourism office in Bayombong town said Nueva Vizcaya has eco-tourism destinations for spelunkers, campers, trekkers and picnic goers.
Sharon Bonayon of the provincial tourism office said eco-tourism destinations in the province include the underground river, Capisaan Cave in Kasibu town that ranked as one of the longest caves in the country, the 80 percent forested Mount Palali in Bayombong town and Mount Ugo in Kayapa town for trekkers.
Aside from the historical Balete Pass, known as Dalton Pass in Santa Fe town, Bonayon added that tourists can also visit the Lintungan falls in Quezon town, Edralin Falls of Kasibu town, Imugan falls in Santa Fe, the Kayapa Waterfalls and the Mighty Warren falls of Solano, and the eco-tourism park in Diadi town.
Virgilio Maguigad, DoT-Region 2 director, said the operation of the Bagabag Airport will be in full swing this month with the first Batanes-owned Wakay Air.
In the meantime, according to Maguigad, the Wakay Air flights from Clark International Airport to Bagabag Airport, will cater to foreigners brought in by tour operators in Europe and local corporations bound for the Banaue Rice Terraces.
“The new connectivity will of course further spur interest with a new gateway not only to the Cordilleras, but will also serve as catalyst to spread benefits of tourism and related industries to Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley and the Ilocos Region,” he said.
LEANDER C. DOMINGO