Bicol, popularly known as the “adventure capital of the Philippines” is made up of six provinces located in the southernmost area of Luzon: Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and Masbate. As of May 1, 2020, the area has a total population of 6,082,165 people. As Bicol continues to flourish as a region, Bria Homes, on of the leading housing developers in the Philippines sees Bicol keeping fast growth.
When it comes to flourishing economic growth, the region has been in the limelight in recent years. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) named Bicol as the “Fastest Growing Region” in October 2020, citing a 7.4-percent growth rate in 2019 among the country’s 17 regions. Even outperforming the national level 6.0-percent growth.
Unfortunately, natural disasters and a health crisis afflicted the country, hampering economic growth. For the time being, PSA announced last April 2021 that all 17 regions’ economies had slumped and that the Philippines’ total real per capita gross domestic product (GDP) declined to a negative 10.8-percent. As a result, the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) of the Bicol region fell by 8.4 percent.
Despite this, here are some reasons why Bria Homes sees growth in Bicol with a positive outlook for the next years to come:
How will Bicol Transcend from the Economic Recession?
Infrastructures are used as a guideline in analyzing a region’s economic growth and competitiveness. It is the physical structure that sustains a community to constantly provide products and services. Also, it provides convenience in accessing different places. Accordingly, records from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) ‘Build, Build, Build Program‘ shows the following completed projects for the Bicol region: 295 bridges installed, 1,670 kilometers cumulative road length, 706 flood mitigation structures built, and 8437 classrooms established.
Aside from these, there are various ongoing projects to look forward to that can guarantee growth and economic recovery in Bicol that Bria Homes sees.
1. Reduced Travel Time Coming from/ Going to Bicol
Travel time from Manila to Bicol usually takes up to 20 hours, but with Luzon Spine Expressway Network (LSEN) project, it could be reduced to 9 hours since this 1,001-kilometer-long road network will connect the northern and southern parts of Luzon.
In addition, the House of Representatives (HOR) authorized in final reading a recently completed feasibility study on the Quezon-Bicol Expressway (QUEBEX). The Expressway intends to provide an alternate mode of transportation between the provinces of Quezon and Bicol and reduce the travel time to 5 to 6 hours.
According to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Joey Sarte Salceda, “one driver of inflation is transportation, which is why food continues to be expensive– a direct outcome of costly transportation services.” These projects are intended to be an integrated transportation and economic development plan capable of lowering logistical costs.
2. Availability of Travel to/from Bicol via Air and Sea
The contentious Bicol International Airport is nearing completion despite several delays, and it will soon be open to the public. Since Bicol has pristine beaches and tranquil mountains, this initiative is likely to attract more tourists and foreign investors. In addition, it makes it easier for locals to travel, whether internationally or domestically.
Bicol will be the host of Luzon’s first International Cruise Ship Terminal. This project aims to provide job opportunities for locals while also drawing tourists and foreigners from all over the world.
3. Philippine National Railways South Long Haul’ (PNR Bicol)
A multibillion-peso contract for building PNR Bicol was signed on January 17, 2022. The railway will be 380 kilometers long, spanning 39 towns and municipalities, four provinces, and two regions. In San Pablo, Laguna, the project entails the building of 23 stations, 230 bridges, ten passenger tunnels, and a 70-hectare depot.
4. More Local Roads and Highways for Bicol
Bria Homes sees that these various local roads constructed will serve as a catalyst in enhancing Bicol’s growth. Here are some of the forthcoming road infrastructural projects:
- Albay-Sorsogon Connector Road
This project is a 15.87-kilometer road with six nearby bridges, is estimated to assist 5,000 people each day by cutting travel time from Monito proper to Sorsogon City by an hour.
- Cagraray Circumferential Road in Albay
This 40-kilometer route connects four barangays on Cagraray Island to the Bacacay town center. This road will take you to pristine beaches in Bicol.
- Camarines Sur Expressway
This project will reduce the travel time from San Fernando to Pili from 50 minutes to an 11-minute drive.
- Pasacao-Balatan Tourism Coastal Highway in Camarines Sur
This coastal road project will pass through the municipalities of Pasacao, San Fernando, Minalabac, Bula, and Balatan, and 15 barangays: San Cirilo, Balogo, Bical, Gñaran, Pinamasagan, Cotmo, Bagolatao, San Antonio, Salingogon, Hamoraon, Itangon, Caorasan, Camanghan, Pararao, and Luluasan.
- Sorsogon City Coastal Bypass Road
This 5.52-kilometer route connects the towns of Casiguran, Gubat, and Castilla. There are also attached jogging and bicycle lanes throughout the road.
- Expansion of Imelda Boulevard in Catanduanes
Imelda Boulevard rehabilitation includes road widening and the installation of an identical Manila Bay walk with a flood control system to reduce storm surges.
- Legazpi City Coastal Road
This 3.10-kilometer road in Legazpi connects four Albay barangays: Baybay, Rawis, San Roque, and Bonot. It will not only function as a coastal route but will also defend Legazpi from storm surges.
- Matnog-Sta. Magdalena-Bulusan Road
This 31.41-kilometer roadway will connect three municipalities of Sorsogon: Matnog, Sta. Magdalena, and Bulusan. It could also aid in transporting marine and agricultural products.
- San Fernando-San Jacinto-Monreal Highway in Masbate
This highway gives better access to the Masbate municipalities of San Fernando, San Jacinto, and Monreal.
- Esperanza-Placer Road leading to Pasiagon beach front in Masbate
This 30.56-kilometer route will serve as a vital link in the transportation of aquatic and agricultural products. Also serves as an alternate access to the beach fronts of Balay na Bato and Pasiagon.
Shrinking travel time within the region by building new roads and highways enhances the region’s socio-economic development.
5. Improvements in the Agribusiness industry
One of the issues in an agriculturally rich region is the difficulty of how to transport products from farmland to markets. Hence, DPWH Secretary, Mark Villar had been trying to solve this in Bicol by continually providing more Farm to Market Roads, especially in Camarines Sur. This provides locals with better opportunities for employment and trade prospects.
While Bria Homes expect growth in Bicol, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and DPWH launched a coalition entitled: Roads Leveraging and Linkages of Industry and Trade (ROLL IT) aimed to construct additional road projects in the country’s priority economic and manufacturing zones to boost domestic and international investment growth. One of the coalition’s by-products is the construction of Sitio Danlagan Road in Albay which is very much beneficial for the locals.
6. Balago Sports Complex Soon Rises in Sorsogon
This is the Bicol Region’s first sports complex. The sports complex is modeled after Rome’s Colosseum and can accommodate 15,000 people. In addition, Sorsogon was chosen as the host of the Palarong Pambansa 2022; Given Sorsogon is located in the central part of the country, it is more likely to be selected for future international and local sporting competitions.
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” -Confucius
Natural disasters are common in the Bicol Region, which is why disaster resiliency strategies, systems, and structures are continuously developed. Also, to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases, health facilities are being built. The imposed quarantine due to this health crisis (which restricted people’s mobility) and the recent storm surges in Bicol may have contributed to inflation and economic recession.
Following the projects above could help mobilize local products, promote tourism, and reduce logistic expenses that could manifest Bicol Region as a progressive agro-industrial economy. These government initiatives are the tip of the iceberg; if vaccines are distributed and herd immunity is attained, we will surely witness growth in Bicol with Bria Homes.
So, what are you waiting for? it’s the best time to invest while prices are on sale. Find your affordable house and lot in Bria Homes Bicol today.
Written By Vincent Sanchez