Popularly known for its natural attractions, rich culture, spicy cuisines, and its agriculture, Bicol Region, designated as Region V, can be so much easier to visit and be experienced soon by having the Bicol International Airport located in Daraga, Albay.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade led a commercial test flight and made a successful landing at Bicol International Airport runway aboard a Gulfstream G150 from Manila on Friday, July 30, 2021 at 8:00 in the morning. Shortly after landing, an inspection of the airport’s facilities was conducted by Secretary Tugade together with Albay’s 2nd District Rep Jose Ma. Clemente “Joey Salceda” to ensure 24/7 construction work towards the target completion date. It has been reported that the airport remains on track, estimated at 90%- Manila Times reported. The overall target of completion of the airport is dated this month of September 2021 and is expected to be fully operational by 2022.
Tugade shared how much the experienced difficulties finishing this project and landing successfully at the airport can be marked as a milestone.
The Bicol International Airport is dubbed as the most scenic gateway among all the airports in the country for it features the iconic, perfectly cone-shaped, Mayon Volcano as its majestic backdrop. This has now also made Albay the country’s Pacific gateway.
According to Salceda, the airport will actually be operational by October, then will be registered in the International Civil Aviation organization by November this year, and so, by May 2022, BIA will start to receive international flights. Salceda said, he has no doubt that Bicol Region will be among the fastest-growing economies in the country.
The pre-feasibility study of BIA happened in 2008, followed by pre-construction works which started in 2013- and finally, the actual construction started in December 2016. Various reports say that BIA is supported by the Build, Build, Build Program under the administration of President Duterte whose presidency term started in 2016.
The 4.7 billion peso worth airport is a 2.5 kilometers long and 45 meters wide- consisting of 17 buildings, including 2 story passenger terminal building, according to a news article by Manila Standard. The airport’s air traffic control tower, administration building, cash fire building, and cargo terminal building are included in Package 2A. In Package 2B, the passenger terminal building and the extension of the airport’s runway are included. The world-class airport has also been designed as typhoon resilient, located on a flood-free plateau and 15 kilometers from Mt. Mayon.
Salceda who initiated the project, also the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, has his dreams and vision for the Bicolandia, aims to achieve the full tourism potential of the region, to ease the travel of Overseas Filipino Workers, and to make Albay as the convention capital of the country.
Bicol International Airport is best to believe as an instrumental in the transformation of the Albay province and the rest of the Bicol Region into becoming a strong economic contender. 755 people were employed during its construction and would create about 1,100 jobs once become fully operational. As well as a number of 47,000 indirect jobs will be opened once the pandemic ends and the economy normalizes. The airport can accommodate 3,000 passengers per day instead of 600 at the Legazpi Domestic Airport. As for annual, BIA is expected to serve a total of two million airline passengers.
Salceda also pioneered the Almasor (Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon) grouping as Bicol Regional Development Council chair. It is part of what Salceda aims for, to serve the other provinces through creating tourism alliances which are not impossible to happen to have an international airport in the region.
Now that Bicol International Airport nears completion, as early as next year, being fully operational, the beauty of Bicolandia can be seen, experienced, and most importantly, can be highly recognized more. Bicol is already famous for Filipinos and being able to open it to a much larger group of foreign tourists from around the globe is absolutely better.
Bicol has such beautiful both seascapes and landscapes for your mandatory picture taking, activities like wakeboarding at CWC (Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex), ATV riding at Mayon Sky Drive, visitation at churches, cathedrals and shrines, island hopping in Burias, Masbate, and even interacting with whale sharks in Donsol, Sorsogon. Of course, Bicol also has hiking destinations for mountaineers and white sand beaches for those who just want to relax. Festivals in the region are worthy to experience, too.
Bicol has the most tropical climate all year round- The summer season starts in March and April is the driest month of the year which makes it the most perfect time to visit and try out the activities. The biggest, busiest, and most popular religious event in the region is the Penafrancia Festival in Naga City- honoring the feast day of Our Lady of Penafrancia, Patroness of Bicol Region which celebrates every September. But, to give you a reminder, a Bicol experience is not complete without having some spicy food- Bicol Express is a must!
For foreigners and OFWs who used to travel going to provinces in Bicol, it used to take eight to ten hours of land travel from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, Philippines. With the opening of Bicol International Airport soon at Daraga, Albay, it will be so much more convenient and cheaper for travelers. This is also an advantage for the provinces that are nearby the Bicol Region.
Indeed, Bicol is such a great place for vacation, either if you want your trip to be adventurous or for simply just a getaway rest. As much as how great Bicol is for a vacation, it can also be recommended as a place to live. First and foremost, Bicol is a province and it is proof enough that living in a province is living so much more peacefully. Secondly, the fresh air will ease your breathing. Third, even if you opt to live in the urban or busy areas of the region, you are also close to places that are vacation-worthy, so you can easily just travel anytime you want to take a break.
It is not impossible that tourists will go back to take another vacation in Bicol once they experienced it, and fortunately, Bria Homes can also be found in the region if you are considering a holiday home.
We know for a fact that going on a vacation is quite costly, considering fares, budget for food, allowance for some shopping, and buying some pasalubong as a general gesture of Filipinos being naturally thoughtful. Aside from these, what really takes a chunk of our budget is the place to stay the entire vacation. That being said, a holiday home is perfect to invest in for a much longer vacation without stressing over Airbnb and hotel expenses. Extend your holiday stay by choosing Bria Homes.
If you happen to visit Bicol, the magnificent Mayon Volcano will surely be the first attraction you will see on your arrival as the Bicol International Airport’s backdrop- and hopefully, on your departure, you can say that it is truly more fun in the Philippines!
You may check out the Top 10 things to do in Bicol in case you’d like to plan a visit.
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Written by Roselyn Galvan