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PIA Press Release

PGMA kicks off tour of Central Philippines Super Regions in Bicol

by MA Loterte

Showcases whalesharks, world-classs Misibis resort, eco tourism

Legazpi City (24 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo visited Monday, February 22, Bicol to kick-off the tour on Central Philippines of Super Region on Tourism showcasing Bicol's tourist destinations the likes of the whaleshark interaction in Dosol, Sorsogon and world-class Misibis Bay Raintree resort and spa in Cagraray Island in Albay.

President Arroyo arrived at 1:00 PM at the Legazpi City Airport, proceeded to Donsol town in Sorsogon, known as "whaleshark capital of the world", for the media interaction activities citing the administration's milestone legacies on tourism development, especially in the Bicol region.

Donsol has been cashing in on the development of the town's world-class tourist destination, wherein it used to be a sixth-class, sleepy, remote fishing village in the northwestern part of Sorsogon, but now a first-class municipality that derives the bulk of its revenues from eco-tourism.

Its major eco-tourism activity is whale shark watching and interaction that was already featured in Time Magazine in 2004 as "Best Animal Encounter in Asia."

"The whale shark interaction has changed the lives of the people here," the President said.

In Donsol, the President also cited local government unit (LGU) officials, including Sorsogon Gov. Sally Lee, Donsol Mayor Jerome Alcantara, and Department of Tourism (DOT) Bicol Director Maria Ravanilla, for their continued support and contributions in pursuit of her vision to turn Central Philippines into a globally competitive tourism destination.

The President also met with Allan Amanse, one of the beneficiaries of the development of eco-tourism in this municipality, citing that "this local used to earn a measly P100 a day as a fisherman and tricycle driver, but now he earns ten times what he used to earn or about P1,000 a day by being a whale shark or'butanding' interaction guide.

The President also noted the increase in the number of beach resorts in the area.

At night time, President Arroyo hosted a dinner for the media at the world-class Misibis Bay Raintree resort and spa, and during conversation at the President's table, affirmed that Bicol has rich natural wonders, long beaches and eco-tourism sites

"The government's task is to provide more roads, airports, and bridges to make these tourists' destinations more readily accessible to tourists," she pointed out.

The President said government plans to build an international airport in Daraga, Albay so tourists need not come from Manila to visit Donsol. Instead, foreigner tourists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, among others can fly directly to Albay.

Bicol is part of Tourism Central Philippines super region, one of the five growth corridors identified in President Arroyo's super region development strategy that is known for its natural wonders and rich cultural heritage.

The Present spent the night at the resort, and left the next day around 8:00 PM for Palawan. (PIA V) [top]

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