DFA to showcase Albay, Legazpi as PHL’s fast developing tourism destinations

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY, July 11 (PNA) — The Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, will be showcasing Albay province, especially Legazpi City, as fast booming economic and tourism hubs outside Manila in the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 2015, DFA Undersecretary Laura del Rosario said Thursday.

Del Rosario flew in this city on Wednesday to personally inspect the sites where the first salvo of APEC Summit will be done in December this year.

She said the government will be showcasing to APEC members the fast developing region in the Philippines outside Manila for them to see the wonders of Albay and the capital city of Legazpi where the Bicolandia’s icon, Mayon volcano, lies.

“The opening salvo of APEC meeting will be conducted in Legazpi where 21 senior officials, along with other foreign delegates and foreign media, will be coming. The mere fact that the media will be coming here means a big impact on tourism promotion,” she said in a radio interview here.

“We want to showcase to APEC members the other side of the country — Legazpi as fast growing city in the Philippines outside Manila, and Albay,” she added.

Del Rosario was met by Department of Tourism Bicol Regional Director Maria “Nini” Ravanilla and Office of Civil Defense Bicol Director Bernardo Rafaelito “Raffy” Alejandro at the Legazpi City airport before heading to Misibis Bay Resort and Casino in Cagraray Island, Bacacay town.

The Misibis Bay resort sits on a five-hectare private property with its pristine white beaches and clear ocean waters.

It can be reached by a 50-minute flight from Manila to Legazpi and either by land in less than an hour, by helicopter ride in 15 minutes, or by a fastcraft in no more than 30 minutes from Legazpi City.

The APEC is a forum of 21 member-economies that include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United States, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

These 21 Pacific Rim countries seek to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region through the APEC after it was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world.

The venue of the meeting is rotated annually among the member-economies, and the Philippines, through the provincial government of Albay led by Gov. Joey Salceda, has offered to host the summit in Misibis Bay, a world-class luxury island resort, in 2015.

The Philippines’ hosting of the APEC summit in 2015 was announced in last year’s summit in Russia.

Indonesia hosted the 2013 summit and China will host the 2014 meet.

“It is time to paddle our canoe together towards its destiny and its destination – greater social prosperity and economic progress,” Salceda said of the upcoming Philippine summit.

Albay, which faces the Pacific Ocean, is the most strategic and ideal host of the APEC Summit being “truly the only Pacific province of the Philippines,” according to the governor who also chairs the Bicol Regional Development Council and co-chairs the Green Climate Fund began.

The Philippines last hosted the APEC Leaders’ Summit in 1996, or almost eight years ago. (PNA)