PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- The local chief executive of the “best island in the world” and the country’s largest city is a Kampampangan.
This was learned during the four-day familiarization tour for media sponsored by Philippine Airlines (PAL) and the City government of Puerto Princesa.
Puerto Princesa City Mayor Luis Marcaida III was born on March 11, 1976 in San Jose, City of San Fernando, Pampanga. He is the youngest of the six children of former Provincial Prosecutor Luis Roxas Marcaida and Immaculada Marimla Marcaida.
Puerto Princesa's famous sights including the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR), included in the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2012 and one of UNESCO World Heritage sites, Honda Bay, used for both subsistence and commercial fisheries and recreation and Buenavista View Deck, a view deck that offers a stunning panoramic view of Ulugan Bay were among the highlights of the four-day trip participated by some Central Luzon and Clark media and bloggers.
Puerto Princesa Airport: New gateway to the world
According to Marcaida, last year, there were about 950,000 tourist arrivals in the said city. However, he said they are looking at 2,000,000 visitors thereafter.
“Malaking tulong ho sa ekonomiya ng Puerto Princesa. Mas marami yung
nadadagdag na tourists na pumupunta rito,” he said.
Marcaida said the upgrading of the Puerto Princesa Airport brought about an increase in air traffic. He also expressed thanks to the country’s flag carrier for recently opening more flights to this tourism gateway.
“We believe this is the new gateway of the Philippines to the world,” said Marcaida.
“I would like to thank PAL for opening flights from Clark to Puerto Princesa City, from Cebu to Puerto Princesa City, and many others. Maraming maraming salamat sa PAL, kayo po ang number one sa puso ng mamamayang Pilipino at kayo po ang nagsimula ng industriyang ito dito sa Asia,” he added.
Approximately 70 minutes via plane, Marcaida also invited his kabalens to explore the said city.
“Kareng Kapampangan, agkat da kayu pung munta Puerto Princesa, atsu ku pu keni, mayor, (I am inviting Kapampangans to visit Puerto Princesa. I am here as mayor). I’m sure you will enjoy the city of Puerto Princesa,” said Marcaida.
He said they are re-promoting Puerto Princesa City because a lot has changed since PPUR won the prestigious recognition with the highly publicized selection process of the seven most outstanding natural wonders.
City of Ports or Puerto Princesa in Spanish is the capital of the Province of Palawan. Marcaida also informed the delegation of Palawan’s geographical advantage.
“Dito sa Puerto Princesa, we are outside the Pacific Ring of Fire, wala ho kaming lindol, wala ho kaming volcano, we are also outside the typhoon belt, wala ho kaming bagyo,” he said.
New Tourism Initiatives: Community-Based Sustainable Tourism (CBST)
Also known as “A City Paradise,” Marcaida said tourism is a major industry in Puerto Princesa City and part of the re-launch is the CBST. These according to him are small tourism destinations found in communities and are managed by residents or the community itself.
“Aside from the underground river, Honda Bay and the city tour, marami pa ho kaming pwedeng ipakita, that is why we would like to request you to reintroduce, re-promote the city of Puerto Princesa as a tourism destination dahil mas marami pang pwedeng puntahan ngayon,” he said.
Other CBST sites in Puerto Princesa include Ugong Rock Spelunking and Zipline, San Carlos Floating Restaurant, Sabang Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour, Maoyon Rivercruise and Bamboo Rafting, Iwahig Firefly Watching, Batak Visitor Center Cultural Village, among others.
Established as a city in 1970, “Puerto Princesa is a tropical paradise with a bustling urban center perfect for business with leisure trips,” according to the city government’s website. It sprawls across 253,982 hectares of land stretched over 106 kilometers, making it the largest city in the Philippines.
Puerto Princesa City has 66 barangays, majority of which are rural settlements scattered in underdeveloped land. Estimated number of population is 211,000, most of them engaged in agriculture and fishing.
“A third of the population resides in the city proper, an urbanized settlement on the shores of Puerto Princesa Bay. With its huge trees and fresh air, the city has managed to retain its frontier ambience despite the onset of modern trends and structures,” said the city’s website. (Astrud Aguinaldo)