THE Municipality of Madridejos earns more than P10 million a month from the poultry eggs it sells to Iloilo and Bacolod in Western Visayas, despite the lack of direct transportation to the northwestern Cebu town.
This prompted the town to initiate plans to build its own seaport to boost its booming poultry egg industry, its top official said Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024.
Around P40 million will be earned by the municipality monthly from supplying eggs to Western Visayas once the proposed port will be completed, said Madridejos Mayor Romeo Villaceran.
Bantayan Island, home to the municipalities of Madridejos, Bantayan and Santa Fe, has been tagged as the egg basket of the Central Visayas region.
The island can produce about 1.9 to two million eggs per day, SunStar Cebu reported in 2023.
Villaceran said his town has been supplying more than a thousand trays of poultry eggs to Iloilo, as well as Bacolod, daily.
“We have been supplying eggs to Iloilo. We have a large production of eggs here,” said Villaceran.
The mayor said the town’s poultry egg industry is capable of producing an estimated five million eggs per month.
Villaceran said the port would complement its egg production business, facilitating the transport of the eggs to the towns and cities in Western Visayas.
“It will significantly enhance egg production. Despite our island being right in front of Iloilo City, we currently undergo a complicated route for supplies to Iloilo City,” he said.
The mayor explained that from Madridejos, they transport their eggs to Tabuelan town on the western seaboard of mainland Cebu before sending them to Negros Island.
The journey involves a 40-minute drive from Madridejos to Santa Fe, where the port is located, for the trip to Hagnaya Port in San Remigio town in mainland Cebu. The sea trip from the island to mainland Cebu takes about an hour.
Upon reaching Hagnaya Port, they transport the eggs to Tabuelan, which borders San Remigio to the south, for another 40 minutes. From there, the shipment will be further transported to Escalante City in Negros Occidental, taking almost two hours.
Finally, the produce will be distributed to various places in Negros Occidental.
Cut travel costs
The proposed project is eyed to be constructed in Barangay Poblacion in Madridejos.
Villaceran emphasized that having a local port will significantly reduce travel costs and time, facilitating business growth, considering that Madridejos is a neighbor of the provinces of Masbate in the north, and Negros Island, and Caticlan on Panay Island in the west.
He added that the port could serve passenger vessels, potentially increasing tourist arrivals on the island.
“Travelers from Manila heading to Cebu for Bantayan Island could possibly directly travel to Caticlan for Boracay,” he added.
In his speech during the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo’s stop at his town last Wednesday, Villaceran called on Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to help him in the realization of the seaport project.
In a follow-up interview, Villaceran said Garcia vowed to help the town realize its goal.
He said they are closely coordinating with the Cebu Port Authority and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the construction of the port, and they have started working to meet the requirements for an environmental compliance certificate.
Embankment of the proposed project site is ongoing, he said.
Despite the town’s booming egg industry, most of the town’s residents are actually not part of the industry.
In his speech, Villaceran said the town used to rely only on fishing as its primary source of livelihood, but this changed when the town slowly discovered its potential in the tourism field.
Villaceran said 80 percent of residents in Madridejos rely on fishing as their livelihood.
The mayor though said the volume of fish harvested by fishermen have declined due to the increase in the number of fishermen fishing in its waters.
Madridejos was among the four towns visited by tourists on the second day of the three-day Suroy-Suroy Sugbo Northern Escapade 2024 tour organized by the Cebu Provincial Government. The other towns were San Remigio, Santa Fe and Bantayan.