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New tourism destination to rise in Ilocos Norte
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: -
Date: 2006-03-07
THERE must be bigger reasons when the State of Hawaii decided to choose Ilocos Norte as one of its sister provinces in the Philippines. There surely is a reason drawn through the 100 years of interaction since the first batch of “Ilocano sakadas” set their feet in that Pacific paradise.

On the night of her arrival at the Laoag International Airport, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, who was in the country to celebrate the centennial of the Ilocanos’ migration, said that "Hawaii prefers Ilocano nurses." Or in quoting a second-hand joke she said "… there are no Filipinos in Hawaii, only Ilocanos…"

As the Hawaiian mission went around the province, the Hawaiian governor took note of the social, educational, and economic developments in the province. Among the pleasant surprises was the discovery of a future metropolis located in the growth corridor of Metro Laoag in the Municipality of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte.

Developed by Venvi Development Corporation, The Center will be the newest and the biggest prime development in the northern part of the country and is expected to further boost the province’s tourism and economic takeoff and its bid to be the country’s new front door to mainland Asia.

The province currently enjoys tourism growth as local and international arrivals continue to increase annually from various points – the East Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan), North America (Canada, USA) as well as from Europe. Majority of the visitors are domestic travelers who enjoy not only the arts and sights of the locality but the cuisine as well, notably bagnet, the crispy deep-fried large chunks of cross-section pork cut into biteable pieces and eaten with the flourish of fresh onion and slices of ginger and tomato; longanisa, the spicy ground pork seasoned with salt and pepper and packed in cleaned edible small intestine, wind-dried for days to mature, then fried crispy-red; kilawen kappukan, fine slices of soft lean raw beef from the freshly-butchered cow, soak-dipped in native vinegar mixed with fine salt or soy bean sauce, among others.

The new development, the first of its kind in the entire Ilocos province, will provide a life of luxury both to fellow kababayans in Ilocandia and to the growing number of visitors to the province, further boosting the tourism industry in the area.

Envisioned to be a tourism destination, the 20-hectare mixed-use development will feature the architectural blend of the West and the Ilocano culture and art. Visitors will find a stop-shop facility one could find only in the city as it boasts of the 30,000 sq. meter fully air-conditioned shopping mall with a full complement supermarket, department store, national brand boutiques and fast food stores, state-of-the-art cinemas, and a host of other well-known retail brands and stores under one roof; a US franchise 50-room boutique hotel; at least two commercial buildings; a provincial and city transport terminal; a 24-hour full-service gasoline station with its own retail stores and fast food; and a 20,000 sq. meter strip mall for bars, restaurants, and all-day dining places.

With the province’s good infrastructure system and high quality expressways, The Center will be highly accessible within and from the different parts of the province and the country, contributing to the economic activity in the locality. It is also within driving distance to a number of tourism spots which include the Malacañang of the North, the St. Augustine Church in Paoay, the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos, the windmill farm in Bangui, and the world-famous white beaches of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

Aside from its strategic location – being close to Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and the other Southeast Asian countries – Ilocos Norte’s big advantage is the presence of an international airport in Laoag City and the seaport in Currimao, making the region highly accessible from all points. And with the proposed establishment of a Chinese consulate in Laoag City, The Center will strengthen the province’s position as an ideal destination for Chinese tourists.

[Cape Bojeador Lighthouse]


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