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Discussion Starter #1

"The Land of Smiling Beauty"

Cagayan is the Regional Seat of the Cagayan Valley Region.

Tuguegarao City, the capital, is the seat of commerce and trade and center for learning. The province has 73 percent of the region’s potential fishing area.

Known as the spelunker’s, trekker’s, and gamefisher’s paradise rolled into one, Cagayan provides a never-ending adventure with ecotourism in the forefront of its offering. Both foreign and local tourists continue to explore its caves, engage in gamefishing expeditions, trek its mighty mountains and retreat to its centuries-old churches.

Present day chroniclers say that the name was derived from the word “tagay,” a kind of plant that grows abundantly in the northern part of the province. Thus, “Catagayan” which means a place where the tagay grows abundantly was shortened to “Cagayan,” the present name of the province.


Cagayan is a vast expanse of plains and valleys, bordered by mountains, running north to south both on its east and west ramparts. It is crisscrossed by rivers and creeks, the largest of which is the Cagayan River, which originates from from the Province of Nueva Vizcaya with a drainage area of about 27,300 sq. kms. and a groundwater reserve of 47,895 mcm. and traverses the province from south to north. The larger tributaries of the Cagayan River are the Pinacanauan River in Peñablanca in the southeast; the Dummun River in Gattaran and the Pared River in Alcala, both in central Cagayan; and the Zinundungan River in Lasam and the Matalag River in Rizal, both in the west. The other rivers in the province are the Chico River in southwest Cagayan at Tuao, the Pata River and Abulug River in the northwest, Buguey River in the north, and the Cabicungan River in the northeast. These rivers drain the plains and valleys of the province, and provide water for domestic and irrigation purposes, as well.

Beyond the Sierra Madres to the east, the coast fronting the Philippine Sea has strips of level land that could be utilized for economic activities. However, only Bolos Point in Gattaran is presently accessible and is being used as a small port. There are several other prospective ports on the Pacific Coast, most notable of which is Valley Cove in Baggao. Similarly, the northeastern and northwestern parts of Cagayan are strips of level land, hemmed in by the sea on the north and by the mountains and hills on the south.

Of its total land area, 28.19% or 253,831 hectares are flat to nearly level land. This consists of alluvial plains, river deltas, low wetlands, mangroves, and beaches. Most of these are found contiguous to the bodies of water, especially along the Cagayan, Pared, Dummun, Pinacanauan, Abulug, and Chico rivers. These areas are planted to rice and corn, subjected to frequent floods during the wet season.

The gentle and moderate slopes of the province, which constitute 6.08% and 13.48%, respectively of the total land area of the province are mostly contiguous to the level land, enclosing the plains of the meandering rivers and creeks. This arrangement forms the various dales or valleys found in between the hills of the province.

Majority of the rolling land to moderately steep areas which account for 17.07% of the province's total area are found at the foothills of the Sierra Madre and Cordillera mountains, separating the valleys and the mighty ranges.

Steep and very steep land which constitute 10.44% and 24.73%, respectively, of the total land area, or 94,030 hectares and 222,595 hectares, respectively, are found along the Cordilleras, in some parts of Sta. Praxedes, Claveria, Sanchez Mira, Pamplona, Lasam, Sto. Niño, and Rizal; and in the eastern parts of Santa Ana, Gonzaga, Lal-lo, Gattaran, Baggao and Peñablanca, as the northern mountains of the Sierra Madre range.

The Babuyan group of islands, which include the islands of Calayan, Babuyan, Dalupiri, Balintang and Camiguin, has a mixture of flat to nearly level land, and steep to very steep slopes. These islands have extensive coral reefs. There are two volcanoes in the Babuyan Islands: Mount Didicas off Camiguin island, which has a symmetrical cinder cone, about 215 meters above sea level, and Mount Pangasun in Babuyan island, which is about 840 meters above sea level and has two craters.

Another volcano found in Cagayan is Mount Kagua in Gonzaga in the northeast. It is being considered as a potential source of geothermal energy.

Scenic Attractions

As a tourism destination, Cagayan has a variety of areas with outstanding scenic beauty ranging from beaches, picturesque mountains, bird sanctuaries, game refuges, limestone caves, fluvial attractions, museums, historical landmarks and centuries-old churches

Cagayan's major tourism destinations are the Callao Caves in Peñablanca town and the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat in the municipality of Piat.

The Callao Caves (declared under Republic Act 7357 as a National Park) is a 7-chambered cave with massive limestone formations running through a great length of the Pinacanauan River. One of its chambers features a stone altar illuminated by natural skylight, producing an eerie catacomb-like atmosphere. Also a treat is the spectacle of red-billed kalaw birds and daily charge of bats at dusk when millions pour out of the Bat's Cave.

The Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat houses the more than 365 year-old miraculuous image of Our Lady of Piat. The image which comes from Macao was originally enshrined in Lallo but the Dominicans brought it later to Piat to win the Itawes region to Christianity. Its feastday is every July 2nd of the year.

Other tourist spots and interesting sights in Cagayan are the following:

Sierra Cave (Peñablanca) - 20 meters away from the famous Callao Caves. Its biggest challenge is through crawling a very low and narrow opening called Celica's passage. The cave's attractions include calcite formations which look like a popcorn or a cauliflower when magnified by a macro lens. Flowstones, columns, stalactites and stalagmites also exist.

Camalaniugan Bell (Camalaniugan) - one of the oldest bell in the Philippines, forged in the year 1595, it was brought to Manila in February 1987 as one of the attractions during the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress.

St. Peter's Cathedral (Tuguegarao) - The seat of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, the biggest Spanish built church in the province.

Calvary Hills
(Iguig) - This duplicate of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross set up amidst Spanish era ruins. It is situated atop an 11 hectare rolling terrain overlooking the Cagayan River. The images are more than lifesize concrete monuments standing on a hillside.

Provincial Capitol (Tuguegarao) - Seat of the provincial government of Cagayan. The complex offers a scenic view of the rolling hills, the Cagayan River, San Jacinto Seminary, Sierra Madre Mountains and Enrile Anticline.

Cagayan Museum and Historical Research Center (Tuguegarao) - An extensive collection of fossils, artifacts, antiques, artworks, enthnographic and liturgical works of the province are housed in the museum.

Magapit Suspension Bridge (Lallo) - This is the first suspension bridge in Asia linking the first and second districts of Cagayan leading to the Ilocos region.

Sta. Praxedes
: Gateway to Ilocos Region (Sta. Praxedes) - The town going to the Ilocos region thru the Patapat bridge. The smallest town with only 11,000 hectares but has tourist spots with great promise. The Portabaga Falls and a long stretch of beach.

Angler's Mecca (San Vicente, Sta Ana) - Known as the sailfish country of the Philippines. The site of the annual and international sports fishing competition hosted by the Philippine Game Fishing Foundation (PGFF)

Palaui Island: Paradise of the North (Sta Ana) - A paradise for the water sports and mountaineering activities. This untouched paradise has an approximate area of 3,850 hectares with a shoreline of 20.6 kilometers. Abundant in marine resources and home of different monkeys, wild pigs, deer, sea turtles and various endemic and migratory birds.

Claveria is also blessed with a wealth of scenic attractins which include the following: the Lakay-Lakay Lagoon, the rocky formation along the Camalaggaon Caves, the Roadside Park overlooking the Claveria Bay, Macatel Falls with its crystal waters that run in abundance throughout the year, the Pata Lighthouse that offers a breathtaking experience, and the Claveria Beach Resort along the serene white sand coasts.

ABOVE: Photo credits (L-R) photos by dark skies, Paul Uy, Rene Apilado and Dom D


ARCHEOLOGICAL FINDINGS dating back to the Paleolithic Age indicate that the ancestors of modern humans had settled in Cagayan as early as 500,000 years ago. Man may have followed large mammals into the valley in search of game. The Agtas were probably the first modern humans to populate the vast Cagayan Valley region, followed by various Malayo-Polynesian groups who settled in the Cagayan plains and established culturally similar but ethically distinct communities.

Spanish explorer Juan de Salcedo explored the coast of Cagayan in 1572 and found the people conducting trade with Chinese and Japanese merchants. In 1582, after driving away Japanese pirates who had settled along the Cagayan coast, the Spaniards decided to settle in Lallo, which they renamed Nueva Segovia. In 1595, Nueva Segovia became the seat of a diocese, which covered the entire northern Luzon.

The pacification and settlement of the Cagayan proceeded slowly because of the hostility of the natives who were indisposed to colonization. Christian evangelization began in 1596 with the arrival of Dominican missionaries in Cagayan. Revolts continued to rock the province and threatened to supplant the Spanish colonial government in the area. These revolts found a continuing reservoir of support from the unconverted highland peoples who continually harassed the Christian settlement of the valley.

In the late 18th century, Cagayan felt the full impact of the tobacco monopoly. Cultivation of tobacco, which was an important article of trade and consumption, was initially prohibited. Anti-monopoly revolts broke out in 1787 and many settlements near the highlands were abandoned by natives who wanted to continue cultivating tobacco. Ten years later, tobacco cultivation was allowed in the valley and Cagayan soon became the single largest source of the cash crop in the archipelago. Ilokano migration into the valley facilitated the expansion of agriculture in the region. By the middle of the 19th century, the great number of Ilokano settlers allowed the Iloko language to supplant Ibanag as the regional lingua franca.

Under the Spaniards, the whole northeastern part of the island of Luzon, plus some small islands in the Balintang Channel constituted a single province of Cagayan. In 1839 the southern half of the valley was formed into a politico-military district of Nueva Vizcaya. In 1856, parts of Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya were formed into the province of Isabela. Cagayan lost more territory with the formation of the partido of Itawes in 1889 and the comandancia of Apayao in 1890. The Americans delineated the present day limits of Cagayan in 1908.

In 1901, the United States Philippine Commission enacted Act No. 209 which in effect established the Provincial Government of Cagayan. In 1917, as contained in Act No. 2711, Cagayan was recognized as a grand division of the Philippine Islands. The province then comprised of 24 municipalities with Tuguegarao as its capital town.

During the Second World War, Japanese units landed in Aparri town a few days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The valley again figured prominently in the plans of Japanese forces to defend it as a secure line of retreat to Taiwan in 1945. Filipino guerillas and American forces from Ilocos fmally drove the Japanese to the Cordilleras.


Cagayan has a total population of 993,580 as of the year 2000 census of population, or 110.36 persons per square kilometer.


Languages in the province are Ybanag, Ytawit, Malaweg, and Ilocano. Other ethnic groups that migrated to the province speak their own dialects. People in places where literacy is high speak and understand English and Pilipino.


Seasons in the province are not very pronounced. Relatively dry season occurs during the months of March to June and rainy season from July to October, although it is relatively cold during the months of November to February.


Agricultural products are rice, corn, peanut, beans, and fruits. Livestock products include cattle, hogs, carabaos, and poultry. Fishing various species of fish from the coastal towns is also undertaken. Woodcraft furniture made of hardwood, rattan, bamboo, and other indigenous materials are also available in the province.


2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #2

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is mandated (RA 7922) to supervise and manage the development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (Cagayan Freeport) into a self-sustaining industrial, commercial, financial, and tourism / recreational center and Freeport with suitable retirement / residential areas, in order to create employment opportunities in and around the Cagayan Freeport, and to effectively encourage and attract legitimate and productive local and foreign investments.

The Cagayan Freeport was established through Republic Act No. 7922, otherwise known as the Cagayan Economic Zone Act of 1995. From 1997 up to the present, CEZA continues to initiate several projects to promote development in the Cagayan Freeport.


To develop, promote, manage and operate the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport as a viable investment hub for transshipment, agro-industrial business, and an attractive tourist destination in order to boost employment and economic opportunities in North philippines


We envision the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport to be developed as an agro-industrial growth zone; a major transshipment port; a tourist and eco-tourism haven; serving as a vibrant hub of economic activities in East and South East Asia; and catalyzing local development and employment in Northern Philippines. Source: CEZA



Port Irene, a Multi-Purpose Cargo Port

Port Irene, together with the proposed airport, will be the key development components for the Cagayan Freeport. Located strategically along International shipping lanes, between the U.S. West Cost, Far East, and southeast Asian countries, Port Irene will be developed as a regional transshipment container and multi-purpose cargo port with full service capability and likewise as an enhanced shipping port. A 1,000-meter wharf is envisioned to be ultimately developed from an existing 15m x 189m pier.
Stage 1 Development Features
  • Construction of breaking water to protect the existing structure
  • Refurbishing the existing quay
  • Construction of a new quay 300 meters in length to take third generation container vessels
  • Dredging and deepening of the port area; the turning area and entrance channel to -14 meter depth
  • Development of a 25-hectare container stacking yard; and Supply container handling equipment.
Stage 2 Development Features
  • Construction of additional quay 300 meters in length at an oblique angle to the Phase 1 quay, which is a dedicated container berth and will be equipped with complementary container cranes and equipment
  • Extension of the breakwater

A Destination and Air Cargo Transshipment Point
The proposed airport of international standards and capacity to be situated in Gonzaga, will serve as a destination and air cargo transshipment point not only for the Luzon-South China growth area but also for the Southeast Asian region and the U.S. West Coast.
The Airport is envisioned to operate under the Global Transpark (GTP) system which integrates just-in-time manufacturing and distribution facilities with multi-modal transportation, advanced telecommunications and materials handling system to facilitate fast, flexible linkages between GTP locators and their suppliers and customers globally. The proposed phased developments for the new airport are as follows:
Stage 1 Development Features - Upgrading San Vicente
Initially, a realistic development program allows for the use of the existing airport at San Vicente, upgraded, followed later with the staged construction of a new airport at Gonzaga. Stage 1 would involved the upgrading of the San Vicente airport to facilitate easier access to and from the Cagayan Freeport.

The principal features of Stage 1 development are the following:
  • Upgrading the existing runway from about 640 meters to a runway length of 1,000m, this would allow Dash 7 or Dash 8 type aircraft (or their equivalent) to be operational
  • A commercial aircraft parking apron sized to accomodate at least two Dash 7 aircraft at any one time
  • Single taxiway links between the runway and the parking apron
  • A simple terminal building, with a total floor area of 500 sq.m and adjoining carpark
  • An operations building / control tower strategically located to serve ATC needs
  • A fire / rescue building with facilities to meet Category 6 level of services
  • Upgrading existing and utility like water, power and communication, etc. that are deemed essential for the safe operation of the airport
Stage 2 Development Features - Initial Phase of Airport
Once demand has built up and the upgraded airport at San Vicente is nearing its capacity the new airport at Gonzaga would be developed on Stage 2. This would provide the capacity to handle some 230 passengers per day (4 x B737 aircraft movements per day).
The principal features of the development are the following:
  • An initial runway length of 2,200 meters is recommended to facilitate direct operation of B737 aircraft operating out of the airport to NAIA in Manila and other nearby cities like Kaoshung and Hong Kong
  • A commercial aircraft parking apron sized to accomodate at least two B737s at any one time
  • Two taxiway links between the runway and the parking aprons
  • Development of the airport terminal and all its attendant facilities.
Stage 3 Development Features
Principal features of Stage 3 developoment could take the form of one or all of the following, depending on actual demand at the time of proposed development:
  • Extension of the runway to 3,000 meters to accomodate larger capacity aircraft
  • Development and expansion of airside facilities

Residential Facility
Another complementary facility in support of the key development thrusts of the Cagayan Freeport is the housing / residential facility, to particularly include residential housing subdivisions, composed of four (4) types:
• Socialized housing for the worker groups and the residents;
• Economic housing for the white collar and skilled groups;
• High-scale housing for executives and expatriates;
• Vacation and retirement villas as part of the eco-tourism and leisure estate
The residential subdivisions for housing zone staff, inhabitants, locators and workers will be developed complete with community amenities.


Santa Ana Regional Agro-industrial Growth Center (SARAIGC)
Based on the area's existing endowments, agro-industrial enhancement is seen as the take-off point for the immediate development of the area, hence, the development of the Sta. Ana Regional Agro-Industrial Growth Center of SARAIGC - one of the indentified proposed industrial centers in the country. The area covered by the Center is 800 hectares to be allocated as follows: industrial zone, residential zone, recreational zone, and the communication zone and expansion area.
Possible area for investment in the SARAIGC
• Agriculture and Development Centers
• Fertilizer Production
• Feed Milling
• Food Processing
• High Value Crops Production
• Research and Development Facilities for the Poultry, Livestock & Marine Sectors
• Livestock and Poultry Raising
• Meat Processing
• Fish Production and Aquaculture
• Processing of Fish and other Marine Products
• Seaweeds and Carageenan Production and Processing
• Pulp and Paper Production
• Furniture Production

The CEZA Guest House/ photo from CEZA


Tourism and Leisure Complex
The proposed 200-hectare Tourism and Leisure Complex, situated in Barangay Mapurao, San Vincente, Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley is envisioned to be a premier resort facility, complete with first-class hotel acommodations, sports and recreational facilities. It shall serve as a rest and recreation center for tourists and business executives, both local and foreign. At the same time, it is proposed that the development will also institute programs / activities that will create an awareness of the importance of eco-tourism.
The proposed complex will include the following features and amenities:
  • Eco-tourism facilities / Nature Trails
    (equestrian trails/horseback-riding, mountain climbing/trekking)
  • sports/Recreational facilities
    (e.g. Clubhouse, Golf Course, Tennis Courts, Basketball Courts, Swimming Pools, Gym)
  • Housing Accomodation facilities (condovillas)
  • Hotel-Casino Facilities
    (retail and souvenir shops, restaurants, music lounges, fuinction rooms, casino game halls)
  • View decks, picnic cottages, pocket gardens
To support the above-proposed developments, the following infrastructure supports systems will be provided, including:
  • Power supply
  • Domestic water supply system
  • Access and internal road networks
  • Telecommunication facilities
Distance Flight & Shipping Times to Key Cities
Source: CEZA

Chart from CEZA

2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Getting Lost: Fabulous northeastern shores


Here’s a travel trivia. In the island of Luzon are two municipalities that are equidistant from Luneta, where the 0 km. marker is found. They are literally at the tip of Luzon, but on opposite ends. They are both indicated by kilometer markers that bear the numbers 642. One is located in the southern most tip, in the town of Matnog, Sorsogon. Its twin marker is at the northeastern end, in the coastal community of San Vicente, in the town of Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

Manidad Island is shaped like a crocodile and is characterized by rock formations that produce flaked and cubed rock fragments. Photo courtesy of Chen Reyes-Mencias

Frontier destination

More than fifteen years ago it took me 24 hours to travel by land from Manila to the spot up north where the 642 km. marker now stands. Nowadays it takes half as long to get there. Good infrastructure accounts for the easier travel. The entire municipality of Sta. Ana is part of the Cagayan Freeport Zone. It is one of the fastest growing development area in the country. Tourism is a major focus of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, the government corporation mandated to manage the place. Sta. Ana prides itself of sweeping landscapes and seascapes that are now considered emerging destinations for tourists who are attracted to the wonders of nature. As far as tourism is concerned, the place is definitely frontier territory. Very few tourists have laid eyes on the amazing sceneries, flora and fauna of this place. After all it is literally at the end of the road.

The climate was rather fickle when I last visited. Amihan was still prevailing and yet it was like summer the day that I hopped on a boat to check out the northeastern shores. The sea was flat, the sun was scorching hot and the sky was like blue canvass. The boatman said that the northeast monsoon will be ending rather early this year. Although he adds that they still get rainy days occasionally. Perhaps due to its location, Sta. Ana has it own micro-climate. The locals even call the cold months winter because it can get really cold, especially when the Siberian wind blows in from the north. Summer however can be very hot and humid, extending all the way to August.

Seagrass and mangroves

As the boat pulled away from the jetty, I noticed the long strands of seagrass growing from the shallow waters. I felt the excitement in my stomach as I recall stories that were told to me of people who have sighted dugongs here. This endangered species of marine mammal is only found in areas with extensive seagrass meadows. It is their habitat and they rely on certain types of seagrass for food. It follows then that if we lose this important ecosystem that the dugong will eventually become extinct.
We followed the coastline for some time, heading east. There are coves of white sandy beaches interspersed with pockets of beach forests and mangroves. I noticed a few wild agoho trees lining the shore. These tropical low-land fake pine trees are remnants of an old growth forest that had undergone conversions by humans. Beach forests are now rare in most parts of the country. They are being cleared to give way to resorts and other development. As the boatman steered closer to shore I saw a thick growth of mangrove trees ahead. An opening emerged and the boat was maneuvered effortlessly through it until we were cruising slowly along this aquatic wonderland called Gotan.

For a while all I could see were mangroves with long prop roots extending beyond the water level. I watched out for wild animals that may be hiding within this magnificent patch of life. The thick foliage of mangrove trees provides shelter for insects, reptiles and birds. We were in luck because more than five wild ducks flew away, obviously disturbed by the sound of the motor. There must be more since we were in the middle of the migration season. My guide told me that the best time for bird watching is early morning or late afternoon. Gotan however may only be reached by boat when the tide is high. Nature’s pulse had provided the perfect control for the entry of humans.

Mini Boracay and El Nido

Cruising further I noticed some rock islands capped with sturdy bonsai trees. They reminded me of the rocky pinnacles of El Nido in Palawan. They are not as tall, jagged and dramatic, but they have similar flora. For plants to grow on a rock is an amazing phenomenon. They are also called ultra-mafic or ultra-basic forests. The lack in moisture and soil stunts the growth of these plants and they end up with crooked roots and twisted trunks. Some of them must be more than a hundred years old. Their resilience to the harsh conditions of the environment dictates their ability to survive. Unfortunately, these bonsai plants are disappearing fast. They are being collected and sold by people who have no respect for life or understanding of the need to preserve rare natural heritage. I started to wonder if years from now visitors will still be able to gaze in awe at these age-old trees and enjoy them as much as I have.

Often called the Boracay of the North, Anguib beach has been a well kept secret for many years. Due to its isolation very few visitors have actually walked its shores. Photo courtesy of Chen Reyes-Mencias
Moving further we came upon a long stretch of white beach called Anguib. It is like a mini Boracay, with soft white sand and emerald green water, but minus the crowd. Although there are small huts along the beach, they are few and far between. It is still pretty isolated and I was told that most of the time it is empty. Walking along this beach I came upon a man holding an octopus that he caught with his home-made speargun, wooden goggles and ply-wood fins. He proudly showed me his catch and demonstrated how to eat a local delicacy called maratangtang. In the Japanese restaurants it is called uni. Leaving the octopus on the beach, he ran to the water and came back with six sea urchins. He cracked them open and scooped out the gonads which he quickly placed in his mouth. After doing what he did I realized that it is indeed an acquired taste.

Crocodile at sea

After a day of exploring, learning and relaxing, we headed back to the port of San Vicente. Along the way we stopped at a long narrow island locally named Manidad. Approaching it from the west, it appeared like a crocodile with a big head and long snout. Its “body” is a rock formation that has interesting weathering patterns. The surface has been chipping away producing rock fragments that are flaky and cubed. On top are uncommon plant species that thrive in an environment with no soil and fresh water. Its narrow beach is dominated by coral rubbles and crushed shells indicating the presence of a coral reef nearby. Small whirlpools of currents flow all around it eroding its shores. It would have been perfect if not for the trash that were carelessly thrown near its “head” by some irresponsible tourist, no doubt.

The island seem to come alive as it echoes the lesson of the day. Nature may be able to endure the harshness of the wind, the currents, the tides and the rain. But it cannot bear the arrogance, greed and uncaring attitude of human beings.

Let me know what you think by sending me an email at [email protected]. Visit my site: and learn how you can help protect destinations for them to last for many generations.

Thanks to The Northern Dispatch Weekly for the Article

2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Senate President Villar visits Tuguegarao City officials

Tuguegarao City -- Senate President Manny Villar and wife Congresswoman Cynthia Villar visited their political friends here last week and at the same time discussed certain city projects and programs where he can be of help.

Shortly after his arrival at the Tuguegarao City airport a press conference was held at the airport lobby where he entertained and graciously answered questions from local mediamen.

He said Phil. politics is quite shaky this time because of the removal of Congressman Jose de Venecia as Speaker of the House, conduct of rallies as actions against the gov't and the ongoing investigation in the senate where many anomalies are cropping up.

He likewise expressed his desire to end the NBN-ZTE investigation in order to work for the legislation of the anti-wire tapping law, amendments to the procurement law and the anti-kidnapping activities.

Sen. Villar added that the senate will continue to pay attention to important bills for interest and benefit of the public and at the same time disclaim the impression of some groups and individuals that the senators are not performing their duties.

Meanwhile, Sen. Villar said that he will continue on promoting his advocacy dubbed as "Sipag at Tiyaga" that will give inspiration to the public to work hard and live a better life.

After the press conference, Sen. Villar mets with City Mayor Delfin T. Ting and former Mayor Randolph S. Ting at Hotel Delfino afterwhich he proceeded to Cauayan City and Santiago City in Isabela.

2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #5

CAFC members monitoring the Green House Project at Lingaling, Libag, Tuguegarao City.

The Department of Agriculture and the Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC) named Tuguegarao City as the region’s Most Outstanding City Agricultural and Fishery Council (CAFC) of the year in the Gawad Saka Search on March this year.

With this award, the city’s CAFC qualifies for the national level placing first among five finalists all around the country.

Organized in 1987, CAFC is a non-government organization composed of farmers mostly in the eastern part of the city.

The group is supported by the City Government specifically the City Agriculture Office.

Mr. Oscar Buguina, Tuguegarao City CAFC Chairman said 60% of the members are composed of private individuals who are farmers while 40% comprised of members in the government sector.

“We aim to develop the economic status of the farmers,” says Buguina. In the process, we also advocate Agri-based projects of the city government like fish cage production, livelihood projects and development of fish cages and ponds.

Although the organization does not have a fund to speak of, they are proud to have conducted regular and special meetings for their different projects. Buguina mentioned the aid of the city in the form of a four wheel tractor that helped mobilized and fast-tracked farming activities.

Buguina said they were able to accomplish different programs and projects due to the support extended by the city government and other agencies which help them raise funds for the welfare of the farmers.


Exploring the soil subsurface conditions of the City Dump Site at Carig Norte, the Geo Technical and Materials Testing Engineers from Manila headed by Engr. William C. Muñoz conducted a nine-day soil testing and investigation at the proposed Sanitary Land Fill from March 17-28,2007.

The group bored five holes to be able to determine the depth of excavation allowed in the area, the type of foundation or structural building which is appropriate for the area, and to make sure the liche (dagta) coming from waste materials wouldn’t penetrate or contaminate the ground water. These are all intended to secure the area.

Engr. Catherine Taguiam, program coordinator, said this test is necessary as it will serve as a basis for the treatment of liche especially as the city government plans to create a liche pond.

“If this project will prosper, management of our waste materials will be smoother thereby enabling us to take a better care of our environment, she added.

1,450 Posts
CEZA, private groups spend P11 B in ecozone infrastructure


The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and a consortium of private sector groups are investing P11 billion for the construction of infrastructure projects particularly an international airport and seaport to jumpstart the development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport in Santa Ana, Cagayan.

CEZA administrator and CEO Jose Mari Ponce said they are looking at the completion of all the infrastructure facilities by 2010.

Of the total investment requirement, Ponce said between P5 billion to P6 billion would be used to for the construction of the international airport and P4 billion to P5 billion for the construction of the container port.

The funding for the international airport would be a combination of its own budgetary allocation from the national government and the private sector consortium led by the First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corp., CEZA’s Internet casino master licensor, of businessman Alfredo Benitez group. They are eyeing an equity sharing of 60-40 in favor of CEZA.

Spanish-owned Banco Bilbao is also providing a 350-million euro open credit line that can be tapped for the airport project and to fund expansion projects of CEZA locators.

The Banco Bilbao, however, requires a sovereign guarantee for the loans from PhilExim bank.

"It is a priority for CEZA to build the airport this year," said Ponce, as he cited the rapid development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport.

He said the airport will have a runway of 1,500 meters to 2,000 meters to accommodate large aircraft filled with tourists and investors. The runway alone entails P2 billion in investments. Construction of the airport is expected to start this year in a 30-hectare privately-owned lot in Sta. Ana and is expected to be operational by 2009.

Ponce said the international airport will support the vision of CEZA to transform the economic zone and Freeport into a first-class tourist destination and a major transshipment point for trade in the Asia-Pacific rim, competing with the like of Hong Kong and Singapore.

The international airport will be complemented by various infrastructure and information technology projects that will solidify the position of the Freeport and economic zone as a tourism and investment destination.

While the international airport is under development, CEZA has developed the San Vicente airstrip to accommodate smaller chartered flights from Manila. Under a joint use agreement with the Philippine Navy, CEZA finalized the widening of the airstrip and started utilizing the facility since last year.

Larger aircraft are also using the Tuguegarao airport which presently caters to international chartered flights to and from Macau, and has a frequency of two flights per week to bring tourists to Sta. Ana while the CEZA international airport remains to be completed, Ponce added. Tuguegarao is 150 kilometers away from Sta. Ana.

On the other hand, Port Irene, the center of the Freeport zone, is being developed into a major transshipment hub of international standards for a total cost of P5 billion.

The port’s existing pier will be rehabilitated and lengthened to accommodate 20,00 deadweight tons vessels while the 7-hectare port area shall be developed into a container year with a capacity of 17,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

The development of the port will come in two phases, the construction of breakwater to protect the port from strong currents and waves, and the lengthening of the pier and development of the container yard.

The development of the seaport would be undertaken on a build-operate transfer scheme by the ASEAN Pacific International Terminals Inc., which is now owned by Filipino-owned Burgundy Group of Co.

"The goal is by 2010 all the infrastructure facilities are already operational including additional power capacity, roads and bridges," Ponce said.

Ponce said road development is ongoing to facilitate more investments related to eco-tourism projects. Other projects including waste and sewerage system, and waste disposal facilities are ready for implementation.

Ponce explained that when he took over CEZA in 2005, he ordered a shift in focus in the implementation of priority projects from transshipment port and agro-industrial strategy to eco-tourism.

Ponce has decided to push the development of eco-tourism first because there is already the demand for tourists and casino players from nearby countries particularly Macau, Taipei, China, Japan and Korea.

On the other hand, based on his study the transshipment and agroidnsutrial strategy can only become viable by 2012 yet.

Ponce’s move to prioritize eco-tourism has born fruit with the establishment of two major casino resort complexes Macau based Sun City and Xiamen-based Eastern Hawaii, built at a cost of nearly P1 billion, which is currently under expansion to provide a total of 600 rooms for foreign guests from the current 400 room capacity.

This has facilitated more tourist arrivals on the average of 200 a month via chartered international flights. In December last year, there were 300 tourists that came into Sta. Ana. The zone has also an available 400 hotel rooms.

The zone has been declared as Asia’s first and only interactive gaming jurisdiction by the International Association of Gaming Resources.

First Cagayan is also developing a ten-hectare cyber complex at a cost of P800 million, which will house a world-class, state-of the-art data center facility.

Ponce said that First Cagayan has invested heavily in telecommunications to provide the needs of investors. It has already completed the installation of microwave facilities connecting Aparri to Sta. Ana and the installation of an 85-kilometer fiber optic cabling facility from Lallo to Sta. Ana.

Through this fiber network, the Zone is interconnected to major telcos and can now offer high-capacity internet connectivity at competitive costs, ideal for various businesses such as offshore banking, call centers and other BPO ventures.

Now that the demand has been established in the Freeport, Ponce said they are now laying down the infrastructure projects to accommodate increased tourist arrivals and increased trade volume as transshipment hub.

2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Tuguegarao City residents to be issued ID cards

Tuguegarao -- City mayor Delfin Ting will soon issue identification cards to legitimate residents of Tuguegarao City which may be used later to avail of health services from the Peoples Emergency Hospital (PEH).

The ID cards are important to properly identify true residents of the place, Ting said.

He also said the hospital is undergoing total renovation to make it more comfortable for patients. The city government has likewise allocated some funds for the purchase of additional facilities and equipment aside from those that would be given by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Mayor Ting emphasized that the PEH is constructed for the benefit of Tuguegaraoeños exclusively.

Once completed, the hospital will give free consultation, medication and other health services especially to those who can't afford to pay for hospital bills and medicines.
(PIA Cagayan)

2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Construction of Cagayan International Airport to start this year

Saturday, March 1, 2008 04:07 PM

TUGUEGARAO CITY -- The construction of another international airport is set to start this year as part of the national government's continued effort to transform this country's northernmost part into a world-class tourism and business investment destination.

Jose Mari Ponce, administrator of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), said that the construction of the airport, with an initial funding of P5 billion, would be a joint venture between CEZA and a multinational private firm with technical and supervisory assistance from the Department of Transportation and Communications.

The airport, which would be similar to that of the Diosdado Macapagal Airport in Clark Field, Pampanga, in terms of technology and capability, would be co-financed by a Spanish bank through an open credit scheme, Ponce said.

"It is a priority for CEZA to build the airport this year to complement the rapid development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport," said Ponce, also the CEZA's chief executive officer. -- Charlie Lagasca

2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Construction of P5-B Cagayan Int’l Airport to start this year

By Charlie Lagasca

TUGUEGARAO CITY – The construction of another international airport is set to start this year as part of the national government’s continued efforts to transform this country’s northernmost part into a world-class tourism and business investment destination.

Jose Mari Ponce, administrator of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), said that the construction of the airport, with an initial funding of P5-billion, would be a joint venture between CEZA and a multinational private firm with technical and supervisory assistance from the Department of Transportation and Communications.

The airport, which would be similar to that of the Diosdado Macapagal Airport in Clark Field, Pampanga, in terms of technology and capability, would be co-financed by a Spanish bank through an open credit scheme, Ponce said.

“It is a priority for CEZA to build the airport this year to complement the rapid development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport,” said Ponce, also the CEZA’s chief executive officer.

Based in Santa Ana, Cagayan, CEZA, which is under the Office of the President, was created in 1995 through Republic Act 7922. It covers the whole of Santa Ana town and the neighboring islands in the municipality of Aparri.

At present, CEZA has 68 local and foreign investors with initial combined investments of more than P8 billion, all for the development of CEZA as a first-class tourism destination and a major transshipment point for trade in the Asia-Pacific rim.

The airport, Ponce said, will have a runway of more than P1,500 meters to accommodate bigger aircrafts that would be expected to come in regular flights once the CEZA goes into full operation.

“The airport will be complemented by various infrastructure and information technology projects that will solidify the position of the Freeport and economic zone as a tourism and investment destination,” he said.

While the airport is under development, CEZA, he said, will be using the newly developed San Vicente Airstrip in Santa Ana to accommodate chartered flights from Manila through a joint use agreement with the Philippine Navy.

To complement the soon-to-be-inaugurated airport, the CEZA also has an international port in Port Irene.

To date, the construction of a multi-million-peso international hotel whose groundbreaking was led by President Arroyo last year is now ongoing while three online casinos managed by various international investors are operational and are being patronized by tourists from overseas.

2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Getting Lost: Beyond Tuguegarao


The Semana Santais a lot of things to many people. To most Christians it is a time do their annual Visita Iglesiasor to act upon their panata.On the other hand many associate Holy Week as a time for vacation, travel to the province or to hit the beach. Or perhaps watch in awe the many rituals, processions and practices related to the annual religious event. Nevertheless, wherever we go and whatever we do during this time, it is important to slow down, reflect, pray or meditate and recognize Christ’s sacrifice to save humanity, or at the very least feel some form of spirituality in one’s heart.

Fourteen larger-than-life monuments depicting the Stations of the Cross were built across an 11-hectare field. Photo courtesy of Chen Reyes-Mencias

Simple penance

North of Tuguegarao City are some interesting sites that may remind us of our Christian background and put us in a deep and insightful mood. The town of Iguig is famous for the Calvary Hills and its centuries-old church. Named after a chieftain called “Ig”, this town is one place where devotees congregate during Holy Week. It is famous for the St. James the Apostle Church that stands as a testament to the rich history of the place. It was built on top of a hill in 1765 after the first three were washed away by floods. This brick church is one of the few left in the country that has flying buttresses. It is completely made of bricks and for a very good reason. Iguig is known for brick-making. Even today there are still families engaged in producing clay pottery, brick tiles, decorative jars and earthen stoves.

Drawing a big crowd during Holy Week are 14 larger-than-life concrete monuments depicting Jesus Christ’s suffering before his death on Mount Calvary. The Stations of the Cross had been built across an 11-hectare expanse of rolling hills right at the back of the brick church. It was completed in 1982. It is the perfect location not only because of the landscape but also because of the fact that Iguig went through two major catastrophes in the past that decimated the population and wiped out almost all houses. Cholera in 1898 and a major fire had almost erased Iguig from the map. The resilience however gave the people strength to rebuild their lives. The Calvary Hills is perhaps a way to bring about blessings for the townsfolk and for the hundreds of visitors that flock during Holy Week. The hike between the Stations and across the open field, while exposed to the searing heat of the sun, is enough penance for most.

Nueva Segovia

Approximately two hours north of Iguig is the town of Lal-lo. It is another place that has a very deep historical background. When the Spaniards discovered it in 1582 they found it to be the ideal place to establish Christianity in Luzon. It was renamed Ciudad de Nueva Segovia. It became the fourth city to be founded in the Philippines after Cebu (1565), Manila (1571), and Naga (1575). Territory of the new diocese included the whole of northern Luzon from Zambales, Tarlac and Pangasinan all the way up to Ilocos. Lal-lo is located near the banks of the mighty Cagayan River. Archeologists say that during the Spanish era, the river used to be deep and galleons were able to come into the river through the delta in Aparri. Hence, there are speculations of possible archeological sites that may reveal relics of galleons that may have been built and repaired along the Cagayan River. The center of the diocese was later on transferred to Vigan.

Lal-lo is known for the St. Dominic Church which now serves as a landmark for the former Nueva Segovia of Luzon. Photo courtesy of Chen Reyes-Mencias

In Lal-lo, is the church of St. Dominic which used to be the Church of Bagum-bayan during the Spanish era. It was founded by Fr. Diego de Soria and Tomas Castellar in 1594. Across the church is the century-old Evangelization Cross encased in glass. University of Santo Tomas founder Miguel de Benavides who became the first bishop of the diocese. recounted in his report to the Pope that “the grace of God had won over the natives of Cagayan to the Flockof which Christ is the Shepherd”. The bell tower of the brick church is already adorned with bonsai plants and has always been the subject of debate on whether it is actually sinking. It seems to be leaning on one side.

Oldest bell

Futher north is the town of Camalaniugan. In 1996 it celebrated its Quadricentennial Anniversary marking a significant milestone in the town’s history. A well preserved Horno still existsbeside the river that used to produce bricks for the churches in the area. But it is more popular for the Sancta Maria which is supposedly the oldest bell in the Far East. It is housed at the San Jacinto de Polonia Church. It was forged in 1595, a year before the Dominicans accepted the city’s ecclesiastical administration. Records indicate that the bell was transported to Manila in February 1937 for the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress. The bell is now in a tower that was built through a concerted effort by parishioners, local government and town folk.

The Sancta Maria is the oldest bell in the Far East. Photo courtesy of Chen Reyes-Mencias

Bells are important to churches and they have a long history. They had been quite useful when clocks have not been invented yet, since they were rung to call people to prayer or to summon them for religious services. The church bell was also rung to provide a warning in times of danger.

More importantly, bells are rung to remind us of the presence of God. During the Lenten season, no bells of any size are rung between the end of the Gloria of the Mass on Holy Thursday and the beginning of Gloria on Holy Saturday, after which the Church and the believers anticipate the Resurrection of the Lord. This is heralded by the simultaneous and joyful ringing of the bells of churches all over the world, to announce that Christ has risen from the dead, to die no more.

Whether we spend the season inside a church or doing penance walking up a Calvary Hill like the one in Iguig, or perhaps hiking up the mountain or relaxing by the beach, may we be reflective in order to recognize a force much greater than us. May you find your own place of peace and bliss.

Let me know what you think. Send me an email at [email protected].

Article courtesy of The Northern Dispatch Weekly

2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Cagayan preparing for own wind power project

Friday, March 28, 2008 02:07 PM

Bangui– The Cagayan province is preparing for its own wind power project in Pamplona town like the famous giant windmills in Bangui town in Ilocos Norte.

Governor Alvaro Antonio is supporting the push for the alternative power source that would produce 27 megawatts of electric power, said lawyer Ferdinand Dumlao, chairman of the board of the proponent Northeast Wind Systems Corporation (NEWS).

The Pamplona Wind Energy Project (PWPP) is touted as a landmark in commemorating Cagayan’s position on global warming and protection of the environment, added Dumlao.

A wind study has already been conducted in Pamplona and is positive, Atty. Dumlao said.

Gov. Antonio is facilitating the agreement of all stakeholders including electric cooperatives in Cagayan to finally endorse the project. - Artemio Dumlao

2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Cagayan town wants 116-year-old lighthouse declared a historic site

By Charlie Lagasca
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

SANTA ANA, Cagayan – This northern coastal town, described to be one of the “Boracays of the North,” has renewed its bid for the national government to declare its 116-year-old lighthouse a cultural and heritage site in an effort to save one of such remaining Spanish-era structures in the country from further ruin.

Mayor Norberto Victor Rodriguez said their long-pending bid for the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCAA) and the National Historical Institute (NHI) to declare Cape Engaño, one of the 27 lighthouses built during the 400-year Spanish occupation, a historical and heritage site, has again been brought to the fore in the wake of the edifice’s deteriorating state.

The lighthouse, now under the lighthouse division of the Department of Transportation and Communications, used to be the “guiding light” to sailors and fishermen, including Spanish and Chinese merchants plying the Batanes and Babuyan Claro seas and the Pacific side of Northern Luzon.

“The alarming state of the lighthouse has awakened our consciousness to find ways to preserve it not only as a part of our local history but also as a part of the country’s cultural heritage,” said Dindo Danao, who hails from this northernmost Cagayan town.

Though still sturdy, the lighthouse, also known as El Faro de Cabo Engaño, has been vandalized and many structures in its compound no longer have roofs, exposing them to the elements.

“The NHI was astounded by what they saw in the lighthouse and said that it would take at least P5 million to rehabilitate it. Instead, they suggested that the building’s present condition be maintained to prevent its further deterioration,” said Gloria Jamora*bon, the town’s tourism operations assistant officer.

Earlier, the Santa Ana-based Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, which is attached to the Office of the President, said there have been talks with the Spanish government for possible support in reconstructing the fortress-like structure, made of bricks of volcanic sources and which stands on volcanic rock.

2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
No rice shortage in Cagayan

Tuguegarao City -- Farmers and government officials declared today that there is no rice shortage in the province of Cagayan contrary to reports of rice shortage in some areas of the country particularly in Metro Manila.

Cagayan Provincial Agriculturist Mildred Abella stressed that the province is not experiencing any rice shortage. In fact, the province remains to be a surplus area in rice production and contributes to the rice needs of other provinces outside region 2.

She also said that the province remains as the rice bowl of the Cagayan Valley Region.

To further prove that there is no rice shortage, three farmers from Alcala and Solana, Cagayan and also from Tuguegarao City testified that they have good harvest this season, yielding even more than their expected harvest.

Judy Bernabe, a farmer from Solana said he was able to harvest recently some 140 cavans of rice from his 1.2 hectare rice field compared to the 132 cavans he harvested last year.

Meantime, Marlene Estrada, a statistician from the Department of Agriculture regional office said the province is expecting to harvest more than 300,000 metric tons of rice when the harvesting period ends this May.

National Food Authority (NFA) provincial manager Rocky Valdez, on the other hand, assured that there is enough rice supply in the province.

He likewise mentioned that the office received recently the first shipment of 30,000 bags of rice from Vietnam and about 100 bags more will arrive next week.

2,086 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Saturday, April 19, 2008
A pilgrimage to Cagayan

A WIDE grassland view of the mountains facing the Pacific Ocean like no other picturesque view in the country welcomed me to the sunny province of Cagayan.

After the agonizing 10-hour journey from Baguio City, passing through the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija and Isabela, I reached Cagayan with a lot of expectations only to be drawn back to the basics. That is, of course, what I call my Cagayan adventure as a spiritual awakening because of two sites that draw me back closer to my Creator.

Hidden in the province's interiors are two of the most visited pilgrimage sites during holy week in the valley region -- the Callao Cave and the Basilica of Our Lady of Piat.

Callao Caves

In the town of Peñablanca, Cagayan, a 30-minute bus ride from the capital of the province of Tuguegarao, is the seven-chamber Callao Cave.

Located in the barangays of Parabba and Quibal beside the majestic Cagayan River, the caves provide sanctuary to bats and other endemic animals.

Once used as a camp of Japanese forces during World War II, the cave may be reached after trekking through more than two hundred cemented mossy steps in just 15 minutes form the gate entrance.

Inside the long winding tunnels of the cave, one can marvel at the man-made chapel in the first chamber of the cave where a crevice in the ceiling provides illumination creating a natural cathedral vista.

However, my expectations were rather short-lived as I saw some stalactites and stalagmites inside the cave vandalized probably due to the high tourism influx. All I could do was pray inside the cave's chapel and sigh at the once glorious and well-talked-about tourist destination in Cagayan.

The spectacular view inside the once glorious cave was gone as sights of plastic wrappers and bottles probably left by tourists were not a rarity. I just wish that the local authorities would take notice at their prime tourist destination or these wonders of nature would be gone forever.

Our Lady of Piat

After a few hours of scouring the interiors of the cave, our group went to another pilgrimage site that for more than 400 years played a significant role in the devotion of the people in Cagayan Valley -- the Shrine of Our Lady of Piat.

Located in the town of Piat, Cagayan named after the image, the shrine hosts the brown Madonna statue that the locals claim as miraculous. The image of Our Lady of Piat was crafted in Macau and assumed to have been inspired by Mexico's Virgin of Guadalupe.

According to the nuns who sell miraculous oils to devotees, the image of the Virgin Mary was once fair skinned until it became dark brown to resemble the complexion that of the Cagayanons.

The Basilica houses a museum, which displays a wide array of religious articles, vestments and liturgical artifacts that reflects the 400-year-long history of the arrival of the image in the country.

Believed to be a powerful intercessor to those who have ailments, I offered a prayer inside the shrine that I realized a few weeks after came true.

Ibanag Delicacies

Lastly, before I left the province of Cagayan, I never forgot the food that also made the land of the Ibanags famous.

One of the more popular pasalubongs bought by tourists is the Alcala milk candy. It is almost similar to the pastillas sold in Bulacan although the difference would be its flattened rectangular shape and that it is made of pure Carabao's milk.

Another favorite for tourists to buy in Tuguegarao are the Cacao balls that would easily melt in boiling water for a delightful chocolate drink that's best served during breakfast.

Other favorites I never failed to buy were the Carne Ibanag Longanisa that is almost similar to Vigan's longanisa except probably for its light orange color and the Chicharabao or fried garlic-flavored Carabao fat that I enjoyed eating on the bus trip back to Baguio.

All in all, the Cagayan experience is indeed both a delight for the soul as well for adventure seekers like me. (JMA)

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Discussion Starter #17
Natural gas deposits waiting to be tapped in Cagayan

NARVACAN, Ilocos Sur - An estimated $350 million worth of natural gas is waiting to be tapped in Amulung, Cagayan in northern Philippines, officials of the privately-held Monte Oro Resources and Energy Corporation (MOREC) said.

Edward Durkee, the company’s chief geologist, said that natural gas deposits in the landlocked town can be converted into liquefied petroleum gas and compressed natural gas, which could be valued anywhere from $300 to $350 million.

According to Durkee, the company was already given an exploration permit to determine the total amount of natural gas in the area.

Amulung Mayor Pacita de Leon said that the company was able to secure its exploration permit because it was expected to offer livelihood opportunities for the town’s residents.

Amulung is a 4th Class municipality with a population of about 44,000.

Considered cleaner than fossil-based fuels, natural gas can be used to generate electricity by using turbines.

Established in 2005, MOREC was formed specifically to invest in Mining, Oil & Gas and Infrastructure investments in the Philippines. - GMANews.TV

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Discussion Starter #18
RP-Macau air deal raises seats from 850 to 13,100 weekly
By Veronica Uy

MANILA, Philippines -- As more Filipinos work in Macau, the Philippines and the former Portugal territory signed an air agreement increasing the number of flight seats 15-fold from 850 a week to 13,100, an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs told Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Administration Franklin Ebdalin, vice chairman of the Philippine negotiating team for air talks with foreign governments, called the agreement finalized last April 24 as "short of open skies with Macau."

Under the Philippines-Macau agreement, a total of 3,600 seats will be allocated for Manila-Macau flights per week and vice versa; 6,000 seats weekly for Philippine carriers flying from Clark and Subic; and another 3,500 seats weekly for carriers outside Manila, Clark, and Subic (like Cebu, Davao, and Tuguegarao).

"We obtained a better deal with Macau because [the agreement] takes care of all the requirements for all our carriers in terms of seats capacity," he said.

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Discussion Starter #20
BOC to create 2 collection districts in Cagayan, Bataan

By Iris C. Gonzales
Friday, May 2, 2008

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) will create two collection districts in Cagayan and Bataan due to the expected increase in investors in the two areas.

BOC commissioner Napoleon Morales said the agency is anticipating the influx of investors given the developments at the Cagayan economic zone.

As such, the BOC will create a collection district in Aparri in Cagayan and in the Port of Limay in Bataan due to the expected increase in investors.

Morales said the ultimate goal is to enhance revenues, facilitate trade and enhance trade security.

“We will try to plug all smuggling loopholes,” Morales said.

The Customs chief said the agency would issue a memorandum next month to implement the plan.

The BOC is under heavy pressure to meet its targets to enable the government to balance the budget this year as had been planned.

As of the first quarter of the year, the National Government incurred a budget deficit of P51.6 billion or P400 million lower than the P52 billion deficit recorded in the same period last year and P8.7 billion lower than the programmed deficit of P60.2 billion for the period.

Revenues in the first quarter increased by 6.8 percent to P253.5 billion from P237.3 billion recorded in the same period last year. This is also P4 billion higher or 1.6 percent above the revenue target for the period of P249.6 billion.

Of this amount, revenues generated by the BOC during the quarter went up by 21.5 percent to P48.9 billion from P40.2 billion, but short of the P51.8 billion target for the quarter by P2.9 billion or 5.6 percent.

In March, revenues of the BOC climbed 23.1 percent to P18.5 billion from P15 billion in the same period last year.
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