Bicolandia is now more accessible thanks to the opening of the Bicol International Airport. Dubbed as the most scenic gateway, it took almost 12 years to complete its construction. This October 2021, it opens its runways to commercial aircrafts.
Photo from the Department of Transportation
The 148-hectare international airport includes a 2.5-kilometer runway strip, passenger and cargo terminal, air traffic control tower, and facilities for takeoffs and night-landing. It has a car park, a fire station, and many other facilities as well.
What to Expect at the Airport
The iconic Mayon Volcano serves as a backdrop for the airport which is located in Brgy, Alobo, Daraga, Albay. Vast tracts of farmlands surround the place. Passengers who don’t have means of transportation from and to the airport terminal can avail of the free shuttle service which is headed to the national highway.
Inside the terminal, passengers can tap the self-service kiosks for their check-ins and baggage handling. These allow faster processing. These are also useful during the pandemic as they limit face-to-face interactions.
The said advancements are similar to those included in the new terminal of the Clark International Airport. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines hired the same service provider after all.
Up to 2 million passengers per year are predicted to use the newly opened airport. In the meantime though, Bicol International Airport flights are exclusive to domestic travel.
In its first month of operation, all flights are also scheduled around the daytime. Night flights could be expected in November 2021. As for international flights, they will be available after the International Civil Aviation Organization’s review.
What Caused Construction Delays
The BIA isn’t the first airport in Region V. The offshore island provinces, Masbate and Catanduanes, have Virac Airport and Moises R. Espinosa Airport respectively. As for Bicol’s mainland, Naga Airport is serving domestic passengers.
Prior to the completion of the Bicol International Airport, Legazpi Airport also accommodated domestic flights from and to the region. However, the older airport would be shut down soon. Starting October 8, 2021, flights bound to the provincial capital’s airport would be rerouted to the one in Daraga.
This could have happened a long time ago. Several construction delays happened though. Pre-construction activities have been finished in 2008. Originally, the target year of completion was 2014, but it was moved to 2016 and later on, to 2018.
The past administrations took some time to grant key contracts for the project. This was seen as a factor in the delays.
In 2017, insurgents set fire on 11 heavy equipment used in the airport’s construction. This destruction further slowed down the project’s completion.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr), currently headed by Secretary Art Tugade, made a vow to finish the BIA’s construction this year. Last October 7, 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte himself led the inauguration of the airport.
What to Do in Bicol
With the opening of the Bicol International Airport, tourists from other provinces and from abroad have better access to the region’s natural wonders—the most popular of which is the Mayon Volcano. It’s pretty much instinctive to take a photo of the volcano with the perfect cone. However, there are other activities you can do and sights you have to see.
In Donsol, Sorsogon, you can swim alongside whale sharks or Butanding. For your summer getaways, you might also want to spend them in Caramoan, Calaguas Islands, or Misibis Bay. If you prefer something that’s not frequented by tourists, consider the Tikling Island, a hidden gem in Matnog, Sorsogon.
For the history lover, getting up close to the Cagsawa Ruins is one thing to do in Albay. The site is well-known for being a reminder of what the Mayon Volcano can do. You may also visit old churches like the Daraga Church and Naga Cathedral. Other historical sites in the region include Liberty Bell, Universidad de Sta. Isabel, and Bagatao Island Lighthouse.
If you’re into outdoor activities, you can ride an ATV in Legazpi City. You can also try wakeboarding in Pili, Camarines Sur.
The list won’t be complete without hiking. Along with a guide, you can head to Mt. Isarog and Mt. Pulog in Camarines Sur and Sorsogon respectively. In Albay, you can go to Mt. Binanderahan, Mt. Masaraga and Mt. Malinao. Unless the experts ban it, hiking to the Mayon Volcano is a must-try as well.
Don’t forget to go on a food trip. Contrary to its name, Bicol Express isn’t actually from the region. If there’s a representative food you should eat, it should be Laing. Munch and bring home pili nuts for your loved ones, too.
Kinunot, Kinalas, and Pancit Bato are other Bicolano dishes that one shouldn’t miss. For your sweet tooth, Linubak and Puto Bukayo await you.
Where to Stay
Transportation and accommodation are the essentials for travelers. The Bicol International Airport helps in the first aspect. As for accommodation, the hotels in various cities in Bicolandia can provide that. Beach resorts in coastal towns and islands grant that as well.
Once the Bicol International Airport flights increase, the region is expected to experience an economic boom. More travel-related businesses may be created. Aside from that, the flights can allow local traders to sell their goods outside in a cheaper and quicker way. They can also get raw materials from other regions for their products.
The possibilities are endless. If you’re the enterprising type, take advantage of the development, especially if you’re living in Bicol or intending to move there.
One of the opportunities you can grab is to provide services to travelers. This could be transport services within the towns or provinces in the region. You can also offer a room or house for rent if you have a property there.
If you want to settle down or spend months-long vacation in Bicol, consider investing in a real estate property in the region. Lessandra provides you with options of quality and affordable house and lots in Camarines Sur and Sorsogon. Check out Lessandra Pili for affordable house and lots it Camarines Sur, and Lessandra Sorsogon for affordable homes in Sorsogon and find the best property investment for you in Bicol.
The opening of the Bicol International Airport not only brings the region closer to other regions but also the opportunities it provide to locals and travelers alike.
Lessandra Blog is a compilation of lifestyle, community, and home-related articles. For real estate investment and tips on how to buy house and lots in the Philippines, visit Lessandra’s Lifestyle and Home Investments section. To know more about quality and affordable house and lots in the Philippines, give the property listing section a visit. Live in best, live in Lessandra.