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Philippine President to lead groundbreaking of US$ 70-M island resort in Dinaran Island Coron, Palawan

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President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is expected to lead the groundbreaking ceremony of the US$ 70-million island resort project scheduled on March 25 in Dinaran Island, Coron in northern Palawan.

This was disclosed by Victoria Mendoza, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Palawan manager.

Board Member and Philippine Councilor’s League (PCL)-Palawan president Jim Gerald Pe, who hails from Coron, also confirmed President Arroyo’s attendance in the groundbreaking of the island resort by the Singaporean firm Banyan Tree Holdings Limited (Banyan Tree) on the said date.

Banyan Tree Group is a leading Singaporean developer, designer and operator of top tier resorts, hotels and spas worldwide.

The group plans to develop two resorts on the island, each of which will retain a secluded and intimate ambiance due to the island’s size and terrain with a total development cost of around 70 million US dollars.

The entire project is targeted for completion in 2010.

The 55-hectare uninhabited Dinaran island is surrounded by stretches of white-sand beach which is just 15 minutes away by speedboat from the thriving town of Coron.

President Arroyo is looking forward to more tourism and economic activities in Palawan because of the opening of the P150-million Francisco Reyes airport located in the town’s Busuanga island last November.

The airport encourages more local and foreign tourists and traders to visit the northern part of Palawan, known for its pristine beaches and dive sports.

It was noted that tourist traffic to Palawan has tripled since the rehabilitation of Busuanga airport was started in 2007.

The airport project in Palawan is part of government’s efforts to enhance the tourism industry in Central Philippines, one of the super regions, to create more employment and sustain economic growth in the country.

Nowadays, Coron is undoubtedly the emerging tourism star because of its islands that abound in natural wonders which serve as year-round attractions for visitors.

The town is known as “Asia’s Diving Capital” because of its 26 World War II vintage Japanese shipwrecks, numerous caves which house rare Philippine birds that build nests called “balinsasayaw” and the island-hopping adventure offered by 219 islands and islets with white sand beaches, among others.

Palawan officials are optimistic the tourism boom will continue as a number of infrastructure facilities are built in this town with the opening of the P150-million Busuanga airport.

Busuanga, likewise, is popular as a zoo without bars as it is home to both African animals and Palawan’s endemic creatures.

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