ILOILO CITY Development and Tourism:
Development Updates

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Drilon cites Aquino support in Development of Iloilo

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon credited President Benigno S. Aquino III as well as the unified local leadership that anchors on good governance for the various projects coming into this city.

“He supported us because he knew we are executing the projects here consistent with public interest without a single centavo of the public work project being pocketed by the officials by the city and the province,” Drilon said.

The Ilonggo senator likewise emphasized that the development in Iloilo is a proof that when they work together along with good governance “we can move a city forward.”

Meantime, Drilon over the weekend’s topping off ceremony of the Iloilo City Center (ICC) few days ago expressed his appreciation to business magnate Edmund Gaisano Sr. for the confidence in putting up his group of companies’ biggest investment in this city.

“Few more years and we will beat Cebu in terms of economic development.”
“You did not make a mistake incoming here to develop this ICC,” Drilon said.

Drilon said that Gaisano was one of those who expressed confidence to Iloilo City and his building a center here is an reiteration of his confidence to this city’s economy.

“I am making my little contributions for ICC, for Iloilo City and for the Ilonggos,” Gaisano said.

Aside from the ICC, which is a 16-hectare mixed use development in the heart of the city, also fast-rising are developments by the Megaworld Corporation, Ayala and homegrown businessman Rogelio Florete

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ilonggos to have a glimpse of Korean culture through Anseong Baudeogi Festival

For the first time in the history of the Dinagyang Festival, spectators will be treated to a performance of a dance troupe from Anseong City's Baudeogi Festival in South Korea.

Some 20 members of the Anseong Municipal Namsadang Baudeugi Pungmuldan Troupe are now in Iloilo as guest performers during the Ati-ati tribes competition of the Dinagyang Festival on Sunday January 24, 2016.

The dance troupe was formed in an effort to preserve the tradition in Anseong, the home to Namsa, dang. Its performance provides an opportunity for everyone to better understand Korean culture through Namsadangnori, according to the Dinagyang Festival organizer.

The performance by a group from the Baudeogi Festival is a result of the signing of a Friendly City relation between the Anseong City and Iloilo City last year. In October last year, the Iloilo City sent its Dinagyang Festival to perform at the Anseong Baudeogi Festival. The delegation from South Korea is led by Mayor Hwang, EunSeong.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

(UPDATE): Welcoming 10 cruise ships this year in Western Visayas

The Department of Tourism (DOT-6) said Western Visayas is set to welcome 10 international cruise ships this year.

Lawyer Helen J. Catalbas, regional director of DOT-6, said MS Celebrity Millennium, carrying 2,138 passengers and 290 crew members, is scheduled to dock in Boracay Island on January 26.

On January 28, MS Nautica, ferrying 600 passengers, will visit the region.

Other international cruise vessels are the following:

MS Costa Victoria – January 29
Silver Seas Voyage – February 13
MS Silver Shadow – March 4
Insignia – April 18
SS Sapphire Princess – June 20
Legend of the Seas – September. 24
Hanseatic – October 8
Pacific Venus – November 9

According to Catalbas, there are already cruise ships that scheduled to arrive in the region next year and in 2018. These include the following:

Seabourn Sojourn – January 28, 2017 and March 22, 2018
MS Celebrity Constellation – February 14, 2017 and March 14, 2017
MS Crystal Symphony – February 28, 2017
MS Crystal Serenity – March 10, 2018

Catalbas said they are planning to construct a port for cruise ships this year.
The Iloilo City International Port in Barangay Loboc, La Paz district and another in northern Iloilo are being eyed for the project.

The regional director said they are just waiting for the recommendation of foreign cruise consultants who came here to make an assessment of the commercial port in Loboc and other potential facility.

“We are excited to know if which part of Western Visayas is feasible and have greater opportunity to be developed,” she said.

Before the plan rolls out, DOT will have to engage the local government unit (LGU) and other stakeholders through a consultation to get their opinion on the utilization of their ports for visiting cruise ships.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

(UPDATE): Cruise ship terminal to open in Iloilo City...

  • DOT Region 6 bares plan to construct a cruise ship terminal in Iloilo City
  • The project will be a joint venture between local investors and foreign cruise company
  • The DOT is expecting an increase in cruise ship tourists this year 2016

Iloilo City could soon be home to a cruise ship terminal in Western Visayas after the Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 6 bared plan that Royal Caribbean Cruise is willing to enter a joint venture with local investors for the construction of the project.

Regional Director Atty. Helen Catalbas disclosed that Royal Caribbean Cruise is looking for destination that would accommodate some 4,500 to 6,000 guests.

At present, Boracay island can only cater to around 3,000. Catalbas added that representatives from the foreign cruise company has visited the city and has considered the Iloilo City International Port in Loboc, Lapaz and another location in the northern Iloilo as potential home to the cruise terminal.

“We are excited to know if which part of Western Visayas is feasible and have greater opportunity to be developed,”. As part of their preparation, Catalbas said the agency will be conducting a series of training sessions and seminars to improve the skills of workers who will be tapped in the cruise service.

Among those who will have to undergo training, the DOT official noted, include tourism personnel of local government units, taxi operators and drivers, front liners, technical marketing persons, and tour guides.

“We will do things indoor through trainings,”explained Catalbas. Last year, the country welcomed 40,000 cruise passengers and the DOT is expecting the number to increase to 50,000 this year.

Tourism Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon, Jr estimated that a 2,000-passenger cruise ship calling on a Manila port could generate as much as $250,000 in revenue, while “turning around a ship of the same capacity between voyages” would generate some P1.2-M. Aside from Ilolio City and Boracay, DOT is also eyeing the ports in Subic in Zambales and Puerto Princesa in Palawan as another potential location for ocean passenger terminals.

“If we are going to upgrade or develop new ports, we must make sure they satisfy the minimum requirement for big ships,” Bengzon said; adding that a group of consultants has prepared a recommendation for the Philippines under the National Cruise Tourism Development Strategy.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cruise ship terminal soon in Iloilo

Luxurious cruise ships will soon be common sight in Iloilo as Department of Tourism (DOT) is planning to build a terminal for large fleet this 2016.

DOT-6 regional director Atty. Helen Catalbas said that they are targeting the Iloilo City International Port in Loboc, Lapaz and another one in northern Iloilo for the project.

Catalbas revealed that they are just waiting for the recommendation of foreign cruise consultants who came here to make an assessment of the commercial port in Loboc and other potential facility.

“We are excited to know if which part of Western Visayas is feasible and have greater opportunity to be developed,” she said.

However, prior the plan will be pushed, they still have to engage the local government unit (LGU) and other stakeholders to a consultation to get their opinion on the utilization of their port for visiting cruise ships.

Cruise ships during their call usually stay from six to 12 hours. The regional director disclosed that the Royal Caribbean is looking for a destination that could cater 4,500 to 6,000 guests.

Even Boracay Island can only accommodate 3,000, she said. The Royal Caribbean she added is even interested to partner with a private investor or local government unit in the establishment of a port.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Iloilo to attract big ticket investors

The provincial government expects to attract large-ticket and capital-intensive investments from local and abroad in 2016 with the approval of a comprehensive and responsive Iloilo Provincial Investment and Incentives Code.

The amended investment and incentives code approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan during their last session on Dec. 9 provides real property tax exemption to either new or expanding enterprises at a gradual rate within ten years of its commercial operation.

The tax incentive for registered enterprise here is in addition to privileges provided by the Local Government Code of 1991, Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 and Omnibus Investment Code and other pertinent laws.

The amendment is in response to Governor Arthur Defensor Sr.’s call to enhance the said ordinance to further promote Iloilo as a favorable investment destination in Philippines during his fifth State of the Province Address (SOPA) last Oct. 27, 2015.

“This is a realization of the governor's policy statement articulated in his last SOPA with the end in view of establishing economic zones in the province to generate more employment opportunities, more revenues, and alleviates [our people from] poverty,” said Provincial Administrator Raul Banias.

This will also provide a more stable environment to our investors as they start their operations. “We all know that new investments bring in fresh money to the local economy through jobs they create thus spurring economic activities and businesses to grow and thrive,” said Defensor.

The amended investment code applies to all direct investments in the province, including local and foreign, and resident and non-resident, but excluding portfolio investments. Portfolio investments are defined as cross border transactions and positions involving debt or equity securities, other than included in direct investment or reserve assets.

Aside from extending the period of availment of the incentives to 10 years, the other amendments feature the Powers and Functions of the Local Economic Development & Investment Promotion Center, the provision on Employment Preference for Ilonggos and the detailed Registration Requirements of those who will avail of the incentives.

Since the establishment of the Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion Unit late last year, a number of interested investors have been served, some of which are now in the feasibility study stage, according to Local Economic and Investment Promotion Officer Velma Jane Lao of the Provincial Planning and Development Office.

With all this development, Lao believed that the amended investment code will influence the investment decisions of local and foreign investors in agri-business, tourism-oriented enterprises, manufacturing, property development, information and communications technology or business process outsourcing, and services-oriented enterprises.