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Sicogon island to re-open with airport, jetty port, hotel

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MAKATI CITY — Remember beauty queen-turned actress Gloria Diaz and her movie "Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa (The Most Beautiful Animal on the Surface of the Earth)"?


The movie made the 1969 Miss Universe title holder as well as the beautiful place where it was shot on location.


The place is the over 1,000-hectare Sicogon Island in Carles, Iloilo, which for a time was equally famous if not more famous than the island resort of Boracay in Malay, Aklan.


In fact, it was called the playground of the rich and famous in the 1970s and the 1980s well known for its 4.3-hectare lagoon and a 5-kilometer coastline with pristine ivory sand.


After several years of hiatus, property developer Ayala Land decided to do something and with a master plan Sicogon is being re-launched with its joint venture partner, the Sicogon Island Development Corp. (SIDECO).


The group targets to open the "new" island this summer with its airport runway, jetty port and resort accommodation of a tourism estate, optimistic on the sustained growth of the tourism sector.


Junie Jalandoni, ALI Senior Vice President and head of Commercial Business Group, said the first phase of the Sicogon Island Tourism Estate development includes the completion of infrastructure and bed and breakfast accommodation.


“The first phase is essentially completing the infrastructure -- the jetty, the runway and hopefully that will be operational by summer. We are opening 20 rooms (accommodation) in Sicogon by summer so it can be already available for guests,” he said.


Jalandoni said the cost to build the 20-room resort accommodation reached P100 million, as they target to construct additional 80 rooms within the year.


He further said the tourism estate project also includes retail and other resorts.


“We are planning a Seda Sicogon which will be 250 rooms. We are planning a retail area, we are also inviting other locators like hostels, bed and breakfast, a three-star hotel,” said Jalandoni.


“The country is actually in very good situation right now, attracting a lot of tourism activities. Very exciting,” he added.


Apart from becoming a premier tourist destination and a tourism hub for the region, the 1,100-hectare Sicogon Island in Carles, Iloilo is envisioned to provide inclusive growth and economic development through long-term recovery and livelihood programs and job creation.


ALI earlier estimated that the Sicogon Island development will provide 20,000 jobs either directly or indirectly with increased tourism, and about P1 billion in earnings for the community through business opportunities that will come from the retail and commercial establishments.

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