|Pinaculan Treasure Island Resort Master Plan|
By: Bennie A. Recebido
SORSOGON CITY, June 28 (PIA) – Being determined to achieve the goal of Health, Education/Environment, Agriculture, Rural Development, Tourism and Shelter Program or simply H.E.A.R.T.S. Program, the provincial government of Sorsogon endorses projects that would advance economic development of the province and its constituents. One of which is the development of the Pinaculan Treasure Island Resort.
The development of the Pinaculan Treasure Island Resort is one of the priority projects identified by the Province of Sorsogon, which looks forward to stimulating economic growth in the area. The project is located in Barangays Talisay and Bitan-o-Dalipay in Sorsogon City. It is situated in a three-hectare quiet island off the shore of the Urban Capital within the Central Business District, right next to the existing Sorsogon City Baywalk (Rompeolas).
Pinaculan Island has a longitudinal distance of three hundred ninety-six (396) meters. The highest elevation is approximately eight (8) meters above sea-level. The distance of its tail to the mainland of Barangay Bitan-o-Dalipay is approximately eighty (80) meters and is connected during low tide. Its tadpole is about four hundred fifty-seven (457) meters to the port.
The project was already presented during the Regional Development Council (RDC) Full Council Meeting on June 7, 2013 at the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Office in Legaspi City which call for the RDC’s approval to include said venture in the Regional Investment Development Program (RIDP), and endorse its Phase II to the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) Center for feasibility study under the Project Development and Monitoring Fund.
Provincial Public Information Officer Von Andre Labalan said that tourism development is one of the major flagship programs of Sorsogon Governor Raul R. Lee, and now that he was again trusted by the Sorsoganons to govern the province of Sorsogon for another three years, Gov. Lee is more than resolute to carry out the goal under the H.E.A.R.T.S. Program.
“The development of Pinaculan Island, as a major tourism project complements the Sorsogon Waterfront Development Project as stated in Provincial Development Physical Framework Plan and Provincial Development and Investment Plan,” said PIO Labalan.
He further added that the task contributes equally to the realization of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III’s Ten-Point-Agenda on comprehensive growth and poverty reduction, and is in harmony with the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and the Bicol Regional Development Plan 2011-2016, which aims to promote private sector investments in new tourist destinations, predominantly on Eco-Tourism.
The Pinaculan Treasure Island Resort Project aspires to build up a resort that will cater to conventions, meetings, seminars, exhibits and other activities for day-tour guests. It has a total investment requirement of P160 Million to be implemented in two phases.
Phase I is a P30 Million LGU-funded project to be implemented by the Provincial Government of Sorsogon with the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) and Provincial Engineer’s Office (PEO) as the technical arm, and the Provincial Treasurer’s Office (PTO) and Provincial Budget Office (PBO) as the financial support within a period of two years of detailed planning, design and construction of road network, jetty with two-bay cruiser and swimming enclosure, as well as utilities structure.
Phase II will be a P130 Million Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project expected to be completed over a period of two years including planning, procurement and construction of facilities such as convention pavilion, nine duplex cabanas, 50-room hotel, Spanish lighthouse, sunken galleon resto-bar, infinity pool and bar, 10 units handicrafts village stalls, picnic forest and landscaping, white sand beach swimming enclosure, and seahorse floating resto grille with fish cage.
Pinaculan Island at sunset.
PIO Labalan recounted that aside from those who frequent the baywalk area that comes in hundreds early in the morning and in the afternoon, the project will also benefit tourists, domestic and foreign, hotel operators, handicraft industry and small business operators.
“While the province is blessed with three natural endowments like the whale shark in Donsol; the four-kilometer stretch powder-white sand in Rizal, Gubat, longer than the stations 1, 2 and 3 in Boracay Island in Aklan; and the Bulusan Mountain Lake, dubbed as the “Switzerland of the Orient”, tourists who come to Gubat and Bulusan are no more than spill over of those who come to Donsol. It is noteworthy that Donsol has already gained its international tourism record because of the whale shark inter-action. The challenge is to capture the market of Donsol to visit the Capital City and other attractions in the southern part of the province. The Pinaculan development project will keep the tourists travelling around and extending their stay in the province,” he explained.
He said that compared to other provinces in the Bicol Region, from year 2000 to 2012, Sorsogon carved up the lowest number of tourist arrivals with only 3.6% of the total. Nevertheless, the overall tourist arrivals in the province between the periods 2009 to 2010 significantly improved with a growth rate of 20.68%. But, foreign tourist arrivals declined by 15.33%, while local tourist arrivals increased to 43.73%.
“If the growth rate of 20.68% will be sustained, the province should be able to provide further tourist destinations and hotel accommodation,” he further added.
Based on interview with hotel operators in Sorsogon City, the average occupancy rate of nine (9) hotels is about 38.15% and the average stay is about two days. Two of the best hotels registered an occupancy rate of 60%.
At present, the growing Capital City of Sorsogon is short of leisure and recreation areas which are easily accessible, except for the short baywalk which already attracted hundreds of residents in nearby areas.
The Provincial Planning and Development Office meanwhile, explicates that the proposed project is financially viable with a positive net present value Php 17.84 Million, and 15.33 % financial internal rate of return, greater than the weighted 7.8 % average cost of capital.
The Economic Development Committee, in its meeting past May 9, 2013 recommended the inclusion of the project in the RIDP, and endorsement of Phase II of the project to the PPP Center for funding in preparation for a feasibility study under the Project Development and Monitoring Fund. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon/PPDO/Photos: VLabalan)