Clark, Pampanga Philippines Bike Paths Grow

Photo Courtesy CDC

Clark Development Corporation (CDC) is committed to motorless transportation options. This is evidenced by their ongoing development of paved bicycle pathways throughout the area.

The ongoing installation of bike lanes inside the Clark Freeport, was enhanced in July of 2021 with a new section to New Clark City. This project adds 7.96 kilometers of asphalt bike paths with markings and a reinforced concrete bike bridge as part of the buildout.

The company’s Engineering Services Group (ESG) – Construction Management Division (CMD) prioritized this bike lane project, which is considered Phase 3 and named the “New Clark City Non-Motorized Transport System to Clark Freeport Zone (NCCNMTSCFZ).”  The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) provided funding and support for the project.

The project, according to the CDC, aims to establish the Freeport as a green, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly area, keeping in line with the goals of making Clark and New Clark City a modern, progressive, and clean environment.

The C.M. Recto Avenue and Creekside Road intersection, the Panday Pira Avenue rotunda, the Mabalacat Gate, the Marcos Village in this Freeport, and the stretch of Gil Puyat Avenue to Prince Balagtas Avenue are all covered by the bike lanes.

The bike path project’s Phase 1 was finished in 2019; the second, Phase 2, was finished in February 2021.

The Cross-Country path (CXC path) and the Biker’s Pit Stop are two additional bicycle-related projects that CDC finished in 2022. The initiatives immediately rose to the top of the list of frequent stops for passionate cyclists, both professional and amateur riders.

In the first half of 2023, CDC also finished a P21.9 million bike lane project inside the freeport. This project features two-meter-wide bike lanes at seven-kilometers along M.A. Roxas Highway. This is equivalent to 12,922 square meters of additional bike path. Protective bollards were constructed to separate from motor vehicles, to safeguard cyclists traveling along M.A. Roxas Highway.

With this project, the main goal of the CDC is to finish the bike path loop that interconnects Clark Freeport’s main gate, Mabalacat gate, and Friendship gate.

Clark is quickly becoming the go-to clean and safe bicycle enthusiast destination in the Philippines. Numerous cyclists and exercise enthusiasts are now using these bike lanes to commute to and from work, go for a bite to eat or just get some exercise. Many out-of-towner haul their prized two-wheeled motion machines to the Freeport for the weekend staying at a Clark hotel on vacation to enhance their stay and to keep in shape on their trip. Additionally, the Freeport has health and safety regulations in place to help protect the safety of exercise and cycling aficionados.

Members of the CDC Board of Directors, executives, and authorities have indicated tremendous support for these projects. The program’s objectives include encouraging a healthy lifestyle while boosting local tourism.  The Philippine Sports Tourism Awards named the freeport the top sports destination of the year for 2015 and 2019.

According to CDC President and CEO Manuel Gaerlan, the CDC is now developing additional infrastructure projects aimed at bicycles and recreational riders. “Our work goes beyond infrastructure development. We are always making improvements, adding bike lanes and pit stops, cross-country trails, kid-friendly beginner trails, and other amenities that will make Clark more biker-friendly,” according to Gaerlan. CDC management is working to create a world-class freeport with connectivity being one of their top priorities.

CDC also created “Clark Bike Days,” a program for anyone wishing to tour scenic areas inside this Freeport. Every Saturday and Sunday, there are “bike days” that run from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to enjoy a clean cycling environment within an environment that has better air quality, traffic controls and an all-around safe and sane experience, then Clark is your destination. While you are bicycling around Clark, you have ample opportunities to enjoy a great meal at a Clark Restaurant, stop off at an amusement or water park or have a cold one with friends along the path or your choice.

South Korea’s HD Hyundai Heavy Industries May be Expanding Its Shipbuilding Business in Subic Bay

Image of Subic Port is not an accurate a rendition

June 6, 2023 – HD Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea intends to grow its ship-related business in Subic Bay, Philippines. In May 2023, the Philippine government said Hyundai is involved in discussions to expand its current ship repair and maintenance operations to include heavy shipbuilding manufacturing services.

As of this writing, according to Wikipedia, Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea is number three in the list of shipbuilding firms throughout the world.  China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation is number one with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at number two.

Hyundai Heavy Industries recently revealed its ambitious plans to increase its ship-related operations in Subic Bay, Philippines. This action not only shows Hyundai Heavy Industries’ dedication to global expansion in the ship building sector, but also indicates the company is aware of the strategic benefits Subic provides to this business model. With its long maritime history and great geographic setting, Subic Bay offers the business the opportunity to make a significant impact in Southeast Asia.

The Philippine Island of Luzon is home to Subic Bay, which has a longstanding reputation as a top nautical hub and U.S. Naval installation. With its deep waters, the bay is well suited for harboring huge ships like bulk carriers, tankers, and cargo ships. Additionally, Subic Bay is strategically close to important international shipping lanes, making it a desirable location for ship repair operations and shipbuilding.

The expansion plans for Hyundai Heavy Industries at Subic Bay are anticipated to cover a variety of its ship-related commercial operations. To meet the increasing demand for shipbuilding and repair services in the area, the company plans to establish new shipyards and facilities, including dry docks and repair yards. This action is in line with Hyundai Heavy Industries’ objective to diversify its business and increase its marketability internationally.

The existing Subic shipyard was taken over by a private equity firm from the U.S. called Cerberus Capital Management after the previous shipbuilder Hanjin Group’s bankruptcy at the Subic site. Reports indicate that Cerberus has invested $40 million in upgrades and repairs to the existing yard to make it viable and operational once again.

Recently, Philippines President Marcos Jr. met with Cerberus executives, and its chairman, former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle.  Cerberus executives reportedly briefed Marcos about the Hyundai Heavy Industries plans for the yard. According to reports from Cerberus, it appears Hyundai is showing interest in two existing dry docks at the existing location and is making plans to move in to by the end of the 2023.  The President’s office issued a release that said, Hyundai’s expanded operation could create 5,000 to 15,000 jobs, without mentioning what kind of vessels will be built.

If this pans out, significant economic benefits will result from the development of Subic Bay for the Philippines and South Korea. The investment made in the area by Hyundai Heavy Industries will create job opportunities, draw in skilled employees, and strengthen the local economy. The Philippines will benefit from the transfer of technology and knowledge from Hyundai Heavy Industries as it works to strengthen its maritime sector and increase its share of the world shipbuilding market.

South Korea has long been one of the Philippines’ top trading partners. This shipyard expansion should significantly boost the Philippines and South Korea’s current economic relations. The engagement between Hyundai Heavy Industries and neighborhood businesses in Subic Bay will further strengthen bilateral commerce and investment between the two nations. This alliance will not only help strengthen the shipbuilding sector, but promote and increase other local industries like logistics, travel, Subic Bay hotels and resorts, Subic bay theme parks, recreational facilities, golf courses, entertainment, and other services.

Along with the financial benefits, Hyundai Heavy Industries’ growth in Subic Bay is in line with the global trend of environmentally benign and sustainable maritime operations. The business has been at the forefront of creating ship technologies that are more environmentally friendly, such as building LNG-powered vessels. Hyundai Heavy Industries will be able to support the Philippines’ initiatives to promote sustainable shipping and lower carbon emissions in its waterways thanks to this experience.

The expansion plans could, however, encounter issues that need to be resolved. To support the expanded shipbuilding activity, infrastructure improvements, such as bettering road connectivity and port facilities, will be essential. To satisfy the increasing demand for trained personnel, it will also be crucial to guarantee the availability of skilled labor and promote technical education in the area.

Finally, Hyundai Heavy Industries’ choice to increase its ship-related operations in Subic Bay, Philippines, demonstrates its commitment to bolstering its worldwide presence and utilizing the strategic benefits the area provides. The action is a win-win helping promote sustainable practices in the maritime sector and economically benefiting both South Korea and the Philippines. This project has the potential to turn Subic Bay once again into a vibrant shipbuilding and repair hub in Southeast Asia with proper planning and cooperation.

New Option for Flights from North America to Clark Philippines Via Taipei Taiwan

June 5, 2023 – North American travelers can now fly with STARLUX Airlines on new routes to Clark Philippines, through Taipei Taiwan.

Travelers from North America now have a fresh and practical choice for getting to the gorgeous location of Clark and the Central Luzon region of the Philippines. A fast-expanding Taiwanese airline, STARLUX Airlines, has announced the beginning of new flights connecting North America with Clark via Taipei. This new development creates a wealth of chances for tourists looking to discover the Philippines’ stunning natural beauty and rich cultural legacy.

STARLUX Airlines has built a solid reputation for providing great service, using cutting-edge aircraft, and putting the needs of its customers first. They hope to give visitors from North America traveling to Clark a smooth and comfortable travel experience with the launch of these additional flights.

Clark has progressively become a preferred destination for many travelers not anxious to fight Manila traffic in the heat and humidity of the big city.

Currently, STARLUX flies out of Los Angeles to Taipei but later in 2023 it plans on adding San Francisco as a new destination for its flights. A short layover in Taipei will be convenient for travelers, allowing them to take advantage of the airline’s many amenities and in some cases, discover the dynamic Taiwanese capital before heading on to Clark and the Philippines.

The enhanced connectivity that this route provides is one of its main benefits. Clark, as most Central Luzon residents know, is a growing premier gateway to some of the Philippines’ most well-known tourist attractions. Travelers may reach the breathtaking beaches of Boracay, the cultural landmarks of Manila, and the natural marvels of Palawan with ease from the Clark Airport by air or road in many cases.

The Airbus A321neo aircraft from STARLUX Airlines’ cutting-edge fleet will fly the flights to Clark. These cutting-edge aircraft are outfitted with the newest technology, a wider cabin, more fuel efficient engines, guaranteeing passengers a more comfortable flight. Travelers can unwind and enjoy their flight thanks to the roomy seating, available for a reasonable price, Wi-Fi connectivity and in-seat entertainment systems.

Starlux Airlines has in-flight entertainment systems its flights. The system is called STARLUX SKYBOX and it offers a wide selection of movies, TV shows, music, and games. Passengers can access the system using their own devices or by using the seatback touchscreens. The STARLUX SKYBOX system is available in all cabins, including Economy Class. The system is free to use for all passengers and most passengers find it intuitive and easy to use.

Along with providing an outstanding in-flight experience, STARLUX Airlines is renowned for its attentive and welcoming cabin staff. The airline takes great pleasure in offering excellent customer service, making sure that travelers are well-looked-after at all times. Travelers can count on nothing less than the best service from the minute they board until they arrive at their destination.

In addition, STARLUX Airlines has put in place strict health and safety procedures to safeguard passengers in the face of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The airline employs stringent sanitization procedures, offers plenty of personal protective equipment, and whenever practical, promotes social seclusion. Knowing that the number one priority is the well-being of the passengers gives them confidence.

Travelers from North America now have a wonderful opportunity to see the beauty and charm of the Philippines thanks to the new flights to Clark, Philippines via Taipei. Everyone may find something to enjoy in Clark and its surroundings, whether they want to unwind on pristine beaches, learn more about a rich cultural past, or go on thrilling outdoor experiences throughout the incredible archipelagos of the Philippines.

Travelers can anticipate an amazing trip because to STARLUX Airlines’ dedication to offering great service, practical routes, and newer technology, top-notch aircraft. North American travelers can take advantage of these additional flights to discover the delights of the Philippines with convenience and comfort as the airline continues to broaden its reach and connect more destinations.

In conclusion, the new STARLUX Airlines flights from Taipei to Clark, Philippines, are a game-changer for tourists from North America. There are countless options to discover the Philippines’ alluring beauty and rich cultural legacy thanks to this easy, practical and well-connected route. STARLUX Airlines is positioned to become a top option for visitors looking for a memorable and stress-free trip to Clark thanks to its first-rate customer service and cutting-edge aircraft.

Current Flights to and from Clark to Taipei (Check with airline for accuracy and changes)

Flight NumberRouteWeekly ScheduleDeparture TimeArrival Time
JX789Taipei – Clark (TPE – CRK)TUE, THU, FRI, SUN07:4509:45
JX790Clark – Taipei (CRK – TPE)10:4512:45
JX791Taipei – Clark (TPE – CRK)MON, WED, SAT17:2519:25
JX792Clark – Taipei (CRK – TPE)20:2522:25

EVA Airways New Flights to Clark International

December 30, 2022 – EVA Airways (EVA Air), a Taiwanese airline, announced on Thursday that it will start operating direct flights on March 30 of next year between Taoyuan, Taiwan’s largest airport, and Clark International Airport in the Philippines.

EVA Air will operate an impressive number of flights totaling 35 flights a week between Taiwan and the Philippines after the carrier begins offering the service in the coming year 2023.

According to a press announcement from the airline, EVA Air will operate once-daily flights using an Airbus A321-200 between Taoyuan International Airfield and the Philippine airport inside the Clark Freeport Zone.

This new and exciting flight option for travel out of the Philippines are scheduled to depart Taoyuan at 9 a.m. and arrive at Clark at 11 a.m. The return flight will leave the Philippines at 12 p.m. and land in Taiwan at 2 p.m.

The opening of the Taoyuan-Clark route will help reduce the amount of time that people from northern Luzon must travel to Manila before taking a flight to Taiwan,. Clark International Clark International Airport is around 80 kilometers from Manila.

According to EVA Air, this new route will also relieve congestion on the congested Taoyuan-Manila route and may even encourage more transit travelers to change aircraft in Taiwan on route to locations in Europe and North America.

Clark International airport currently has a contemporary, spacious terminal building with all the services you could want, replacing the old and claustrophobic facilities of the past. The airport offers a range of culinary options as well as relaxing seating places, so you can have a quick bite to eat or relax before your departure.

But improvements go further than that. In order to improve the efficiency and smoothness of the travel experience, the airport has also used cutting-edge technologies. There are automated baggage drop-off locations and self-service kiosks that enable travelers to check in and print their own boarding tickets, making the process of checking luggage simple.

Subic Bay Philippines Designated Crew Change Port Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Cruise Ship Docking

Ships carrying passengers and cargo are continually afloat in the sea lanes of the world.  These behemoths of transportation need crews to service and maintain them and their passengers and cargo. Filipinos have historically filled a large contingent of these marine seafaring positions throughout the world.  In fact, Filipinos account for the largest assembly of seafarers in the world.

Philippine Transportation Secretary Authur Dugade recently said: ?It is my hope for the Philippines to become a major international hub for crew change.? In the last four months alone, 734 ships have set anchor in the Port of Manila for the purpose of crew change. The Philippines is looking at becoming the largest international crew change player in the world. Besides Manila, the country has added three additional ports to help see this dream to fruition.  Panila, Capinpin and our beloved Subic Bay are all included in the government?s designation as crew change ports.  Additional ports that include Cebu, Davao and Batangas are also on the list for future consideration. 

It is hoped that the hospitality industry along with the maritime and seafaring industries will be advanced by embracing the crew change port concept.

There is one problem though, for this hope to come to fruition, the Philippines had to change the way it did things. As it turned out, the country has had one of the strictest and longest running lockdowns for the coronavirus pandemic.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, 300,000 ship crew members were stranded at sea.  To speed up crew change and to help minimize the spread of the disease, the Philippine government created the Green Lane guidelines. Senior government officials signed the agreement in July of 2020 in Manila. Green Lane provides guidelines for safe and quick disembarkation for thousands of Filipino and foreign sailors within its framework.  This framework applies to both inbound and outbound sailors.

Japan counts on Filipinos for about 75% of its shipping crew requirements. Numerous Japanese-controlled ships have been sent to the Philippines to carry out crew changes during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Japanese have quickly adopted the Philippines Green Lane protocols for crew change. 

Officials in the maritime industry are calling for a global approach for seafarers from around the world by adopting a common digital quarantine pass system using blockchain to implement a high-tech contact tracing system for the seafarers. Once all the countries agree on and implement this common protocol, it will help instill confidence in airlines and ports for allowing more fluid and certain crew changes.  Qatar Airways stated it has capacity to fly three times daily to destinations in the Philippines. It is currently awaiting approval from the Philippines aviation authorities for the extra flight slots.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed all our lives and caused us to make drastic changes in the way we live life. This is a learning process for all of us. The implementation of governmental and personal policies is crucial not only for the control of this pandemic, but also for the control of the next one that could quite possibly be right around the corner.

Viral infections seem to be on the rise.  Since the beginning of the century, we have lived through SARS, Bird Flu, MERS, H1N1, Ebola and now Covid-19. As we continue to learn and grow through these, let us not forget what we have learned as we are build on our previous lessons in our approach to the viral infections of the future.  

Besides the new crew change designation, Subic Bay is becoming increasingly crucial to the economy of our country in a myriad of ways.  The ability for us to maintain a vibrant economy during pandemics is directly tied to governmental policy, protocols, and procedures.  We as investors, are thankful for the government?s implementation of these standards as we grow towards the future. 


Philippine Backpacking Adventures

The Philippines offers More to Explore than Clark and Subic

So, you are looking for unspoiled beauty, fun and adventure in the Philippines huh? Well, there is no better place to experience Mother Nature?s wonder than the nation of over 7000 islands.  There are so many wonderful beaches, jungles and forested areas that will keep most backpackers busy for a lifetime.  The choices are so vast for Philippine backpack adventurers that the biggest problem you will have is deciding which areas to visit. 

In this article we are going to focus mainly on the pristine beaches of the Philippines as launching grounds for fantastic backpacking adventures. The numerous and world-famous beaches of the Philippines are cherished summer refuges for hardworking and exhausted city folks.  The summer season for Filipino?s means laying in a hammock, drinking some beer and falling asleep under the balmy summer air while listening to the ocean waves.   

Individuals from around the world have transformed otherwise remote and unknown places 20 years ago such as Boracay and Palawan into well-known tourist havens.  Many Incredible white sand beach areas and turquoise blue lagoons now have mega resort facilities that include bustling hotel complexes, bars and restaurants.

Since we are going to be profiling mostly remote and pristine beaches, it is best to be aware of some preparatory points prior to making your trip. Below we have compiled a list of what we have found to be important considerations to make your trip more enjoyable and safe.

  • If you are a backpacker, I?m sure you are used to hauling in the necessary survival items and realize the limitations of remote islands and beaches.  If you are a newbie, then you?ll want to carefully consider the following.  Most of these beaches are remote and are not close to an SM Super Mall or even a sari-sari store.  It is always best to take along all of the basic amenities you will need.  A well planned trip is always a nicer experience.
  • Always remember the camping and backpacking essentials including but not limited to: swimsuits, snorkeling gear, high SPF sunblock lotion, insect repellent, flashlights, portable radio, cellphone, Sterno, canteen, water purification tablets, portable ultraviolet filter system, high-energy snacks.
  • Figure out the available accommodations in the area such as rental huts/bungalows, hostels or other basic shelter from the elements. Do this prior to leaving in order to know if you will need to bring a lightweight tent, hammock and sleeping bags or not.  While these items will add weight and bulk, if your chosen Philippine beach is dozens of kilometers from even the simplest of facilities, you?ll be glad you have the added items.
  • Many first time backpackers don?t prepare adequately for the disposal of their cans and bottles, food wrappers, paper towels and other trash items. Remember, we are all guests on this planet and need to pass it on to the next generation in the same or better condition we found it.  Never litter and always haul your trash items out with you.
  • There may be local indigenous people or others peddlers in some of these remote areas simply trying to make a living.  They may offer food items or handmade items for sale.  While some backpackers may find these people a source of irritation, they can also prove to be lifesavers for ill-prepared backpackers.  They also are great to help you find your way back to civilization if you get lost.  It usually is a good idea to patronize these individuals in order to help them maintain their livelihood and ensure they are there to help the next group of forlorn backpackers.
  • Lighting large and out of control bonfires can be very dangerous on a remote beach where you are away from medical services. While it is not recommended to set a fire directly on the sand, it is generally recommended to contain the bonfire in some sort of tray or within a boundary of stones and rocks.
  • If you will be using land or sea transportation for travel to your backpacking spot, we have found it is very important to do some research prior to leaving. Public transportation in these remote areas is very limited and many times non-existent.  Try to figure out bus, boat, jeepney and tricycle availability and/or schedules and routes prior to your trip. It is always better to actually talk with someone who has made the same trip you are planning to get a better idea of available transportation means.
  • Meteorologists can literally be lifesavers when making a trip to a remote location. As much as possible review weather forecasts from PAGASA for the area you?ll be backpacking in.  The internet is very helpful nowadays in this regard. Never follow-through on a remote backpacking adventure if a typhoon or tropical storm is on the horizon.

A Few Incredible Backpacking Beaches of the Philippines

Below you will find a list of some great, pristine beaches that provide eye-popping scenery, clear waters and fantastic hiking experiences.  Venture forth and explore the wealth of Philippine beaches. 

Camarines Norte’s Calaguas Island

As far as remote beaches go, this is one of our favorites with wonderful fine white sand and crystal clear waters. Electricity on this remote island is limited to generators and there is no cell reception nor internet 4G data.  Load up your phone or MP-3 player and don?t forget the ear buds if you must be connected to media during this trip.  There are plenty of tour services and guides offering day tours, and multi-day excursions.  If you prefer the guided excursion over trekking it yourself, then these companies are ready to take you and your friends exploring for an experience you?ll not soon forget. Besides your hiking activities, you can also island-hop, bird-watch, fish, play active games such as Frisbee or  or just lay in your hammock dreaming away the day. If you are going to be on a self-exploring adventure without a tour company, you?ll need to bring lots of your own food and supplies as the sari-sari stores on this remote island are limited and the supplies are not well stocked.

Getting to Calaguas Island

If leaving from Manila it is an 8-hour bus ride to Daet, Camarines Norte. From there, take an approximate 20 minute jeepney ride to Vinzons.  Where there ask your driver to drop you off at the port area. There you?ll find boat service to Calaguas, approximately a 2 hour trip.  

Palaui Island, Anguib Cove (also known as Cagayan Province?s Boracay of the North)

Palaui Island is at the extreme north end of the island of Luzon along the eastern side. The island is relatively close to the Luzon shore only requiring a 30 minute boat ride. But Palaui is relatively untouched and simply fantastic for its rugged, remote beauty. It is reminiscent of a Hawaiian island with its fantastic white sands and volcanic rocks.  The blue/green waters will enchant you as you prepare to go diving in the coral gardens immersed in the wealth of rich marine reserves just below the surface. Palaui is truly raw, unadulterated beauty. No one said it was going to be easy though. Getting to some of the island?s more remote spots such as Anguib Cove require extra effort as you need to trudge through muddy terrain, thorny grass, and even a mangrove forest.  If you are looking for comfort and amenities you are in the wrong place.  Here you will NOT find fancy resorts and hotels.  In fact there are no lodging facilities as of the writing of this article. The only options on the island are to bring your pup-tent, sleep under the stars or arrange a stay at a local?s home.  But once you are setup you can snorkel to your heart?s content, sunbath, fish, hike and visit Cape Engano on the extreme north end of the island where you?ll find an old Spanish lighthouse. There are several coves to explore, these include Siwangag Cove, Engano Cove and Anguib Cove that many compare to Boracay?s White Beach. Bask on the incredible white sand beach while you recharge as you relax, explore and soak-in of the beauty. If you plan on staying overnight you will need to ask permission from the tourism officer located at San Vicente port area prior to leaving Luzon.

Getting to Palaui Island: 

As Palaui Island is in the extreme north of the country, it is best to take a plane from Manila to Tuguegarao City. This is as close as you can get to Palaui by commercial plane.  The flight will take approximately 1 hour. Then you will need to take a bus or van from Tuguegarao City to Santa Ana. You?ve still got a ways to go so you are looking at approximately 4 hours of bus ride from Tuguegarao City.  Be cautioned that typically the last van going to the Santa Ana, Cagayan area leaves Tuguegarao at around 5pm. So plan accordingly. You will need to take a boat from the Santa Ana area to Palaui Island. As mentioned above, this is only a 30 minutes trip. Once on the island, if you want to go all the way to the extreme north area of Cape Engano, it will take you approximately 3.5 to 4 hours of hiking from the boat drop-off point at Punta Verde which is located at the southeast tip of Palaui Island. Guides are available for a reasonable price to help you find your way to the northern parts.

Pandan Island and the Apo Reef of Mindoro

For the full-fledged dive enthusiast there are few places that compare to Mindoro?s Pandan Island. The nearby Apo Reef has gained worldwide acclaim as a dive spot extraordinaire.  You can swim with giant sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, barracudas and many variations of colorful and unique fish and coral reefs; you?ll think you arrived in heaven. Even if you are not an avid diver, the rock formations along the coast are some of the most interesting you?ll find anywhere. Colorful exotic birds are singing their songs of beauty as you rest from the hustle and bustle of city life. Ditch the car, cellphone and computers and get in touch with nature in a way you may have never experienced.  You can also explore the Jungle Rivers of nearby Mindoro by kayak and take a trip to the coastal village of Sablayan where fishermen and the town-people are always friendly and love to greet visitors. You may be able to leave the tents behind on this adventure as you?ll be able to find bungalow accommodations starting at some very reasonable rates at the Pandan Island Resort. There are numerous beach resorts in the Sablayan area on the large island of Mindoro prior to taking the boat to Pandan Island.  Rental boats and camping gear is available at the municipal tourism office in Sablayan.  They will even arrange for food and beverage for groups while on Pandan Island. Do your Internet homework on this one prior to embarking on a trip and make necessary arrangements.

Getting to Pandan Island

It?s most convenient for most to take an aircraft when traveling to this magical island. Once you land you?ll need to take a tricycle from the San Jose Mindoro Airport to Sablayan.  When you have arrived in Sablayan, you?ll need to coordinate your trip with the municipal tourism office to go to Apo Reef.  If you are going to stay at Pandan Island, once in Sabalayan you will need to take a tricycle to the ?Punta in front of Ludi’s place.?  There you?ll find an outrigger boat for the island waiting.  The prices are reasonable and the boat ride is fun and not too lengthy.

Malcapuya Island

The Island of Coron is the general area where you?ll find Malcapuya Island, an out of the way little jewel of the archipelago that is known as the Philippines.  You need to do some island hopping to get to Malcapuya.  Expect an hour and a half trip by boat after landing in the municipality of Busuanga on the Island of Coron. The boats arrive on the north side of the island where you will disembark on your backpacking adventure. The island is not very big; it will only take a few minutes to get to the south side where your eyes will be treated to a fine, white, powdery sand beach of impeccable quality. Expect wonderful shallow waters for a significant distance from shore before you get to the deeper water areas. Crystal clear waters lend themselves to some really awesome snorkeling while at this paradise. Get ready to enjoy the many numerous and colorful fish species swimming all about the shallow waters without fear or trepidation of humans. Some neighboring land-masses to include on your island hopping/backpacking adventure are Bulog Island and Banana Island. The Coron Island area is brimming with little lslands such as Malcapuya.  So get into your rented boat and explore away while at this tropical island paradise. The tourist crowds here are non-existent; this is one island you can pretty much have to yourself most of the time.  There is a tour company called Kawil Tours based on Culion Island that does tours of Malcapuya Island to help you navigate the terrain and feed you great cooked meals if you?d like. There is a simple enclosed thatched hut cottage by the beach with and electric fan and a floor mattress for rent at a reasonable price. These not so luxurious accommodations include an outdoor shower a few meters away from the hut. There is no electricity on the island other than that provided by generator at the hut at night for lighting and such. You are provided with outlets for running electric fans and charging your cell phones. Other than this choice for lodging, you can stay at a house for rent away from the ocean shore. This house is only a single room affair but a little better equipped than the hut with a decent restroom and a decent bed.  A small sari-sari store is on the island but it is limited to very basic drinks, chips and beer.  You need to bring your own food if you are going to eat something filling and nutritious while on your island adventure of Malcapuya.

Getting to Coron and Malcapuya Island

Arrange an aircraft flight from Manila to Busuanga. From Busuanga Airport, get on a van bound for the town of Coron. This be about a 45 drive after landing. Boat rentals and boat operators for island-hopping and trips to Malcapuya Island are available at the town proper of Coron. 

Remote Island of the Sorsogon Region: Calintaan?s Subic Beach

Found towards the far southernmost tip of Luzon Island is the Sorsogon and Matnog region.  Go a little further south and you?ll find the remote islands of Calintaan and Tikli Islands.  The Matnog/Bulusan region of Luzon features many great tourist spots including the majestic Mount Bulusan volcano, Bulusan Lake, Miliga-biga Beach, San Benon hot springs, Masacro mineral springs and more. Calintaan Island has a total land area of 363.6 hectares with beach area in about the 19 hectares range. There is a lagoon with a total area of 20 hectares on the west side. The lagoon will accommodate small yachts and sailboats. On Calintaan Island you?ll find a pretty pink sand beach called Subic Beach. No, not anything like the Zambales Subic Beach, this one is much more remote and without all the tourists and commotion.  Because of its extreme southern Luzon proximity, the area is considered by many to be the springboard to the Visayas and to the rest of the Southern Philippines. The pink color of the sand on this beach is due to the pulverized red coral particles mixed with the white sand.  The pink sands beach of Harbour Island in the Bahamas and Elafonisi Beach in Crete are additional examples of other pink sand beaches elsewhere in the world. The Philippines can be proud that Subic Beach enjoys such a rare display of nature?s uniqueness.  This island offers a great backpacking adventure with lazy nights under the stars laying on a truly unique pinkish beach.  Besides the beach, a can?t-miss experience on Calintaan Island is the Juag Fish Sanctuary.  This is a private fish breeding project with a few surprises. You will get to see a 10-year-old aggressive milkfish and a huge lapu-lapu amongst many others at the sanctuary. Visitors to the fish sanctuary can participate in and enjoy feeding schools of colorful fish and experience exotic marine life of all types.  This hatchery is used for export by the owners for exotic fish buyers worldwide. You can also hang-out at the sanctuary in little native shanties on bamboo stilts in the middle of the lagoon surrounded by the many fish, gorgeous hills and ocean views. Prior to staying on Calintaan or visiting Subic Beach, you are required to register at the Municipal Tourism Office in Matnog and pay a small entrance fee for each person plus an even smaller environmental cleanup fee per group. There is a Municipal Tourism Code to be enforced while traveling in the region and on the island. Be sure you know the rules prior to your adventure. This island actually has electricity and even a mobile signal, so you won?t feel so isolated and out of touch with the civilized world. Small nipa huts are available for overnight stays from the island caretakers.  You?ll be able to get away with a night?s stay including the electricity and toilet usage for under php 1000. 

Getting to Matnog, Sorsogon, Calintaan Island, Subic Beach

You can either take a very long bus trip (13 to 15 hours) or fly a Cebu Pacific plane for under an hour to Legazpi City.  Once in Legazpi City, you have to take another bus to Daraga-Matnog, which will take 4 hours.  Be prepared, there is no air conditioning on this bus service.  The bus drops you off at the Matnog public market. You can usually get a tricycle to take you to from the Daraga-Matnog bus terminal to the Port of Matnog. From Matnog?s port, Calintaan Island is just 30-40 minutes away. You can charter a small outrigger boat that will take you directly to the island. Rates will vary depending on whether you want to go island hopping or if you?re going to be staying overnight or not.

Clark Opening ahead of Manila after COVID-19 Quarantine

Posted 07/09/2020 ?The Clark Freeport has been granted advanced approval to transition into phase 1 of opening.  The President has maintained General Community Quarantine (GCQ) measures to remain in effect for Manila and the myriad of businesses and casinos in that region but the Pampanga region is under Modified GCQ measures allowing it to open ahead of its more populated  counterpart.  The National Capital Region of Manila will have to wait until July 15th for operations to resume to some degree of normalcy.

Regarding casinos in Clark Pampanga, they are at a two-week advantage to those in Manila?s Entertainment City.  These include Widus Hotel and Casino, D?Heights Casino, Royce Hotel and Casino and Fortunegate Casino. While the Clark casinos, leisure and hospitality venues are getting a jump start to the economy, there are conditions to go along with their new-found freedoms of operation as these openings are subject to the restrictions for casino operations by the Modified GCQ limitations.

If the Manila public maintains its compliance and the contagion numbers for positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths continue on a downward trajectory, then the government plans to loosen the GCQ rules for Manila down to MGCQ sooner than later as detailed by the President. 

The President mentioned recently that Cebu is the new hotspot for CODIVD-19 cases.  He said the reason was that many of the people there were not following the contagion prevention guidelines to mitigate the disease.

It is important to develop and attitude that these contagion procedures and precautions will be the ?new normal? for us for a long time. At least until there is an effective and long-lasting vaccine to protect the populous.  Whether its GCQ or MGCQ implementation, the important thing has always been, and will continue to be, unfaltering cooperation of the public in following the well-established preventative measures. These include avoiding crowds, minimizing socializing, maintaining social distancing, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, washing hands often, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and making sure individuals who are feeling sick stay at home and not report to work or interact with individuals from other households. The days of showing up at work or visiting grandmother with a cough or fever are gone for the foreseeable future. 

We are all watching the news, hoping, and praying for a vaccine, treatment, and end to this pandemic, but until them, it is incumbent on all of us to do our part.  We all want to get back to normal, but the thing we often forget is the more we follow these well-founded scientific precautions, the sooner we can get back to a functioning society. 

Mega Green City to Rise in Clark Philippines

If the BCDA plans follow through, the Philippines is about to embark on some encouraging progress.? Substantial foresight is being realized in an attempt to do something really big, green and clean for the Philippines called Clark Green City.? The project is being planned by the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and is to be located directly north of the Clark Freeport in an untouched, forested area of Central Luzon. This highly-laudable plan was recently unveiled by the BCDA to the Philippines Inter-Agency Infrastructure Committee (Infracom) on October 30, 2012.

50 Years to Completion?? We Can Do Better!

This project is an ambitious and amorous undertaking by the BCDA that we at Clark Subic Marketing believe should be supported, encouraged and driven much more aggressively than the 50-year timeframe to build-out being initially proposed.? With a little innovative thinking and passion, we can do better.

A New Manila without the Environmental Issues

The project is essentially slatted to eventually become another Metro Manila, but this time erecting a mega-city from the ground up as a modern, green paradise.? This city should be clean and sustainable in all aspects, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and eliminating all of the factors that contribute to pollution and the resultant respiratory, cancer and other ill health issues large city residents currently experience.? Plans are for an entirely environmentally-friendly development utilizing the latest and greenest technology and energy generation available throughout the entirety of this new green megacity.

Modeled after Korea’s Songdo Region

The Clark Green City project is being modeled after Korea’s Songdo region.? Located in Incheon, Korea, near the airport, Songdo is considered a smart-city that utilizes sustainable high-rise buildings, its own water recycling facility, a water catchment system, efficient power and energy usage schemes, and an automated garbage collection system that avoids the use of large, pollution-producing trucks to produce a region that is one of the greenest and sustainable on earth.

Reasons for this Undertaking

Filipinos have become increasingly urbanized over the last 50 years. In the year1960, approximately 30 percent of Filipinos lived in urban metro areas, while the majority of the populous lived in provincial, rural farming areas.? By the year 2000 almost 51 percent lived in dense urban areas.? The trend continues as globalization brings more jobs to urban areas, the populous will continue to flock to where the jobs are.? Maintaining an attitude of forward-thinking, the BCDA is working to ensure the future of the Philippines is protected by proactively accommodating this mass migration to new, urban megalopolises in an environmentally smart way.

Metro Manila is at build-out capacity; there is simply no more room for our burgeoning population to continue their migration to the few, limited urban hectares left in Manila and the rest of our country.? With roads, emergency services, infrastructure, air quality and other quality-of-life aspects stressed to their limits, there is great need for new, courageous and far-sighted thinking.? Due to this trend and overwhelming population growth, the need for a new, clean and sustainable megacity similar to Manila is crucial and cannot be understated at this point.? But in order to ensure the preservation of our country and planet, entirely new paradigms for accommodating this growth simply must be embraced.

The World Condition

Our planet is dealing with unprecedented challenges such as unbridled population growth, climate change, rising sea levels, oceans in decline, mercury-contaminated seafood, eco-systems in collapse, rain forest destruction, polluted superfund cleanup zones, nuclear contaminated zones, soil mineral depletion and toxic farming practices that result in pesticide and herbicide-laden crops, and antibiotic and hormone laced livestock contributing to outrageous cancer rates?to name a few.? The contamination levels in our environment from industrialized and non-thinking exploitation of our planet and the general lack of consideration for its survival will lead to its eventual destruction.

Paradigm Shift for the Sake of our Children

We all need to change our paradigm of thinking when we undertake any mega-project that has the potential to inflict a deleterious outcome on our precious one-and-only home we call earth.? To not first and foremost consider the effects on this singular free-floating blue-planet as we continue to abuse every aspect of this irreplaceable home is simply too devastating to imagine. Quite simply, the continued existence of our only home the lives of our children and grandchildren are quite literally at stake.

Hopeful Vision Requires Acceleration to for our Survival

While this project offers hope in-that our Filipino leaders are attempting to do what is right by our country and planet, we believe a 50 year build-out for this project is too conservative.? Our country and planet needs groundbreaking examples of green and sustainable developments at a much quicker pace.? By entirely embracing this project with every ounce of our beings, the Philippines can become the example for a world struggling to survive.

Financial Limitations? We are only Limited by our Minds and Passion

While we may be limited in our ability to financially undertake such an ambitious and expensive project, the world will be watching.? The interest in the Philippines is at an all time high with GDP increasing (in the midst of a world downturn) and many other economic and social factors improving.? We believe there are ways to find private funding that will transform this zone much faster than a 50 year plan.

Finding the Right Individuals and Entities

The key here is in marketing and promotion of the idea to the right people entities and countries.? Private investors from countries such as Korea, Japan and China are already heavily invested in the Philippines and in the Clark and Subic Freeport Zones.? We are a winter tropic retreat for many of these countries and private investors are flocking here in record numbers.? We believe the Philippine government should partner with these current foreign investors, along with our business leaders.

Our Mega Business Leaders?Please Step Forward

The country’s mega-business owners such as the father of Philippine retail Mr. Henry Sy and the Philippine Airlines and San Miguel founder Lucio Tan along with the rest of the Fortune along with the rest of the Fortune 40 Philippine list of wealthy individuals. We feel that broad-spectrum participation of Filipino patriots is essential in this effort to drive the Clark Green City project forward at a substantially accelerated pace.

Pride in our fabulous country and the privileges our workforce and country have help bring to these leaders should be good reason to help drive these influential men?who adore their country?to participate in investing this future dream. In doing so, our business leaders can know that their beloved Philippines will eventually stand-out as a principal-player on the new-world stage as the Philippines actually helps set the planet on a new course of deliverance from its current path of destruction.

Property and Foreign Ownership

We believe that land ownership, rather long-term leases?as the current Clark and Subic business structure is setup?is crucial for adequate investment interest and overall success of Clark Green City.? Additionally, foreign ownership of land in the zone is critical in order to give a substantial incentive for participation from foreign business sponsors.?? To substantially get the project rolling on an accelerated timetable, income and property tax holidays for up to 10 years for investors who participate should be considered.

Beyond Songdo?Shoot for the Stars

In order to become a truly unique and limitless project, it is our belief the aspects of sustainability and green should go far beyond the Songdo concept.? Clark Green City should be truly self-sufficient with extensive solar power, geothermal and wind power providing essentially all of the cities power needs.? All windows on buildings and high-rises should be required to integrate the new-technology window glass that doubles as solar cells that is currently being developed. Green building techniques surrounding efficiency design factors, insulation standards and general building efficiency requirements, should be some of the highest standards currently required in the entire world.

Green Transportation Systems throughout

Within the Clark Green City region, transportation systems must be emission-conscious.? In our picture of ecologically-successful project, only electric, hydrogen, natural gas and other forms of near or zero emission vehicles would be allowed. Solar powered charging stations for electric cars and trucks could be integrated throughout the city. Clean electric or magnetic levitation super-speed mass transit systems would be a requirement in order to efficiently move workers throughout the region.? Air quality is essential in order to draw foreigners who are searching for an environmentally clean utopia of sorts. Anything less than a near or zero emission transportation network is unacceptable for this project.

Clean and Contaminant-Free Food and Water

Clark Green City needs to integrate a new model of public health by encouraging, training and providing the needed products, procedures and equipment to farmers and ranchers in order to produce and cultivate local and sustainably-growing methods for toxic-free, hormone-free, antibiotic-free organic foods and natural livestock. In addition, the city should make available access to safe, contaminant-free drinking water by protecting the ecological integrity of the region and Green City’s primary water sources.

High-Speed Fiber Data Network

In order to create a city that is representative of the twenty-first century and to gather needed clean industry and corporations, there should be extensive provisions for state-of-the-art data information infrastructure. The communication/internet network system should be of the, latest technology, highest speed, and most extensible, multiply-redundant fiber design available.? This system should be designed to deliver integrated data service all the way into the twenty-second century.

Encouraging Clean Industry to Green City

Cutting-edge, clean and responsible technologies should be encouraged in a high-tech district designed to draw interest from research and development and Silicon Valley type firms. Fully-integrated, environmentally-designed facilities offering free solar power to industries willing to relocate from other countries would help bring the right type of industries to Green City. Cutting-edge technology facilities should be built and ready for turn-key occupation that house laboratories for such areas as computer innovations and platform test-bed for high-tech innovation and inventions.

Protecting the Environment

Above all, Green City should be protected utilizing enforceable laws, charters and regulations that uphold the maintenance of natural habitats.? As building commences and progresses, a mindset of keeping the effects of Clark Green City from negatively impacting the surrounding environment should be considered to the greatest degree possible. Protection of important natural habitat characteristics, such as local water-features, native vegetation and crops, shelter for wildlife and native species should be upheld to the greatest degree possible.

Look to Dubai as an Example

Getting the word out is essential to success.? When Dubai first set-out to become a major tourist destination, nobody had even heard of the city located on the Persian Gulf in the United Arab Emirates. The massive effort and aggressive build-out schedule was thought impossible to accomplish.? The Sheik of the Al Maktoum ruling family had a dream and pursued it with vigor and smart marketing to the rest of the world.? As the aggressive building schedule and engineering marvels took shape, travel shows from around the globe began to feature this unique new little region in the middle of the Arabian Desert.? As a result, Dubai experienced some of the fastest and most dramatic growth ever experienced in the modern age as businesses and wealthy individuals relocated to this fabulous city.? From the years 2000 to 2011, the city literally exploded with skyscrapers and infrastructure. Today, Dubai has emerged as a cosmopolitan metropolis that has grown to become a global city and the business and cultural hub of the Middle East.

Outstanding Promotional Campaigns Required

After the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong in 2002 and 2003 had devastated tourism at this previous tourism hot-spot, the Hong Kong department of tourism produced and launched the “Live it, Love it” ad campaign that showed in numerous countries around the world to once again bring Hong Kong back to a major tourism destination.? Jackie Chan, a well know actor took part these promos in order to assist his country.

The Philippines currently has a very well-known celebrity in Manny Pacquiao. Manny’s love for his country is significant.? As a multi-title world champion and Philippine congressman, he is highly-influential around the world.? At this point in time, his name is perhaps the best known in all of boxing. ?A promotional campaign featuring our beloved boxer and congressman would be essential to pushing this project to its due course.

Foreign Marketing Campaigns

In order to attract an adequate amount of interest and investment to make this happen at a much-faster pace than the projected 50 year build-out, foreign promotional marketing campaigns should blanket wealthy and first-world countries around the globe. Plans for the city should be exposed and started as soon as possible in order to garner the attention of the world. The power of aggressive and innovative global marketing is not to be overlooked.

Ads heralding the project should be taken-out in journals around the world that specifically target well-funded, sustainably-minded and progressive individuals and entrepreneur. National Geographic, the Smithsonian and the Audubon Society magazines are great starting points.

It’s crucial to attract individuals with both money and an interest in groundbreaking, game-changing technology to make the world a better place.? Such individuals as Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic Airways (currently offering a 25 million dollar reward to anyone able to come up with a system to mitigate worldwide greenhouse gases) and Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla Motors (a progressive electric car manufacturer) are very wealthy and interested in saving the world from the effects of industrialization.? Al Gore is perhaps the most well-known environmentalist on the planet. ?His movie An Inconvenient Truth chronicled the devastation of global climate change.? Ensuring individuals like Mr. Gore were informed as to the plans for Clark Green City would be helpful in that he is extremely well connected and influential in this arena and may very-well be willing to become a spokesman for it to an attentively-listening group.

A New Governmental Charter for Clark Green City

To truly make this work, business as usual in the Philippines would no longer be an option for Clark Green City.? Ideally, the zone would have to be an autonomous region with its own set of environmental and sustainability laws.? The civil service and governmental aspects of this zone will need to adhere to a new set of standards, laws, regulation and integrity.

The Filipino Heart will bring Success

If this project is to be undertaken and fast-tracked, it must become an absolute desire and passion of the Filipino heart, a full-fledged effort leveraging every imaginable resource and asset.? Let’s find our balance, leverage every asset, pursue our dream and develop Clark Green City to become a shining example for the rest of the world to follow.