03 February 2010

Int'l business cruise ships to come in RP (via Subic Bay)

Gone were the days that the international business cruise ships would only come to Europe and in America, but this time one of their destinations is the Philippines.

Ronnie Yambao, manager of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Investment, revealed the information to a group of Maritime journalists from Manila last Thursday in one of the SBMA first-class restaurants during a press conference.

A resounding yes was the answer of Yambao when asked if the big business cruise ships such as the Royal Caribbean, Queen Elizabeth II, Costa Alegre and others would also dock at the port harbor of the Subic Bay for vacation or travel trips in the Philippines.

There is now an ongoing negotiations among the business cruise ships in Europe and America and if the negotiations were signed by both parties, the cruise ships will start coming next year at Subic Bay, Yambao said.

In preparation for the hilarious and viable project, the SBMA is going into double-time of facelift to the surroundings of the Subic Bay, including the harbor, and its habitat.

Yambao said to attract foreign tourists, the SBMA has approved the lease of over 600 hectares to be used for establishing commercial, recreational and tourist destinations.

One of the lessees is the Ayala Group which will put up a shopping mall and commercial establishments that will occupy at 7.5 hectares.

The other is the Neo-Cove, a project by Korean businessmen, to put up a golf course, Highin Resort and recreational facilities that will squat at 300 hectares with an investment of US$1.8 billion.

Another lessee is also a Korean businessmen who are planning to establish an M-Castle worth US$500 million and an investment of about US$1 billion.

These projects are already ongoing and once it would be finished and completed, local and foreign tourists will be attracted to it, Yambao said. (Danny Q. Junco, Manila Bulletin)