Home News Cagayan Valley Cagayan Calayan opens lone LGU-funded airport in Phil

Calayan opens lone LGU-funded airport in Phil

By  Benjie S. De Yro

CALAYAN, Cagayan–This island municipality finally inaugurated the only community airport in the country funded by the local government unit through a Php60 million loan funded by Land Bank of the Philippines.

Outgoing Mayor Alfonso Llopis said the landing of a 30-seater Dornier 328 –RP C9258 piloted by Captain Eric Fernando was significant as it embodied the decades-old dream of the Calayanos for air transport.

“This inaugural flight signaled better things to come for our people. It is a dream come true for all of us,” he said.

The islands can only be reached through the turbulent Balintang Channel of the Pacific Ocean from Aparri, Claveria and Port San Vicente in Sta. Ana. The islands, composed of Calayan main island, Dalupiri, Camiguin and Babuyan Claro, are isolated during the monsoon months which affect the economic activities of the people.

Then, the absence of an airport stalled the full tourism potentials of the islands as it is only during summer that visitors and tourist can access them through outrigger boats called lampitaw.

However, Captain Fernando said the 900 meter runway at 800 meters concrete should be extended to an additional three hundred meters more so as to improve touch down.

“ As it is, the airstrip is good and I find no difficulty in landing,” Fernando said.

The plane landed at 8:11 o’clock morning of March 27 despite an overcast sky to a loud applause from the islands and well- wishers who braved the waves from Aparri to Calayan to witness the event.

“ This is the legacy of the LGU our people as we want future generation to remember what we did to them,´Mayor Llopis said.

Like other smaller islands in the country, residents here are forced to brave the six to eight hours of water transport to and from the islands. The sea hadclaimed hundreds of lives as a result.

Meanwhile, Jerry Cabalce of Wakay Tours who have been the municipality’s tourism consultant the last six months, in his private capacity, said the municipality is finalizing negotiations as to what airline companies which will fly the Calayan skies.

The Dornier 328 of the Singson group of companies took off from Manila and negotiated a 45-minute flight direct to Barangay Dadao where the airport is located.

“We hope to have regular flights as early as middle of this year,”Cabalce said.

A veteran globe-trotting tours operator, Cabalce said he is eyeing the European market for Calayan.

A Manila-based tour operator admitted she got goosebumps and shed a tear when the first plane ever to land in Calayan touched the airstrip.

“Such a beautiful islands deserve this,” she said. northernforum.net


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