Ilocanos ready to welcome Star Cruises in Laoag

LAOAG CITY—Ilocanos and various tourism stakeholders here are eager to welcome the arrival of Star Cruises, a cruise line in the Asia Pacific, that will ferry passengers from Hongkong to Manila and then to Laoag and Kaohsiung, Taiwan starting March 19 to May 28, this year.

“This is the first time that we are accommodating a cruise ship. We are very happy that Laoag is included in the route where its passengers of about 2,800 people and 1, 100 crew members will tour the province for a day,” said Xavier Ruiz of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office.

Ruiz noted this latest development will help improve the province’s economy.

Last week, an inspection team visited the privately-owned Omnico Port located within the boundary of Badoc and Currimao, Ilocos Norte where Super Star Virgo could probably dock if it is not feasible at the nearby Currimao seaport.

Offering six days and five nights, the promo tour package rate is pegged at PHP24, 500 per person for twin sharing and PHP12, 250 per person for squad.

The cruise ship is equipped with luxury suites and hot tubs, an international restaurant and other amenities like a home theater, outdoor swimming pool and waterpark.

According to Ruiz, the cruise ship management is considering Pagudpud beach and the various eco-tourism sites in the province to be included in the eight-hour stay of passengers in the province.

Over the years, the Department of Tourism along with the provincial government of Ilocos Norte have been working on the promotion of cruise tourism here, with Ilocos Norte’s readiness to embark on this project in terms of infrastructure development and a growing menu of various attractions.

With the continuing efforts of the tourism department to make the Philippines known as the “Carribean of Asia”, the Currimao seaport, along with other seaports in Puerto Princesa and Bohol, had been upgraded including the development of a cruise terminal, according to the Philippine Ports Authority.