Peter Laviña

The ABCs (Activities, Beliefs and Campaigns) of City Councilor Peter Tiu Laviña of Davao City, Philippines. This blog started on March 9, 2006.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Davao flight to Palau

Asian Spirit will commence with its first international flight on April 2 with the opening of the Manila-Davao-Palau sector.

The nation's fourth and smallest air carrier will thus open a new milestone in its short company history.

The flight to Palau from here is only one hour and 30 minutes. The service will be available three times a week leaving this city at 830 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays (RP Time). The return flight is at 330 a.m. the following days, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday (Palau Time).

The flight will actually originate from Manila with the Manila-Davao route already being serviced by the airline on a daily basis. It started this sector only last January in time for the hosting of this city of the 25th ASEAN Tourism Forum.

Asian Spirit is known for ferrying tourists to Boracay and about two dozen other tourist destinations in “missionary routes” around the country.

The opening of the Davao-Palau flight is long overdue. For several years now, city officials and Palau Honorary Consul to the Philippines, Mike Iñigo, a former PAL executive, have been working to establish this air link. Cebu Pacific attempted one chartered flight.

Palau is a former US territory but remains tied to US in terms of its economic needs. I cannot see the wisdom why Palau gets its daily supplies of foods, consumer items, office and factory needs from Hawaii or the US mainland when Davao is just a stone’s throw away.

Last December, businessmen from Palau were in Davao. Their flight took them from Palau via Guam and Manila. Now, they can fly direct minus all the hassles of airport transfers.

Davao can help Palau in many ways. In fact, the power utility of this tiny South Pacific nation was installed by Davao Light and Power Co. Two editors there running Palau newspapers are colleagues from Davao.

Palau can help Davao too. Davao can be the main source of Palau’s needs, from foods to construction supplies. Palau can serve too as the city’s and Mindanao’s new gateway to the South Pacific nations.

Interest in Palau here is increasing. Last night I saw its ad on BBC showing the allures of this south Pacific paradise. Various ads are now also displayed announcing the Asian Spirit’s flight to Palau.

I just hope a similar ad campaign is being done at the other side to attract people in Palau to visit our city.

After all, this new venture is a two-way traffic. With both bound to benefit.

Those interested for more details get in touch with John T. Baricuatro of JohnGold Travel & Tours (johnbaricuatro@yahoo.com) at Gaisano Mall Bajada.

(Submitted as Signs of the Times column article for Mindanao Times for March 14, 2006)

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