MANILA, Philippines – An upcoming chartered flight route from Clark International Airport to Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya is expected to make visits to the famed Banaue Rice Terraces faster. The new service promises to cut travel time by about half.
Average land travel from capital Manila to the popular tourist destination in the Cordillera mountains in northern Luzon takes about 8 hours.
Wakay Air, in partnership with AirSWIFT Transport Services, will offer to charter airline passengers from Clark airport in central Luzon, which is about 80 kilometers or 2 hours from Manila, to Bagabag airport, located in the province next to the Cordillera mountains.
The flight will take about an hour, and via a Dornier Aircraft with a seating capacity of 31 passengers.
Once landed in Bagabag in Nueva Ecija province, travelers can reach the Banaue Rice Terraces by land in just about one hour and 40 minutes.
The chartered flights will be every 4 days, and are expected to start by May 17, Clark International Airport Corporation president and CEO Alexander Cauguiran said in a press release.
The new route was recently launched at the Internationale Tourismus-Börse, one of the leading tourism trade fairs, held in Berlin, Germany.
“The Cordilleras is all about tradition and ethnic culture. This is our strongest selling point because our visitors can experience genuine and truly meaningful cultural immersions that benefit the host communities. This is also something we can be very proud of,” Marie Venus Tan, Department of Tourism Director for the Cordillera Administrative Region told reporters at the event.
Initial reservations on the aircraft will cater to package tours booked by both local and European travel agencies. The tours will span 4 days and will be priced at an average of $1,000 per person – inclusive of domestic airfares, hotel accommodations, and a city tour.
Individual bookings are expected to be available soon. “We are looking forward to having daily (CRK-Bagabag) flights around September this year, which are more affordable and may be booked by local individual travelers,” said Cauguiran.
A 100% Ivatan-owned company, Wakay Air Transport Services Incorporated was founded to provide Ivatans and tourists transport services to and from Batanes, an island group northernmost of Luzon.
It expanded to charter flights from Manila to several tourist destinations, including Batanes, Palawan, Northern Luzon, and Catanduanes.
Banaue Rice Terraces
Dubbed as the 8th wonder of the world, the Banaue Rice Terraces were built by Ifugao tribes almost 2,000 years ago. It was listed as a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco) World Heritage Site in 1995.
Unesco said the terraces “epitomize the absolute blending of physical, socio-cultural, economic, religious, and political environment. Indeed, it is a living cultural landscape of unparalleled beauty.”
The man-made wonder remains among the top tourist destinations in the Philippines. A total of 1.1 million tourists visited the Cordillera Administrative Region in 2014, according to the Department of Tourism. — Rappler.com