BORONGAN CITY – The national flag carrier Philippine Airline (PAL) successfully made its maiden flight to this city on Monday (Dec.19) with local officials pinning hopes that it will result in more tourists and even investors coming in to the province.
Landing around 11:59 am, people cheered with the Bureau of Fire Protection provided the water salute to the commercial plane with several local government officials led by Governor Ben Evardone and City Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda.
Also on board of the 83 passengers from Manila-via Cebu flight were 4Ps party-list Rep.Marcelino Libanan and PAL officials led by its vice president for sales, Salvador Britanico, and assistant vice president for network and fleet planning Bryan Ang; and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines area manager Danilo Abarete.
The passengers were welcomed by a performance of the city-based Padul-ong Festival.
Gov. Evardone said that the opening of the flight will open the door for the province of opportunities.
“This will be a major catalyst for change and development of the province. This flight will ignite a hosts of opportunities from fishermen, farmers, to businessmen, and more importantly, this will can help for medical transport,” he said.
For his part, PAL executive Ang also said that they have been planning to include Borongan as part of the areas they are serving.
“It is our great honor to mark this singular historical moment the launched of the first Borongan-Cebu air service brought to you by your national flag carrier Philippine Airline,” he said.
“The new route to Borongan is a culmination of the long patient and visionary effort by the people of Eastern Samar represented by your local leaders. This is a vision long held by the Borongan tourism and business community and we are glad to be your humble instrument in the hope that we foster the economic development of Eastern Samar,” Ang added.
The opening PAL flight from Cebu to Borongan is a dream come true for Coleta Marie Visitacion who just recently visited her home town after several years of working abroad.
Visitacion has been living in Canada working as nurse along with her family. Her husband hails from Cebu.
The last time she was able to visit her hometown was in 2014.
Visitacion with her husband and kids had visited Borongan for four days and are now in Cebu to spend time with the family of her husband.
It was the long hours of travel from Cebu to Borongan that is always her problem when going home. Traveling from Cebu to Borongan takes about 10 hours by sea and land.
That is why she was happy to know that PAL had already opened a flight connecting Cebu to Borongan because it makes their travel easier every time they are visiting the Philippines.
“Usually talaga di ba, nagsu-Super Cat from Cebu to Ormoc, Ormoc to Tacloban, then Tacloban to Borongan. Sobrang tagal, parang isang araw ang nakukuha sa iyo. Kung may vacation ka lang na one week, parang isang araw ang papunta at isang araw pabalik… So yung one hour na travel time, madadagdagan yung time for my family, masusulit ko talaga yung bakasyon ko,” Visitacion said.
“I can see my family right away and no longer have to travel a long hour. That one hour flight means a lot because I can spend longer time with my family,” she added.
Borongan-bound passengers can take the 8:55 am flight in Manila and arrive in Cebu at 10:20 am. From Cebu, a turboprop plane will depart for Borongan at 11 am and arrive at noon.
The plane will fly to Cebu at 12:30 pm and arrive after an hour, passenger will then transfer to an airbus plane that will leave at 3:10 pm in Cebu and land in Manila at 4:50 pm.
(ROEL T. AMAZONA)