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Ms Earth beauties help save a historical jewel

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ms Earth beauties help save a historical jewel

By Rhaydz B. Barcia, Correspondent

CAGRARAY ISLAND, Albay—By holding a pro-environment activity, the candidates of the recent Ms. Earth beauty pageant gave valuable help in preserving this historical jewel of Bicol.

Ms. Earth 2004 Priscilla Mereilles and her court set foot on this historical island to plant pili seedling in Barangay Misibis at the wide stretch of white sand girding about 11 hectares of greenery and panoramic scenery.

Mereilles was with Ms. Earth-Air Muriel Celemine of Martinique, Ms. Earth-Fire Kahaia Lesage of Tahiti, Ms. Earth-Wind Yanina Gonzales of Paraguay and Thea Foejkaer of Denmark, Natalija Grubovik of Macedonia, Sara Lundemo of Sweden, Liesel Holler of Peru and Katherine Gonzales of Uruguay. Unknown to Ms. Earth beauties and to many, this place is considered a historical jewel, because of the archeological relics that were found here between l879 and 1881 by Juan Alvarez Guevarra.

According to the archeological findings, sacred burial jars were found in two of at least 28 caves in the island and local historians suggest that these archeological evidences could prove that Cagraray Island was the cradle of Bicolano civilization about 200,000 to 300,000 years ago.

But that is not the only reason Mereilles described the area a “paradise on earth.”The island is also seeing the rise of a P500-million residential resort that is frequently filled with the rich and famous.

The residential resort was developed by businessman Elizaldy S. Co of Sunwestville Realty and Development Corporation, one of the more reputable property developers in the region.

The Misibis Residential Resort boasts of exclusive residences with five-star amenities on a 20-hectare property of powdery white sand.“Our advocacy is to help fellow Bicolanos to uplift their lives through the positive features this investment may bring forth to the community.

Let us change the status of Bicol as the second-poorest region in the entire country.”“Let us change the perception that Bicol can be proud no more than Mayon Volcano. Let us put Bicol on the map, and let everyone take an active part creating Misibis a place seemingly a paradise within reach,” Co said.

“It adheres to the principle of creating a balance between development and the concern and care for the environment. We will have our own sewerage treatment plant to ensure that the natural beauty of Misibis is never exploited through willful neglect of environment,” he added.

Dean Barbers, the Philippine Tourism Authority general manager, said that the opening of the residential resort here will help to uplift the economic growth of Bicol from poorest region to progressive region.

“This new resort is even better than Mount Amanpolo. This is the new tourist destination not only in the country but throughout the world because of unique and world class style,” Barbers said.

The place offers a panoramic view of Mayon Volcano; Sula Channel, which used to be the sanctuary of galleons in time of typhoons during the Spanish era; the well-known burning Nag-asu Lake and Bacman geothermal plant in Manito.

Adjoining the resort are several caves and captivating limestone formations. The unexplored Pototan Cave in neighboring Batan Island can be reached by a fleeting boat ride.

Just 20 minutes from the resort is another underground river called Pighologan Cave and after a 25- to 30-minute boat ride, tourists can visit the “wild monkey” sanctuary in Manaet Islet here.Maria Ravanilla, the DOT regional director, told The Manila Times that the new resort is the biggest breakthrough in Bicol tourism.

“We’re happy that we have Zaldy Co in Albay, an active partner of government to develop Bicol through tourism promotion. We’re on the process of marketing and promoting this resort in the international market,” Ravanilla said.

“The provincial government of Albay constructed the cable car in this area and Albay can soon be like a Hong kong where tourists could see the picturesque landscape of adjacent Legazpi City and its adjacent areas,” said Vice Gov. James Calisin of Albay.

Misibis could be reached or take the route of Sula Channel in Bacacay, wherein a motorized boat can ferry them across the channel and can take a 15-minute jeepney ride or a 25-minute boat ride to the resort.

Co said less affluent visitors can reach the residential resort at a minimal cost once the provincial government approves the operation of the cable car this year.Processo Taduran Jr., the cable car’s project engineer, told The Manila Times that the P10-million cable car project could accommodate at least 6 passengers.

This project was built in Barangay Sula with two stations in Sitio Pasulmoc and the other in Bukanan with 660 meters distance from station to station at about 37 elevation from Sula channel with 10 to 15 minutes travel time.

“With the strong support of the community, government agencies our company will continue to preserve the Cagraray Island while development is in progress,” said Co.

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