J. Albert Gamboa-125


SENTOSA ISLAND — Located off the southern coast of Singapore, this popular tourist destination opened in 1975 and is currently undergoing redevelopment along with nearby Pulau Brani Island in a mega-project whose long-term transformation blueprint was unveiled by national planners in 2019.

According to Sentosa Development Corp. (SDC), the Sentosa-Brani Master Plan is projected to bring in a considerable increase in the number of visitors to the island compared to the pre-pandemic level of 19 million per year. It was planned for rollout in several phases over the next two to three decades and was first outlined by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his National Day speech three years ago. SDC is a government agency formed in 1972 to develop the former British military base into a mixed-use complex.

Under the master plan’s first phase, which was supposed to be completed this year, the iconic Merlion Tower would make way for the “Sensoryscape” linkway project connecting Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and the island’s southern beaches. However, the challenges faced by the construction industry as a result of the pandemic caused this important project milestone to be delayed by more than a year.

At the RWS integrated resort, which operates one of Singapore’s two state-sanctioned casinos, the latest attraction is the newly launched SkyHelix Sentosa. This double-twisted tower structure with an open-air gondola slowly rises 35 meters up in the atmosphere for a 360-degree view of the surrounding islands and the Singapore mainland’s southernmost shore.

Riding the SkyHelix was a thrilling experience for the winners of the 13th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards who are touring Singapore as part of their prize. The group includes photojournalists Laila Austria and Willie Lomibao as well as journalists Joey Gabieta, Elijah Felice Rosales, Tina Panganiban-Perez, Sheila Tubalinal, Karl Angelica Ocampo, Ofelia Empian, Jonathan Mayuga, Henrylito Tacio, and Louise Maureen Simeon.

Bright Leaf honors the most outstanding agriculture stories and images in print and broadcast media through the annual competition organized by PMFTC, Inc. It brings the agriculture sector to the forefront by recognizing Filipino journalists who focus on crop sustainability, safety issues, best practices, and other subjects that are relevant to one of the country’s most significant industries.

PMFTC President Denis Gorkun underscored the company’s vision to deliver a “smoke-free future” for 16 million Filipino smokers by offering science-based alternatives to smoking. Among its new products are Bonds by IQOS, a brand of compact heated tobacco, and Blends tobacco sticks that emit 95% lower level of chemicals compared to cigarettes.

Recently, these products were introduced to the Philippine market. They are aimed at helping adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking while abandoning cigarette use. As an offshoot of PMFTC’s smoke-free advocacy, a new category was added to the Bright Leaf Awards in 2019 to highlight the best story about tobacco alternatives.

As an attached agency of the Singaporean Ministry of Trade and Industry, SDC has clearly designated smoking areas around Sentosa. This is in line with the Sustainable Sentosa Framework that promotes sustainability in SDC and its subsidiaries. Its vision is for the internationally renowned resort island to offer an inspiring sustainable development model that enables Singapore’s national sustainability and climate change outcomes.


The opinion expressed herein does not necessarily reflect the views of these institutions and BusinessWorld.


J. Albert Gamboa is the chief finance officer of Asian Center for Legal Excellence and chair of the FINEX Media Affairs Committee. #FinexPhils www.finex.org.ph