TRANSPORTATION Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said the newly-developed Salomague Cruise Port in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, which serves as an alternate cruise port for Region I, will be formally launched this month.

Marami, ‘yung Salomague, ginagamit na ngayon pero i-inaugurate na namin (A lot, including the Salomague Cruise Port. The cruise port is already in use, but we will now inaugurate it),” Mr. Tugade told BusinessWorld on Wednesday when asked about ports to be launched in January.

In a social media post in December, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said that the Salomague Cruise Port will serve as an “alternative cruise port in Region I” as it is located near attractions and beaches in the Ilocos provinces.

“It is also proximate to the home ports of (cruise ships in) Hong Kong and South China,” it added.

Cruise ships visiting the region currently call at Currimao, Ilocos Norte.

Bloomberry Cruise Terminals, Inc. (BCTI), in collaboration with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), facilitated the completion of the Salomague cruise port’s terminal facilities.

“It was the PPA that spearheaded the construction of the RC (reinforced concrete) Pier extension, and cruise ship berthing area,” the DoTr said.

The DoTr sees the newly-developed cruise port as a “testament (to) the harmonious synergy” between public and private sectors as they work together to advance economic growth in regions and boost the country’s transportation and tourism industry.

The port allows year-round cruise operations.

According to the 2019 Annual Report of the DoTr, the administration has completed a total of 317 commercial and social or tourism port projects.

“The improvement of the nation’s ports is seen to boost connectivity and mobility, as well as spur regional growth in trade and tourism,” the DoTr said.

Among the projects completed last year are Davao del Sur’s Malalag Port, General Santos City’s Makar Port, Davao City’s Sasa Port, Bohol’s Tubigon Port, Southern Leyte’s Limasawa Port, and Misamis Oriental’s Opol Port. — Arjay L. Balinbin