SOON: 3 hours land travel from Manila to Bicol

Published December 15, 2021, 2:32 PM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

It’s about time!

MAJESTIC The perfect cone shape Mayon Volcano and Casagwa ruins are just two of the must-visit places in the province of Bicol (Images from DOT Bicol)

Perhaps Bicol is one of the nearest yet so far away travel destinations from Metro Manila. Aside from the famous perfect cone shape of Mayon Volcano, this region has a lot more to offer such as its beautiful beaches, historic churches, and gastronomic food choices. 

If aiming for land travel, it will take at least eight hours to get there. If the tourist wants faster, taking a flight via air bus is the most convenient way of transportation. But soon, this limited option will be changed and in fact, one can travel back and forth from Manila to Bicol within a day!

The future

This is what Camarines Sur congressman Luis Raymund Villafuerte tells the members of the press during a press conference held on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 at the CamSur Watersports Complex, as there are several infrastructure projects in the pipeline that aim to make Bicol accessible for tourists. 

“Quezon-Bicol expressway is in the pipeline so it will be done in three years. Manila to Bicol will be three and half hours, nalang,” he says. “Second, the Philippine National Railway (PNR) will be soon upgraded. It has a budget already. Manila-Calamba, Japanese grant. Then Calamba-Bicol, Chinese. Once that’s done, three to four hours you’ll be here in Bicol. You can have breakfast in Manila, have lunch here in Bicol, and back at Manila for dinner.” 

When it comes to the PNR, he also says that its central station will be in the capital complex of CamSur. 

“It’s gonna be part of a five-hectare facility but the whole complex is 300 hectares,” congressman says. “Meaning, we will also build a mall, restaurants, shopping area—tourism sites near the destination. Once the train arrived, it’s already a tourist destination.” 

Atulayan Island

Aside from these promising projects, the new international airport located in Daraga, Albay is nearing its completion. As of writing, the airport is now on its 93 percent completion stage and is already operating. After this, the local government is also targeting to upgrade the Naga domestic airport. 

“What we are fighting now is for them to build an international standard domestic airport,” congressman Villafuerte says. “It means that it should have a four-kilometer runway so air buses can land. Through that, regional flights from Asia such as Korean, Japan, and Malaysia can directly land here.” 

Protecting the environment

With a lots of infrastructure projects in line, the LGU promised that they will be there to make that the natural beauty of the place and the region will be preserved. Afterall, this what tourists are after for just like the cast and crew of the international show “Survivor” who recently closed a five-year contract to the province, according to congressman Villafuerte. 

“While we want to invite investors, we also want to maintain the beauty,” he says. “We want in structures not higher than a coconut tree.” 

For those who are thinking that these projects and plans are too good to be true, he assured them that those will be done and in fact, budgets are already been granted. 

“All of these are not just plans. They are already in the pipeline of the Philippine ‘Build, Build, Build’ map,” he says. “The beauty is here, the destination is here, the infrastructure will come.”