PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines – A new modern wharf that will ensure the convenience of tourists visiting the world-renowned Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) is being planned in Sitio Sabang in Barangay Cabayugan.
According to PPUR Management Office Chief Elizabeth Maclang, the construction of the P100-million Sabang Integrated Wharf Development project will begin in the second quarter of 2018, and is expected to be completed in 5 years.
“If the design gets finalized this year, there’s no chance that it would be delayed and it could start by second quarter next year,” she said in a press conference for PPUR Festival on Thursday, October 12.
Maclang said the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) has funded the P15-million project design being finalized by Makati-based A.C. Ong Consulting Incorporated.
The project, she added, features a terminal building that can accommodate around 300 visitors, or more than the current 100 to 200 visitors that the existing wharf’s waiting area can hold.
Inside the building, tourists can check a museum showing off the park’s outstanding biodiversity. (WATCH: Hidden gems of the Puerto Princesa Underground River)
Other new, upgraded features are the boat docking area, breakwater, seaside esplanade, drop off and parking area, and services and utilities area.
The project will also be equipped with a waste water treatment facility that would maintain the good condition of the marine environment facing the wharf.
Maclang said TIEZA will provide a P50-million fund for the project, while the park management and the city government will match the amount from park entrance fees that they collect yearly.
“We can allocate at least P20 million per year, while the city government can have a P10-million counterpart fund on standby,” she said.
The park superintendent said the project will be made possible through the increased entrance fee of P500 for both local and foreign tourists. Collections range from P7 to P10 million every month during the peak season months of January and May.
“We recently increased the fee because of this project,” she added.
Before, the park fee was set at P250 for foreigners and P175 for locals, generating only P5 million in revenues during the peak season in past years.
“As per the consulting firm, with the steady stream of funding, the project can be done in almost one to two years’ time, or 3 if there’s a need to do fund sourcing,” she said.
The project proponent has been conducting an environmental impact assessment at PPUR to ensure that the development, involving a two-hectare horizontal reclamation, would not endanger the park’s marine resources. – Rappler.com