World Events, Colorful Festivals Await Albay’s 2015 Visitors

The year 2015 promises most enjoyable experiences for visitors in Albay, which hosts at least five major international events and a string of year-round festivals, backing its title as the country’s top growing tourist destination.

The major international events include the popular world XTERRA Triathlon in February, the series of technical meetings of the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit including its three Senior Officials’ Meetings (SOM) set in July, August and September, and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) travel mart in October.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said the three APEC SOMs shall make up for the Informal Senior Officials Meeting set December 8-9 last year, which was transferred to Manila due to the threats of Typhoon Ruby. The province can reap major economic benefits from the 2015 APEC SOMS, even for the “bragging rights” alone, in both the short and long terms.

The governor said the APEC SOM events will be a good opportunity to showcase “Albay’s best practices in safety, business continuity, permanent evacuation centers and permanent relocation sites, and a chance to show our green credentials -- 88% increase in forest cover and expansion of our mangrove areas by 300 percent in six years, our no smoking, no plastics and no mining policies -- essentially, a people living in harmony with nature and with its future.”

The XTERRA Triathlon, which runs for three years in Albay, will be launched February 8, coinciding with the opening week of the month-long Cagsawa Festival, with an expected 1,500 participants and 2,500 guests. The sports event which is widely covered by media is expected to further boost the province’s growing tourism with more visitors coming to view the popular world sports.

Salceda said Mauricio Mendez, the 5th placer of the 2014 world championship has confirmed he will join XTERRA Albay. The event is expected to further boost the Cagsawa Festival, now on its fourth-year and jointly celebrated by Albay and Daraga town. The celebration coincides with the 201st year anniversary of the world famous Cagsawa Ruins, which now awaits UNESCO’s declaration as a world site heritage.

Arrangements for the staging of the triathlon in Albay were completed last year by Salceda and Wilfed Uytengsu, Jr., CEO of Alaska Milk Corporation and XTERRA Franchise holder for the Philippines.

In October, Albay will host the PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart, besting other strong and giant bidders in the country.

PATA is the premier organization of travel and tourism players in the Asia Pacific region and a leading authority on the industry for over 60 years. It is a partner of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, which also held a series of conferences in Albay in 2014.

Albay has 13 regular festivals lined up for the year: February - Cagsawa Festival; April- Daragang Magayon; May - Sarung Banggi in Santo Domingo; June with three festivals -- Pulang Angui in Polangui, Pinangat in Camalig and Tabak in Tabaco City; July -- Lubid in Pioduran and Alinao in Malinao; August -- Karagumoy in Manito, Ibalong in Legazpi City, and Longganisa in Guinobatan; September - Coron in Tiwi, and Nito Talahib in Manito; and December - Karangahan Green Christmas for Albay province. (PNA) FPV/Johnny C. Nunez/ssc

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