MANILA, Philippines - At least five major private-public partnership projects have been offered to Spanish firms to enhance the tourism and cultural agenda in Intramuros.
Intramuros Administration chief Jose Capistrano Jr. announced during the 6th Tribuna España-Filipinas at the Asian Institute of Management today that a master plan for the walled city has been finished, but “we (now) need to work on Phase 2 of the Master Plan which is a more detailed planning. After that, we can come up with a [terms of reference] for this package.”
Among the projects that are being developed are the establishment of a boutique hotel, fine dining restaurant, a theme park replicating the Old Intramuros, integrated parking and the Maestranza Park, which will be open to the public on February 11.
He said the long-term plan, which should be implemented by 2016, is the establishment of a row of cafes, shops and restaurants similar to Clark Quay in Singapore.
He also noted that the Department of Tourism is implementing programs for the restoration and conversion of 27 lighthouses in different parts of the country for “bed and breakfast” inns, similar to the Paradores chain of hotels in Spain.
Spain Tourism Attache Angela Castaño said Paradores are old structures like historical buildings, castles and chateaus developed and refurbished as hotels with modern services, the first of which was established in 1928. There are currently 98 Paradores operating in Spain.
“The bidding will be open to all (interested developers and investors). What is important is that we finish the terms of reference under our private-public partnership plan and then we bid it out to developers but that would mean a further study,” Capistrano said.
Visiting Permanent Secretary Luis Ramon Enseñat said the two countries should now work together because of their shared history. Enseñat is with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain.
For his part, Instituto Cervantes Sec. Gen. Rafael Rodriguez-Ponga pressed for education in bridging the gap between the two countries.
“With 500 million Spanish-speaking people in the world, and 50 million in the US and 40 million who speak Spanish everyday, learning the language helps the young professionals improve their job opportunities. This goes beyond historical relations, it is not just about bridging the gap to the past but also charting the pathway to the future,” he said.
“We should recognize that relationships between the Philippines and Spain, whether it be in stone or paper, is working for the future of both countries,” he added.