MANILA -- An international cruise ship made its first point of entry for their Philippine expedition in Legazpi City, boosting the tourism feats of the region for international visitors.
“This is really a big boost in the tourism here in Bicol region, na may nag-dock na sa atin na cruise ship. I'm sure this won't be the last time and also (para) makilala ‘yung Mayon (and) makita ‘yung kagandahan nito,” Department of Tourism (DOT) V Regional Director Herbie Aguas said.
Sharing their pride of the Mayon Volcano has been part of Albay's brand for visiting tourists. They are seeking to further push the tourism industry by highlighting the adventures that Legazpi City offers.
“Sa Pilipinas, dalawang region lang ang bibisitahin nila. ‘Yung region 5 and sa northern part, sa Batanes area. So, we're very lucky kasi sa tatlong hihintuan, dalawa sa Bicol. Here in Legazpi and (in) Calaguas,” Aguas further said in an interview.
Legazpi City is their first stop of the international cruise ship "HANSEATIC nature" in the Philippines, following their trip from Palau and Guam.
“This is the first stop from Palau, sa Pilipinas tayo ang magwe-welcome,” Aguas added.
Tourists were welcomed by a festive dance number as they exited the cruise ship to proceed to their designated vehicles for the tour, while some decided to walk and roam around the city on foot for the next couple of hours during their stay.
Kim Koschitzki, a tourist from Germany, shares in an interview that she wants to go around Legazpi City, admire the Mayon Volcano, eat local food, and experience the culture of Legazpeños even just for a day.
“It's our first time in the Philippines so we are really happy to be here. I'm gonna experience Legazpi and I'm really excited,” Koschitzki added.
Aside from the hype of the foreign tourists, Filipino crew members are also elated to meet their families waiting at the port.
“Pumunta dito family ko from Pangasinan. (It was a) 16-hour drive,” Aldwin Dela Cruz, a Filipino crew member of Hanseatic Nature Expedition Cruise said.
Aside from this, Dela Cruz implied that it is his first time visiting the city and that the warm welcome they received from the people is unexpected.
“Ang ganda, kanina nakaka-goosebumps ‘yung pag entry namin, after ilang months. Ayon, Pilipinas. Sobrang unexpected,” he added.
Meanwhile, Legazpi City Chief of Police Dennis Balla said that they are 100 percent ready with the security operations to assure the safety of the visiting foreign nationals.
“So today, we have police deployed for the PNP alone, we have about 250 personnel we have scattered into different locations,” Balla said.
Securing peace and order with the help of their barangay counterparts is among the primary goals of the PNP.
“Well, so far we have serious conferences, coordination meetings have been conducted just to make sure that the activity will be a smooth sailing,” Balla explained.
“They’re gonna share this story about Bicol region, so this will be a big boost and big marketing strategy for our region”, Aguas said.
The cruise ship docked at Legazpi City Port on Sunday, April 30, with 180 German tourists, flocking the ‘Queen City of South Luzon’ for a whole day adventure.
This cruise under Hapag-Lloyd is scheduled to visit two regions in the country with several tours around South Luzon.
- report from Aireen Perol