Lubao, Subic express mutual support to tourism promotions

SUBIC FREEPORT — The local government of Lubao in Pampanga and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority have agreed to support each other’s tourism programs and activities.

This expression of mutual support came up during the courtesy visit of Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab to SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma at the latter’s office in this Freeport on Friday.

Cayabyab met with Eisma to discuss the possible cooperation between the two agencies in terms of promoting their respective tourism-related activities.

Eisma was responsive to the idea since the Freeport is just a mere 30-minute drive from Lubao via the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX)’s Dinalupihan exit in Bataan province.

Cayabyab told Eisma how the SBMA assisted Lubao’s LGU in the past especially in the promotion of the annual Lubao International Balloon and Music Festival (LIBMF). Posters and streamers of the event have been allowed to be posted in strategic areas inside the Freeport.

Hotels and Restaurants, as well as other tourist destinations in Subic, also cash in from visitors who troop to Lubao to watch the early-morning balloon flight of the LIBMF.

This year, the LIBMF will be held from April 6 to 9 at the Pradera Verde complex in Barangay Prado Siongco and will feature at least 35 hot air balloon and is hoped to draw a huge crowd.

Cayabyab said that audience of the LIBMF who are not from Pampanga usually include Subic in their itineraries due to the Freeport’s proximity and its long list of hotels, restaurants and other recreational facilities like beaches for guests to choose from.

Eisma assured Cayabyab that her administration would continue supporting Lubao even as she asked the mayor to also allow SBMA to promote in town the Freeport’s tourism activities and places.

The administrator said she plans to reactivate Subic’s airport to receive a share from at least 28 million passengers that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila is struggling to service with its 20-million passenger capacity.

“There is a huge spillover of at least eight million passengers that other airports like Clark and Subic can try to accommodate,” Eisma said. –Albert B. Lacanlale

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