Panglao Island International Airport will be ready by 2017

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Panglao Island International Airport

Panglao Island in Bohol is an island resort and one of the major tourist attractions in the Philippines. The main island is most famous for its Chocolate Hills, but it is in the 75 islands surrounding it that one can find the nicest beaches.

Panglao Island International Airport Roundtrip Ticket AirAsia
AirAsia Aircraft

One of the more well known of these surrounding islands is Panglao Island. It is located on the southwest area of Bohol province and has an area of about 80 square kilometers. It is where the Canhilbas Underground Spring is, which supplies the water for the island from an underground source. Panglao Island has no other sources of fresh water supply. Recent studies have revealed that on its own, Panglao Island has more marine biodiversity than Japan.

All this has driven the Department of Trade and Communications (DOTC) to seek the technical and financial help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for its New Bohol (Panglao) Airport Development Project. The project was opened up for bidding in mid-2014 with an expected end date in 2016. However, some delays pushed back the expected date of completion to 2017 even as the winners of the bidding was announced. The DOTC awarded the contract $91 million to build the new airport to two Japanese firms, Mitsubishi Corp. and engineering company Chiyoda. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2015.

White Sand Beach in Anda Bohol
White Sand Beach in Anda Bohol

The plan is to build a 2,000-meter runway and an 8,200 square meter Panglao Island International Airport terminal. The construction of the new airport that will replace the existing Tagbilaran Airport upon completion is in line with the government’s plan to introduce an alternative to Boracay as the prime tourist destination in the Philippines.

The project consists of six components. The first is the initial onsite setup including facilities for the employers and engineers, maintenance equipment, and insurance arrangements. The next component involves access and infrastructure provisions, such as the construction of roads and the runway.

Utility and sewage disposal provisions is third in line while the fourth component involves the building of the terminal, fire station, control tower, parking lots, and other peripherals. The fifth and sixth components are the air navigation facilities and ground lighting infrastructure respectively.

Bluewater Panglao Pool near the Beach
Bluewater Panglao Pool near the Beach

When it is completed, Panglao Island International Airport should be able to handle one million tourists a year, both local and international, and promote the tourist industry in the region. However, the project is not without its opponents. Critics state that the very reason why the airport is being built (to promote the natural beauty of Panglao Island) is put in jeopardy by the planned construction.

Panglao island is indeed made of coralline limestone, which is relatively young geologic material that tends to form sinkholes. This is not ideal for construction for infrastructures like an international airport.

Nevertheless, the project is pushing through, and locals and foreigners alike can expect to fly direct to Panglao Island in 2017. The cost to the Philippine government is projected to be as much as P2.57 billion.

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