MANILA (13-Feb-2013) – New player Skyjet (Magnum Air Inc.) will start on Friday, Feb. 15, its maiden flight to Busuanga in northern Palawan as part of its advocacy of opening up missionary routes and promoting cultural tourism in the country.
Dr. Joel Mendoza, president and chief executive officer of Skyjet, said passengers going between Busuanga and Manila will experience the most comfortable flight at affordable rate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
He said passengers will be provided with light snacks and allowed five kilos of handcarry plus 10 kilos of free check-in luggage. For businessmen, the aircraft also has a cargo hold of up to three tons.
Mendoza said travel in their 94-seater “whispering jet” will only take 40 minutes from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 4 (old domestic airport) to Busuanga.
Skyjet’s M-W-F flights to Busuanga will leave the old domestic airport in Pasay City at 9:55 a.m., while the return flight to Manila at 12:05 p.m. Mendoza said inquiries can be made at their website www.skyjetair.com or at the old domestic airport ticketing office at (02) 823-3087.
Busuanga Island is the largest island in the Calamian group of islands located between northern Palawan and Mindoro. It is the second largest island in Palawan province famous as a recreational diving location due to the World War II Japanese wrecks.
Busuanga’s other attractions are the boat ride to the Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary in Calauit island and Concepcion Falls, located 17 kilometers away from the town proper, where buses and jeepneys ply between Busuanga and Coron everyday.
Tourists can also ride pumpboats going to Black Island, Las Hamacas Beach, Calumbuyan Island, Treasure Island, and Pamalican Island which is dedicated to Amanpulo, the jetsetters’ paradise.
Mendoza said Busuanga and Coron both offer pristine beaches and diving destinations where tourists, local and foreign alike, can immerse oneself in the local way of life and encounter the Filipinos’ rich history, tradition and culture.
Mendoza assured their flights will have no vibrations and noise unlike the propeller-type airplane as Skyjet is powered by the safest BAe 146-200 four-engine jet made by British Aerospace (BAe) Systems, maker of aircraft used by the British Royal Family, British Airlines, Lufthansa and other European airlines.
The aircraft is one of only a few types that can be used on airports which has a unique steep approach and a short runway like the Basco airport in Batanes where they first opened flight last December 14.
Mendoza said Skyjet is servicing Batanes three times a week (M-W-F) leaving Manila at 6:50 a.m. and taking only 70 minutes to traverse the 300 nautical miles to Basco airport.
He said Batanes also has great potential for cultural tourism with its unique season, terrain, food, stone houses, and people.
By June, he added that they will start accepting charter accommodations from Batanes to Taiwan especially to Kaoshiung, which is only around 150 nautical miles from Batanes, and Orchid Island, or the Lanyu township of Taitung County, where the native people in the area resemble and even speak the Ivatan language.
”Every June, we have cultural exchange with Orchid Island where the Taiwanese present in their cultural show the native people who wear G-strings and speak Ivatan,” Mendoza said.
Orchid Island is called “Ponso no Tao” (Island of the People) in Yami, a variety of the Ivatan dialect cluster spoken by the Tao ethnic minority group inhabiting the island. Similar words in Yami language include “mata” (eyes), “araw” (day), “vahay” (home), “kanen” (eat), and “inomen” (drink), among others .
The Tao ethnic group is believed to have migrated to Orchid Island from the Batan Archipelago some 800 years ago.
In April, Mendoza said they will also open commercial flights to promote the destinations and culture of Virac, Catanduanes. This will be a welcome development for the province which is the backdoor to Caramoan, the top tourism destination in Camarines Sur which has become famous as shooting location of the international reality television show, Survivor, and year-round water recreational activities in both natural and man-made attractions.
Mendoza said they are also considering the tourism potentials of Catarman in Northern Samar and Surigao.
Aside from advocating cultural tourism, Mendoza said they have envisioned Skyjet to become a benchmark in the aviation industry in safety standards, customer care and service.
”By serving niche destinations, regardless of passenger traffic, we endeavor to contribute to the country’s economy by boosting local tourism while advocating for the preservation of natural resources and cultural heritage. We sell experience not seats,” he said. (PNA)