Thursday, March 22, 2018

Dubai travel company eyes Paoay sand dunes exploration

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—A travel company based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is set to explore the famous Paoay sand dunes of Ilocos Norte for possible tourism investment partnership.

Rolly Galzote of the Ilocos Nortes Investment Office (INvest) said the Royal Blue Tour, an international travel company that provides a one-stop travel solutions to tourists will arrive in the province on February 26 to conduct ocular inspection at the sand dunes of Paoay.

INvest is the investment promotions and small business development arm of the Provincial Government.

According to Mr. Galzote, the Dubai company visit is a “big deal” for Ilocos Norte as talks are on-going for the company to pour in some investments here.

Since 2010, the provincial government in cooperation with the Palafox Associates has designed a Metro Ilocos Norte tourism masterplan where investors are welcome to partner with local government units here.

Covering an 88-hectare spread of sand and wild landscape, the Paoay sand dunes is part of the key tourism development plan of the province. It is just a few minutes’ drive from the Laoag International Airport and Currimao seaport. 

To date, the sprawling sand dunes is a major tourist destination for off-road vehicles, overlooking the West Philippine Sea.

It is also a favorite venue for the biggest arts and music festival, “Himala sa Buhangin” every month of May, transforming the majestic sand dunes to a haven of avant-garde art installations. Some of these include the sculptures of ‘Elsa,the iconic character played by award-winning actress Nora Aunor in the 1984 film ‘Himala’, ‘Flavioplayed by the late Fernando Poe Jr. from the classic film series ‘Ang Panday and the ‘Temptation Island’, a 2011 Philippine comedy drama film directed by Chris Martinez and starring Marian Rivera, Rufa Mae Quinto, Heart Evangelista, Lovi Poe, and Solenn Heussaff.

Film producers filmed all these legendary movies in the location recognizing the Paoay Sand Dunes as the ‘Center of Film Tourismin the Philippines in 2014.

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