Monday, February 16, 2015

Legazpi Port is haven for Pacific Ocean-cruising ships
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 14 (PNA) –- The seaport here is haven for ships cruising the Pacific Ocean and voyage-weary seafarers, according to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

It is also the main channel for the exchange of seaborne commodities between the Bicol peninsula and certain trade centers in the country and the world, it said.

Nestled in the heart of the city beside the imposing splendor of Mt. Mayon, this national port of entry has immensely contributed to the geometric growth of Legazpi into a bustling commercial hub.

It is no wonder then that the city became the easy choice as the government center for Bicol where the regional offices of national government agencies are officially located, according to Rosenda Sumagaysay, PPA’s port manager here.

This port also serves as a mute witness to the transformation of the city from just a sleepy fishing settlement, originally called Sawangan that occupied what is now the Legazpi Port District, to a sparkling metropolis which now occupies a very prominent place in the tourism world, being widely known as the “City of Fun and Adventure.”

The city was adjudged last year as the second most livable, next to Iloilo, in the Livable Cities Design Challenge organized by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 National Organizing Council NOC), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Asia Society and Urban Land Institute (ULI).

In 2006, Legazpi was recognized as one of the “most competitive cities in the Philippines” by the Asian Institute of Management and cited in 2011 as the “most business-friendly city” for South Luzon by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Legazpi Port was first built as a makeshift wharf about a century ago and was improved into a permanent maritime transportation facility as it is now over years after it was partially destroyed by bombs during the World War II.

Situated at the mouth of Albay Gulf on the southern portion of the city, this port’s location is at latitude 13º 09’ north and longitude 123º 45’ east, Sumagaysay said.

Its port limits, on the other hand, is represented by an imaginary line extending from Pigbucan Point due north to its intersection, north to the mainland then along this latter line to the mainland, then along the shoreline of the mainland to Pigbucan Point, the point of commencement.

What also makes this port ideal for international ships cruising the Pacific Ocean, the PPA official said, is the city’s tidal type and range which is similar to that of Davao.

“It is semi-diurnal type and although there is some inequality, the principal variations follow the moon’s changing phases. The mean range is 3.9 feet and the diurnal range is 4.7 feet,” Sumagaysay said.

The port’s entrance channel is between Barao and Denson Reef, which is a deep and clear passage of about one mile in width while its turning basin for inter-island vessels is enclosed by concrete marginal wharf and the breakwater has a controlling depth of 26 feet within 110 yards off wharf.

The total port area, she said, is 22,129.98 square meters bounded on the northern side by the urban barangay of Sabang; on the south by the Embarcadero de Legazpi, a posh lifestyle hub within a sprawling world-class commercial complex covered by another urban barangay, Victory Village.

It has a newly completed backup area composing of 7,658.48 square meters available for storage area, a Philippine Ports Authority (PPA)-designated parking area for trucks and haulers used for discharging or loading of ship cargoes, a fish landing area and cold storage facility and a passenger terminal recently constructed by the city government. Insofar as Bicol is concerned, Sumagaysay said, the Legazpi Port is the busiest international maritime facility in the region, having an average of about 30 port calls monthly mostly cargo vessels from various parts of the country and several parts of the world.

The other major terminal ports in Bicol located in Tabaco City, Masbate City and Matnog and the secondary ports in Bulan and Sorsogon City (Sorsogon), Pasacao (Camarines Sur), Jose Panganiban (Camarines Norte) and Virac and San Andres (Catanduanes), she added, provide the city port here support in meeting the maritime transport requirements of the region. (PNA) LAM/FGS/DOC/CBD/ssc