The ₱7.8-Billion Philippines’ biggest International Airport in CIC will open to the city of Gold & Waterfalls in June 15

New gateway to Northern Mindanao gets 'safety approval'

Situated in the center of the Cagayan- Iligan Corregidor (CIC), Philppines' one of the biggest International Airport is scheduled to open this Saturday June 15, 2013.

President Aquino inspected yesterday the 7.8-billion Laguindingan International Airport here, dubbed as the gateway to northern Mindanao, which is set to open on June 15.

The Laguindingan International airport, which can cater up to 1.6 million passengers a year, is the first newly-built airport to be opened under the Aquino administration. The new airport, a joint project of the Philippine government and the Export-Import Bank of Korea, however still lacks the Instrument Landing System (ILS) to accommodate flights beyond sunset. For now, the new hub will operate using visual flight rules (VFR) to assist pilots to operate the aircraft during daytime and clear weather.

Flights will depart the Laguindingan airport from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., except when there is severe weather disturbances, officials from the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines said.

"The navigational aids will be installed no later than May 2014. But we are trying to expedite that process to put all of these aids in place sooner than that," he added.

"It is much safer here compared to Lumbia airport. And that has been attested to by (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) director-general William Hotchkiss when they met with all the stakeholders," the President told Palace reporters in a chance interview.

The Lumbia airport in Cagayan de Oro City – a 30-minute drive from Laguindingan – is on an elevated and mountainous area, which is blamed for navigational problems, particularly during nighttime, apart from the zero or poor visibility during inclement weather. Flights are sometimes diverted to Cebu.

"The general opinion is even without the navigational aids, this Laguindingan Airport is safer than Lumbia, owing to its terrain, the ridges up to the approach when the planes take off," Aquino said.

The International airport in Laguindingan sits on a 180-hectare land in Barangay Moog, Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental, and is located 46 kilometers from the city center of Cagayan de Oro and 61.9 kilometers from Iligan City.

Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno thanked the Aquino administration and the Korean government for the facility.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the new airport is "one of the country's biggest," and is capable of accommodating A320-330 Airbus planes, which can carry more than 300 passengers.

He said airplanes can land here "any day of the year under any weather condition" and it is a "much safer" facility.

The idea of building an airport here was first raised during the time of Aquino's mother, the late President Corazon Aquino.

The Laguindingan International airport can connect to both Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities, and accommodate around 1.6 million passengers every year.

It is seen to boost the tourism department's "It's more fun in Philippines" campaign.

The airport has a terminal of 7,184 square meters. It was constructed with the support of Korea Eximbank with a loan of $48.2 million and export credit of $62.8 million, or $111 million of the total project cost of $167 million.

Abaya said the operation and maintenance of the Laguindingan airport would be bid out to the private sector through the public-private partnership program. 

What's inside the City of Waterfalls (Iligan City) and the City of the Golden Friendship (Cagayan de Oro City)?

Cagayan de Oro City - may very well be the happiest place in the country. The "City of Golden Friendship," as it is sometimes called, is home to especially friendly and warm Filipinos. Their ready smiles are a fitting welcome, with Cagayan de Oro's accessible location also making it the "Gateway to Northern Mindanao." of golden Friendship.

Cagayan de Oro's much talked-about whitewater rafting and river trekking makes it the premier whitewater destination in the country. The Cagayan de Oro River is famed for challenging rapids that quickly follow one after the other. It's really an experience like no other and well worth the initial scare. They say the wild river helps you discover your inner strength and endurance. Nice! Character-building fun!

Still not enough thrills for you? Make sure you visit the Macahambus Hill Cave and Gorge. Ask your Tourism officer about the Battle of Macahambus Hill, the first Filipino victory against the Americans. Admire the view from the 120-meter long Sky Bridge suspended 120 feet from the ground, and then take the 120-meter breathtaking zipline.

More action-packed fun awaits you at Jatico Adventures. A five-course zipline, ATV rides, and hiking trails are among the many things on offer.

Not to be missed are the Mapawa Nature Park for its waterfalls, trekking, and rappelling.

It's not all thrill rides though. What's a great adventure without culture and heritage?

Understand local customs and traditions at the Museo de Oro. Or acquaint yourself with the people of Northern Mindanao at the Museum of Three Cultures. and the Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village for its showcase of tribal houses of the Subanen Tribe set amidst nature trails.

At the General MacArthur Marker, you'll learn more about the role played by Cagayan de Oro in history and about US General MacArthur, one of the most important figures of World War II.

Admire the centuries-old stained glass panels of the Gothic St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral. While nearby, the tree-lined Gaston Park is a relaxing haven in the city.

In Cagayan de Oro, the month of August is synonymous with the Kagay-an Festival. This almost two week-long celebration has a carnival-like atmosphere, and is dedicated to its patron, St. Augustine. It's a full-blast party, with activities such as agricultural trade fairs and a cultural street dancing parade and competition. The highlight of the celebration is the Golden Float Parade. Make sure to bring your shades! The bright colors will dazzle you.

Cagayan de Oro has something for the eco-tourist as well as the sports lover. So, grab your backpacks and head to where nature's beauty will thrill you. This happy place could very well leave you with a smile on your face.

Iligan City – the City of Waterfalls

Iligan City is part of the province of Lanao del Norte. It's mostly bordered by land, except for its west where Iligan Bay lies. The city is made up of flat cultivated coastal land, volcanic hills, and mountains with waterfalls and cold springs.

The area's climate is temperate. The city isn't in the path of typhoons, and the rain falls evenly.

The city is part of the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor, the fastest developing area in Northern Mindanao. But while very much a city, Iligan is still connected to nature.

Of its approximately 20 waterfalls, Maria Cristina Falls is the grandest. Its power is such that It supplies hydroelectric power to a large part of Mindanao.

A little more unexpected is the National Power Corporation (NPC) Nature Park – a nature park within a hydroelectric power plant.

Natural springs are also an attraction. Of the more than a dozen known ones, the most popular is Timoga Cold Spring.

The 487-meter Mt. Agad-Agad may be Iligan's highest mountain, but it's an easy climb. It's a popular spot for hiking and camping.

Iligan also has something for the more laid-back traveler. The Anahaw Open Amphitheater is the city's premier music, sports and event venue.

There's also the Macaraeg-Macapagal Ancestral House, the only house in Mindanao that two Philippine presidents have lived in. The family of presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (his daughter) donated the house to the city government.

With report from PhilSTAR , Yahoo News and Its More fun in the Philippines

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