IN THE KNOW: Fuga, Grande, Chiquita Islands | Inquirer News

IN THE KNOW: Fuga, Grande, Chiquita Islands

07:24 AM August 07, 2019

Fuga Island is part of the Babuyan archipelago, the second-northernmost island group of the Philippines.

The Fuga island group consists of Mabog, Barit and the main island of the same name. With a population of 2,015 in 2015, the group is one of the 42 barangays in Aparri town, Cagayan province.

With its pristine white sand beaches and wild flora and fauna, Fuga Island has been designated as part of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone under Republic Act No. 7922.

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The island group was owned by the Dominican Order of Friars, or Orders of Preachers, under the encomienda system during the Spanish colonial period. It was turned over to the Philippine colonial government after the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1898 that ceded control of the Philippine islands to the United States.

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Fuga was later privately owned by the Sycip family and then Alfonso Lim and Tan Yu. The first land title was issued in 1908.

Fuga Island is currently owned by Fuga Island Holdings Inc., whose majority owner was identified by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority as Roger Serafica.

Its affiliate, Isla Fuga Pacific Resorts Inc., possesses the landholding rights and is the beneficial leaseholder of the island.

In May 2019, a separate strategic cooperation agreement was signed between Xiamen-based Fong Zhi Enterprise Corp. and Isla Fuga Pacific Resorts Inc.

Grande, Chiquita islands

Grande Island, at the mouth of Subic Bay, was the site of an American military reservation, known as Fort Wint, during World War II.

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In the early 2000s, when Subic Bay Freeport enjoyed a tourism boom, a private developer built a 44-hectare water park with cottages and restaurants on the island.

Called Grande Island Resort, the 94-room hotel is accessible by a 20-minute ferry ride from the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. In late 2015, the resort closed down, but the historic fort on Grande Island remains a tourist destination.

Some historical shipwrecks lie on the seabed of Subic Bay near Grande. San Quentin, the oldest known wreck, is a wooden gunboat scuttled by the Spaniards in 1898 in a futile attempt to block the channel between Grande and Chiquita islands from the invading Americans.

The coral reef on the west side of Chiquita fronting Redondo Mountain is considered one of the popular dive sites in Subic Bay.

In April 2019, a $298-million deal between GFTG Property Holdings and Sanya CEDF Sino-Philippine Investment Corp. was signed to develop Grande and Chiquita islands. —Inquirer Research

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Sources: Inquirer Archives, pna.gov.ph, Choose Philippines website, PSA

TAGS: Fuga Island, In the Know

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