Bicol to revel in tourism rebirth with Mayon light show, hot air balloon fest | Inquirer News

Bicol to revel in tourism rebirth with Mayon light show, hot air balloon fest

/ 10:41 AM October 26, 2023

Bicol to get tourism boost with Mayon illumination and hot air balloon festival

FILE PHOTO: Hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey and Mayon Volcano in Bicol. | PHOTOS: AFP/

MANILA, Philippines — The Bicol Region is poised to raise its tourism scene with several upcoming projects expected to excite trippers and wanderers, Ako Bicol  Rep. Elizaldy Co said.

According to Co, discussions are ongoing to boost Bicol’s tourism with initiatives that include the illumination of the Mayon Volcano and the introduction of a hot air balloon festival, among others.


Co said a three-day “Bicol Loco Festival” is being planned with the Department of Tourism (DOT) to mirror the hot air balloon festival in Clark, Pampanga, or Cappadocia, Turkey. He said the conduct of this festival, which will also feature live concerts of prominent local and international artists, is being eyed for June or July.


“Imagine those scenes in Clark or Cappadocia in Turkey; we will bring it to Legazpi,” Co said in a speech during the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Municipal Hall in  Sto. Domingo, Albay.

READ: Tourism activities in Bicol back in full swing

“We’re coordinating… to see which international artists are available in Asia. We’ll try to bring them to Legazpi,” he added.

The chairman of the House committee on appropriations likewise disclosed plans to illuminate the Mayon Volcano – similar to what France did with the Eiffel Tower.

“Discussions are underway with [Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid] to finance the illumination of Mayon Volcano,” Co said.

“Consider this: it stands seven times taller than the Eiffel Tower. Its nightly glow will be a spectacle. With the Eiffel Tower drawing 30 million visitors, we anticipate surpassing Boracay’s annual 2 to 3 million tourists,” he added.


READ: Restive Mayon still attracting more tourists to Albay 

The lawmaker further revealed that aligned with the planned tourism projects are infrastructure improvements in the region, including the recently completed Legazpi International Airport, the ongoing construction of a cruise ship terminal in Legazpi, and an impending express train service that is anticipated to reduce current travel time from Manila to Legazpi significantly.

Co further said that infrastructure improvements like the construction of a cruise ship terminal in Legazpi and the revival of a train system from Manila are being considered to complement efforts to level up tourism in the Bicol Region.

“Once operational, the train express service is expected to cut down the travel time from Manila to around four and a half hours,” the party-list legislator said.

Bicol, a magnet for local and foreign tourists, suffered losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating lockdowns and travel bans.  According to the DOT, in 2021, Bicol’s tourism sector suffered losses of around P7.2 billion due to travel restrictions.

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In October 2021, the P4-billion Bicol International Airport started operations. It is touted as the country’s “most scenic gateway” with the iconic Mayon Volcano as its backdrop.

TAGS: Bicol, Elizaldy Co, Mayon, Tourism

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