Philippines: Before Boracay there was Sicogon

Philippines: Before Boracay there was Sicogon

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From the late 1970s to the early 1980s, Sicogon Island was a mecca for tourists long before neighboring Boracay Island became a household name.

A coup d’etat in 1986 that left about 300 foreigners stranded on the island and the political instability that followed dealt a deadly blow to what could have been Panay Island’s crown jewel.

But Sicogon has retained its original attractions that had once drawn many to its chartreuse and turquoise waters ringed by other island gems, most notable of which are the Gigantes Islands in this northern Iloilo town. Having survive.

Currently on the drawing board are plans by Sicogon Development Corp. (Sideco) owned by the Sarrosa family to develop the family-owned 809 hectares (out of the island’s total 1,160 hectares) into a five-star resort with a seaport and airport.

But the planned P10-billion project, a joint venture with a foreign partner, has hit a snag with a group of residents claiming Sideco had ejected them from their homes, forcing them to live on the island’s forested land which they claim is public land and which they can freely occupy.

Iloilo Business Club executive director Lea Lara said Sicogon Island had a great potential as a tourist destination.

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