Poro Point, La Union, Philippines
The Poro Point Lighthouse in La Union was built in 1885 during the Spanish colonial era to serve as beacon for ships and boats plying the sea at night. Bounded on the west by the west Philippine sea and on the east by the San Fernando bay, its apex is the highest elevation of the peninsula, and allows an unobstructed view of the panoramic landscape.
At the lighthouse, one can experience the beautiful sunrises and sunsets La Union is known for, while overlooking the undulating greens of the beautiful ‘The Cliffs Golf Course’ of Thunderbird Resorts and a coastline of pristine white sand. Atop the Poro Point Lighthouse, a tourist gets a glimpse of the best that Poto Point can offer.
Thus, the Poro Point Lighthouse is the perfect symbolism of the Poro Point Freeport Zone (PPFZ).
Featuring the Poro Point Lighthouse, a festival was conceptualized, in comparison with the ‘Panagbenga’ or the Flower Festival of Baguio City and the ‘Hot Air Balloon Festival’ of Clark. Dubbed as “SILLAG – The Poro Point Festival of Lights”, the festival, which will be launched on April 28, aims to boost the economic activities of the province and the whole region as a whole.
‘Sillag’ is an Iloco word which means moonbeam or illumination from the moon, and is similarly compared to the region’s booming business climate.
It is initiated by the Poro Point Management Corporation (PPMC), a member of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority Group which aims to promote the 6-hectare lighthouse property as a vital component of an Integrated Tourism Complex and attract domestic and tourists to create a mass market to encourage business and commerce in the PPFZ.
The ‘Sillag’ festival components include the following:
FLUVIAL PARADE – This is the highlight of the festival which will feature illuminated and decorated boats from participating government entities, business firms, and various stakeholders.
HOPE LANTERNS – The lanterns will be sold to government agencies, business firms, schools, various groups and organizations as well as individuals which will be released after the fluvial parade. Proceeds of which will go the PPMCs HELPS, a Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the corporation. HELPS stands for Health, Education and Environment, Livelihood Program including employment opportunities within the zone, and Strengthening Linkages.
MOA signing at the LIGHTHOUSE – The MOA covers the ‘Adopt-A-Lighthouse Project’ between PPMC and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). According to PPMC President and CEO Florante Gerdan, all lighthouses under the law is owned by the PCG. However, with the festival initiative, the PPMC requested PCG to handle and maintain the Poro Point Lighthouse.
UNVEILING OF THE CANVASS – The canvass will show the planned transformation of the lighthouse area. It will highlight the Spanish lighthouse, the renovated modern lighthouse, and refurbished shotgun house which could possibly be a museum and a souvenir shop at the same time.
It is also proposed in the UP Planades Development Framework Plan for the area that a multi-level observatory/viewing decks ending in circular platforms will be built that would serve as access points to water sports activities.
The six-hectare area will be built with restaurants, specialty shops, and green and open spaces, Gerdan said.
Other scheduled activities for the festival are concert featuring two bands; pyromusical show; children’s show featuring clown, magicians, jugglers and others to create a more festive atmosphere.
To draw more tourists, the scheduled one-day initial festival offers free rides to the area which is expected to be more complex and more exciting the coming years. (JCR-PIA 1, La Union)