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Albay, China to strengthen tourism partnership

By Sally L. Altea

LEGAZPI CITY --- Albay Gov. Edcel Lagman expressed his gratitude to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian for his pledge to help the tourism and digitalization agenda of the provincial government.

“Thank you, Mr. Ambassador Huang, for your commitment to help Albay with respect to two staples of my administration’s five five-point agenda - tourism and digitalization,” Lagman said.

Lagman said he will work together with the Provincial Tourism, Culture and Arts Office (PTCAO), Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Tourism for a comprehensive study on how to simplify issuance of Philippine visas to chartered flights coming from China that will arrive at the Bicol International Airport (BIA).

“My administration is open to working closely with other foreign countries through their respective embassies and ambassadors as long as the interests of our country and of Albay are secured,” Lagman said.

Xilian arrived in the province on Sunday, June 2. The dialogue with the local officials and visit to the evacuation center in Guinobatan, Albay and historic Cagsawa Ruins are part of his activities in the province.

Although covered with clouds, Mt Mayon’s beauty is still there, said Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian (center, with garland). He said he was overwhelmed to personally witness the volcano during his visit at the Cagsawa Ruins in the province of Albay on June 3, 2023.

‘’It is a great pleasure for me and my colleagues to be here in this province for the first time. We have been looking forward for this for a long time and as we landed at this province, we were overwhelmed by the beauty and warmth of the people here,” Xilian said.

The ambassador has earlier announced the P4 million worth of relief goods donated by China to the population affected by the restive Mayon Volcano.

“Delighted to get informed by DSWD Sec. Rex Gatchalian that the disaster relief goods worth 4M pesos donated by China were turned over to Gov. Edcel Layman of Albay. Hope the humble donation will relieve and comfort those affected families,” Xilian said.

Come to Albay

Xilian urged the Filipinos to visit China, and for Chinese residents in turn to visit the province of Albay.

‘’We have reopened our border. We welcome all of you to travel to China to make friends, to explore cooperation and opportunities,” he said.”

“At the same time, I also want to send a strong signal, a message to Chinese people that the province of Albay welcomes you, to explore the beauty of this province, to feel the warmth and hospitality of the people and to explore more opportunities of cooperations in the future,’’ he added.

In his visit at the Cagsawa Ruins, a historic landmark that serves as the remnant of the devastating Mayon eruption in 1814, Xilian further urged the Albayanos to remain positive despite the challenges of Mayon’s current situation.

‘’Change the danger into opportunity,’’ Huang said. (With reports from Cyryl Montales/PIA5/Albay)


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