New Clark City hailed as next top tourist destination in Luzon

Photo caption: BCDA Senior Vice President for Conversion and Development Engr. Joshua M. Bingcang discusses developments inside New Clark City, as well as opportunities for tourism investments during the recent Central Luzon Tourism Investment Summit and Business Exchange. BCDA photo

Highlighting New Clark City’s potential as the next choice tourist destination in Luzon, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) recently pitched this 9,450-hectare greenfield development to investors in the travel and tourism industry.

BCDA Senior Vice President for Conversion and Development Engr. Joshua M. Bingcang during the recent Central Luzon Tourism Investment Summit and Business Exchange (CLTISBEX) urged local and foreign investors to explore opportunities in New Clark City, especially in the field of ecotourism.

The summit was attended by 36 investors and agencies from the Philippines, Singapore, China, Japan and South Korea.

“BCDA is always open to tourism investments in New Clark City. Given its strategic location, rich biodiversity and vast open spaces, it is the perfect place for eco-theme parks and ecotourism projects,” Bingcang said.

He said BCDA also continuously looks for partners to increase mixed-use, retail, and food and beverage establishments in New Clark City.

In line with the vision to make New Clark City as the country’s next green, sustainable and smart urban center, BCDA’s master plan proposes that only 40 percent of the total land area will be built on, leaving 60 percent for forests, open spaces and parks. This makes New Clark City the perfect hot spot for ecotourism and outdoor recreational facilities.

Currently, New Clark City is already home to the 4.5-hectare River Park, which features a 1.4-kilometer walkway along the Cutcut River. There are also plans to develop the 44.8-hectare Central Park at the heart of the city, which will be one of the largest public parks in the country once completed.

The next tourist haven

During his presentation, Bingcang cited the qualities that make New Clark City a promising tourist and investment haven in the region.

For one, he said New Clark City’s strategic location, high elevation, and disaster-resilient features help ensure its resiliency against natural calamities, such as typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

Connectivity is also a main feature of New Clark City, with a network of infrastructure projects already existing or in the pipeline to make it a globally competitive destination.

This includes the Clark International Airport (CRK) and its new passenger terminal, which became operational on May 2. With state-of-the-art facilities, contactless features and inclusive amenities, the world-class gateway is expected to boost tourism arrivals in Central Luzon.

New Clark City will also become more accessible upon the completion of the North-South Commuter Railway.

Crucial road infrastructure projects are also being developed in the area, including the New Clark City to Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway Access Road, and the New Clark City to CRK Airport Access Road. There are also plans to develop a public transportation system inside New Clark City as locators and residents increase.

This rising metropolis stands to benefit from the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure Project (LBIP) by BCDA and the Department of Information Communications and Technology (DICT). Through the LBIP, special economic zones including Clark and New Clark City will be equipped with 500,000 megabytes per second (MBps) every year.

“We are already getting there. We’ve accomplished much of the infrastructure development. Our roads are already complete. The national government said let’s do all the design in accordance with the long-term requirement. We should already future-proof it,” Bingcang said.

 

2-time Olympic Medalist Kayla Sanchez eyes training in New Clark City

Impressed with its facilities and amenities, two-time Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Medalist Kayla Sanchez has expressed interest in training at the New Clark City Aquatics Center in Tarlac, as she hopes to represent the Philippines at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

“It has the best facilities I have ever seen. It’s breathtaking. The view and the location – I have no words. When you’re actually in the facility itself, it just has everything you need. I am so excited to be able to train here,” 21-year-old Sanchez said after testing the waters of the New Clark City Aquatics Center.

Raised in Canada and born in Singapore to Filipino parents, Sanchez is eyed as the Philippines’ best hope to end a 90-year medal drought in Olympic swimming as she targets to compete for the Philippines at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

The double Tokyo Olympics medalist, together with around 30 invited young Filipino swimmers from the Philippine Swimming Incorporated (PSI) on Saturday, July 9, trained and had a friendly relay at the New Clark City Aquatics Center. Some of its features are a whole-body air dryer, the Swiss Timing sports equipment, year-round water temperature of 26 degrees Celsius, and its accessibility to the 525-unit Athletes’ Village.

Photo caption: Young Filipino swimmers from Central Luzon are more than happy to train at the New Clark City Aquatics Center with no other than Double Olympic Medalist Kayla Sanchez.

“May this serve as affirmation for Kayla and to the young Filipino swimmers who are with us today that there is promise for the Philippines and its athletes here to train, compete and succeed at the highest level,” said Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Senior Vice President for Corporate Services Group Arrey A. Perez.

New Clark City was the main venue of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, where the athletics and aquatic events were held. Nineteen SEA Games records were broken in the competition pool during the 30th SEA Games. In December 2020, the New Clark City was cited as the 2019 Sports Tourism Venue of the Year at the 4th Philippine Sports Tourism Awards.

Photo caption: BCDA SVP Arrey A. Perez welcomes Ms. Sanchez, PSI President Lani Velasco and 30 young Filipino swimmers in New Clark City Aquatics Center

“With the arrival of Kayla to the team, PSI seeks to ensure that she will be equipped to achieve her goals in the same way that PSI does for its current roster of athletes. This includes training in world class facilities like the New Clark City. So we are happy to be here today to present to you Kayla, but also to show to her the world-class facilities here in New Clark City,” said PSI President Lani Velasco.

The New Clark City Aquatics Center is the only Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA)-approved swimming facility in the Philippines. With a total seating capacity of 2,000, it features a 10-lane competition pool, eight-lane training pool and a diving pool.

The competition pool, the training pool, and the diving well were designed and installed by Myrtha Pools –– an official FINA partner and leading builder of made-to-measure competition pools. The New Clark City Aquatics Center is part of the National Government Administrative Center Phase 1 project.

Finis partners with BCDA for use of New Clark City sports facilities

BCDA Officer-in-Charge President and CEO Atty. Aristotle B. Batuhan and Finis Philippines Managing Director Vince Garcia (third and fourth from right, respectively) on March 25, 2022 led the signing of the MOU and letter agreement between BCDA and Finis Philippines for the promotion and use of sports facilities in New Clark City. BCDA SVP for Corporate Services Arrey Perez (second from right) and Finis Philippines Director Marieta Herranz (second from left) served as witnesses. Elite swimmers Kyla Soguilon (leftmost) and Jasmine Mojdeh (rightmost) were in attendance to show their support.

Giving a boost to Philippine sports amid the country’s transition to the new normal, swim gear company Finis Philippines has partnered with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to jumpstart sports activities and deliver grassroots competitions at New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

BCDA Officer-in-Charge President and Chief Executive Officer Atty. Aristotle. B. Batuhan and Finis Philippines Managing Director Vince Garcia on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signaling the start of collaborative efforts to promote New Clark City and to hold various events in the sports facilities in the area.

Under the MOU, both parties are eyeing sustained cooperation over a one-year period, and renewable for another year.

“We at the BCDA would like to thank Finis Philippines for choosing New Clark City as their venue of choice for its competitions and training camps. With the country now shifting to the new normal, the BCDA is looking forward to opening its doors to more swimmers and athletes in New Clark City, giving them access to world-class sport facilities,” Batuhan said.

Positioned as the new premiere sports destination in the country, the New Clark City sports complex is the first major sports hub built by the government since the completion of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in 1934.

This consists of the Fédération Internationale de Natation’s (FINA)- approved Aquatics Center, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)- certified Athletics Stadium, and the 525-room Athletes’ Village accommodation facility.

Finis Philippines is the sole authorized distributor of US-based swim gear brand Finis, which specializes in technical devices used for swim training and competition, as well as technical swimwear. Its training products are widely used by elite swimmers and swim coaches in the US, Australia, Europe and Asia.

“Finis exudes elite swimming since all its training gear innovations are developed to make the best of the best. We only find it fitting that we kick off our very own swim competitions with the best and only global standard facility in our nation. This is precisely why we chose BCDA and its New Clark City Aquatics Center,” Garcia said.

Elite Filipino swimmers were in attendance at the Aquatics Center as a show of support for the partnership between BCDA and Finis. They include Kyla Soguilon, multiple winner of the Athlete of the Year award by the Philippine Sportswriters Association, and national swimming team record holder Jasmine Mojdeh.

Competitions for adults, kids

Also during Friday’s event, BCDA and Finis signed the letter agreement for the hosting of the 2022 Short Course Swim Competition Series – Luzon leg on March 26 to 27, and the first Kids of Steel (KOS) Triathlon on March 27 at the New Clark City Aquatics Center.

The two-day short swim competition series’ heats will have timed finals, sorted into eight age groups based on the participant’s age as of December 31, 2022. The best swimmers in each category will have a chance to compete for the Finis National Finals this June, also at the New Clark City Aquatics Center.

Meanwhile, the KOS Triathlon, officially sanctioned by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), will continue the grassroots level of scouting potential young triathletes. Promising participants may be asked to join the developmental training program of TRAP.

“Our hearts go out to all kids that were cooped up for two years. It has affected their social skills in interacting with other kids, as well as other people. When Level 1 restrictions of the pandemic were announced, we thought that it was the perfect time to have the kids to finally come out and play. Sports is very important to hone the life skills of kids and we should all nurture that,” Garcia said.

Garcia added that, ”Once we get our momentum, we have other sports to host in the near future. In the pipelines are the Finis Long Course Swim Competition Series, Open Water Swim Races, Aquathlons, and lots of swim-related training clinics to develop everyone to love the sport of swimming.”

To protect the health of the staff and participants, BCDA and Finis assured that minimum health and safety protocols will be strictly implemented during the events.