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''Hundred Islands'' City gears up for 2006 Global Homecoming

The City of the Hundred Islands will roll out the "red carpet" for its returning sons and daughters who have been living and working in every corner of the globe and in some parts of the country when 2006 Hundred Islands Global Homecoming and City Fiesta celebration unfold on March 11. This will be a perfect time to reminisce special memories with nostalgia, to renew bonds of friendship and camaraderie, and thanked Almighty God for blessings showered upon us all these years, said Alaminos City Mayor Hernani A. Braganza of his latest brainchild.

The Global Homecoming is also geared towards gathering substantial support from Alaminian communities abroad to reposition the Hundred Islands National Park (HINP) back to the world''s tourism map. Braganza, who also served as agrarian reform and press secretary, stressed "Our dear Kabaleyans could finally check out the immense transformation of the city and its pride-the Hundred Islands National Park which is currently undergoing major rehabilitation and see first-hand the innovative programs that we have introduced to attain growth with equity for our people."

"We will encourage Kabaleyans, foreign friends and corporate entities to extend their fair share for the city''s continued development and progress by considering Alaminos as their next investment destina-tion and could start engaging in agri-trade and tourism business," he added. Guided by its theme "Baley Co, Aroen Co, Gali La!!!", an array of fun-filled events and activities were lined up to showcase the best that city can offer to the world and for the Balikbayans to enjoy their nostalgic visit here that include grand parades, grand reunions, adventure races and sports events, investment tours, trade and food fairs, video exhibit and cultural shows.

Also not to be missed are the search for Miss Alaminos Hundred Islands 2006, the Family Trade House Amateur Singing Contest, nightly street parties and family-oriented affairs like the Children's Magical Night and the McDonalds and Jollibee shows. It is by far the biggest and most highly anticipated event in the city's history that culminates with the City Fiesta Celebration on March 19 in honor of Patron Saint Joseph. The event is likewise regarded as prelude to "Visit the Hundred Islands Year 2007" which will be launched during the week-long festivities to celebrate the historic turn-over of the park by the national government to the city of Alaminos and rediscover the magic of the new Hundred Islands.
After 65 years, the first declared national park is now back in the arms of Alaminians. And the city government has the direct control, supervision, management and development over the park. The city government targets to lure in 250,000 tourists a year which is attainable as evidenced by the increased tourists arrival last year and the recent survey conducted by the Asia Pacific Management Forum (APM) that ranked HINP as 3rd "Best Place" to visit in the Asian region.

The Mayor once said that Hundred Islands is God's gift to mankind that must be preserved and pro-tected for the next generations of Alaminians, Pangasinenses and tourists to enjoy and experience. With the coming home of hundreds of balikbayans and foreign friends, Braganza could finally present the grand design or development master plan of the city in its quest for the Vision of Global Alaminos by 2015 and contribute for a better nation and a better world. He said the city, which is the fourth largest economy in Pangasinan, needs huge investments to boost local tourism and promote the Hundred Islands as the country's premiere tourist spot. (CIO)