Iloilo International Airport: A gateway for tourists, a portal of hope for Ilonggos
Many things have been said about our new Iloilo International Airport – modern, beautiful, clean, safe, comfortable, etc. But have anyone noticed the boost in morale it brought to us Ilonggos? After the Iloilo Airport had been inaugurated, it’s as if a dose of enthusiasm gripped our province. It’s like we can dream again, and this time a dream come true. So much for being sentimental, but truly do you think the new airport is just a structure where airplanes land?
I first saw the airport few months after it became operational. It was early in the morning when our flight arrived from Manila (I was attending the blessing of our new house in Molo; and months later I settled in Iloilo). When I stepped in the airport, I asked “Hey, did our plane went back to Centennial?”. It was clean, very modern in design, the staff where orderly, and I could even smell that “uy! bago ito!” scent. It’s more than just an impression about the airport, it molded my view about Iloilo as a whole.
In the first decade of the new millennium, the Iloilo airport together with other string of infrastructure projects were initiated and neatly completed. Together with these projects came the investors’ and local businessmen’s confidence and enthusiasm. But to the common people, it was something else. For me, from decades of stagnation it’s as if the sleeping Queen City is now rising. And she’s coming back with extravagance more than ever before, taking her rightful place in the country. She’s calling her people to also wake up and claim that prosperity which had eluded us.
So what now? Maybe I exaggerated my previous statements, but I believe they accurately described how majority of us feel now. Didn’t you feel the same before? Have you felt that jolt in your nerves when you saw that we can actually build and operate a facility with international standards? (Well, scores of Ilonggo seamen are navigating huge ships across Panama canal every week, an airport would just be “chicken”?)
The Iloilo International Airport is not just a facility, it’s an icon. It represents our ability to create, build and be proud of what we can do. I can fill this page with the airport’s specs and how it came to existence. But will that matter to you? What matters now is what to make of our airport and how we could maintain the momentum we have right now. A writer noted that Iloilo Airport is just it is. It’s a well decorated gate to a creaking old mansion.
So fellow Ilonggos, after all what I have written above, here’s my simple message: the airport for me is not just something to be admired; it’s a challenge – a challenge to dream, create and be proud of what we can do.Cabatuan, development updates, Iloilo City, Metro Iloilo - Guimaras, Sta. Barbara