Proof that people are not just sitting laid back and let opportunities pass by in Calabanga was obtained when one businessman-resident offered his best foot forward a few months ago.
Melvin del Puerto presented a proposal for “an aggregate economic development initiative” for the town to Mayor Evelyn Yu, vice mayor Philip Dumalasa, members of the sangguniang bayan, heads of offices of LGUs and officers of the Calabanga business club last July 9. Del Puerto is a member of the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The noteworthy proposal focuses on multi-sector participation in the formation of a municipal coordinating council for economic development. It proposes to establish Calabanga as the commercial hub for the surrounding municipalities about San Miguel bay that includes Siruma, Tinambac, Bombon, Libmanan, Cabusao and part of Camarines Norte, particularly Mercedes.
Indeed, it will work well for Calabanga as the economic center of the area in a very limited capability. It is the only open and natural entry and exit point of goods and travellers for the towns of Tinambac (population. 59,125) and Siruma (pop. 17,035).
Cut-off the road access and the only way they can reach these towns is thru a motorized banca trip either from Sabang (Calabanga) or Bagacay (Tinambac) both on the waters of San Miguel bay.
Even in Bagacay, scheduled boat departures are always dependent on the tide due there is no excellent port facility (if one can consider the current embarcation point in Bagacay a port).
Residents of barangay Tamban (Tinambac) and its environs will have the option to go around the route that passes through mountainous areas by the Partido district town of Garchitorena or through the waters facing the vast Pacific ocean. I learned that Tambang is an excellent site for a port, though.
Business and trade with the people of Bombon (population, 14,083) is highly probable.
The Calabanga-Bombon-Tinambac-Siruma “economic” growth area has a total population of 163,576, a few thousands more than the residents that make up the city of Naga (160,516).
There will be relative constraints stretching the concept that would cover the towns of Libmanan (pop. 92,839), Cabusao (17,599) and Mercedes, Camarines Norte (pop. 44,375).
Mercedes is a long haul to consider although fishermen from Siruma at times dock at Mercedes. On the process they may be conducting trade or business, selling their catch or buying household goods to be brought home. There is no direct water traffic in terms of passenger exchange between Calabanga and Mercedes.
To illustrate, we visit our cousins in Mercedes by taking the bus at Naga city towards Camarines Norte’s capital town of Daet, a neighbor to Mercedes town. By the way, the present road from Tinambac to Siruma is now passable but still hazardous, bumpy and unpredictable.
Libmanan is by itself already a promising trade center, being the emerging nucleus of nearby Cabusao, which has the third highest population in the province, next to Iriga city. (Calabanga ranks sixth now surpassed by capital town Pili by over three thousand. The fifth is Rinconada district’s Nabua town.)
Isn’t it surreal that the towns of Calabanga, Libmanan, Tinambac, Siruma and Bombon were all carved from the old Spanish town of Quipayo now just a district of Calabanga!
But Libmanan has grown further ahead in terms of religious growth now being the seat of the Diocese of Libmanan. This development has a bearing, too, on the over-all progress and influence of the town.
For a robust exchange of trade and commerce to prosper, the physical infrastructure obtaining in the area will play a vital role. Libmanan has access to several mode of transport facility which include road arteries, Philippine National Railway service and water (through the Libmanan river).
Calabanga has the one lane (on both direction of the) provincial road that leads either to Tinambac/Siruma or Naga and beyond.
That could be the reason why Pili is economicallly advancing in leaps and bounds as compared to other towns in the province. It has the Naga airport in their backyard, the rail and the Maharlika highway, other than being most favored as the capital of the province. Also, Libmanan and Calabanga has no direct road links.
Despite these prospects, it would be to the good of the town and the people to give full support to the initiative. Never mind if this brings us back to the hard truth that always good intentions need to hurdle some test and road blocks along the way.
We can always look up to the government outside the local perimeters of Calabanga for guidance and support more specifically in the exension of road infrastructures to start with. And don’t forget the known capacity of people that holds the capital to fund favorable projects.
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