Bulan, Sorsogon, April 23, 2009.
A big new development in the maritime transportation between Bulan Town and the mainland of Masbate Province was announced today by Sta. Clara Shipping Lines, thru its General Manager Antonio Sugahid, that it will start operations of their roll on roll off ferry on May 1.
In a courtesy audience with Mayor Helen De Castro, Municipal Administrator Luis G. De Castro and PIO Antonio G. Gilana, Mr. Sugahid said that that one ferry boat will ply the Masbate-Bulan route. It will have a two-hundred passenger capacity and can accommodate about nine buses. Departure time from Bulan Pier will be at 8:00 in the morning, arrival at Masbate port around 11:30 AM. Then it will depart Masbate at around 1:30 and arrive in Bulan by 5:30 in the afternoon.
Mayor De Castro welcomed this development as will be another added investment in the municipality and can help boost the economic sector especially among those living in the Port Area of Bulan. She added that Bulan is an investor-friendly municipality, and thanked the shipping line executive for the trust given the municipal government.
It can be remembered that on April 28, 2008, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo launched part of the Philippine Central Nautical Highway here in Bulan. This forms part of her economic agenda of linking the whole country through the nautical highways.
Historically, passengers from Masbate Island used to make Bulan as a connecting point for their travel to Manila and other Bicol Cities, but with the opening of the Pilar Port in Pilar Town, Sorsogon, many of the passengers were diverted to that area. Only those coming from the Dimasalang, Masbate area came to Bulan for their trips to Manila. But the M/V Kathleen sea tragedy in November last year and the closure by the DOTC of the Dimasalang Port once more prevented Dimasalang passengers from coming to and from Bulan.
With the start of the roro operations, it is projected that there will be a resurgence of maritime trips between Bulan and Masbate, since it will be more convenient on the part of the passengers plying the Masbate-Manila trips to utilize Bulan as connecting area.
In the meanwhile, at the Bulan Integrated Terminal there will be no change in the volume of transaction since most of the clientele served by it comes from Ticao Island towns and Bulan. It is even expected to increase services in view of the increase in the number of public convenience vehicles and private vehicles which will be coming in and out of Bulan.. (PIO-LGU-Bulan)