Bikol Visitors During Holy Week Swell

Increase in number of pilgrims also noted
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Legazpi City  - More than 10,000 visitors have flocked to Bikol for the duration of the Holy Week commemoration, reported the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Based on PCG Bicol's records, an estimated 8,900 passengers have entered the 11 ports of the region since Holy Thursday (1 April). This number was expected to have reached 10,000 by Saturday, 3 April.

Despite the surge of visitors to Bikol's ports, PCG authorities noted that sea craft operations in the said ports remained largely orderly and adequate.

The Coast Guard also assured that notwithstanding gusty winds and occasional swelling of waves, sea vessels transporting passengers had been checked for safety.

In the meantime, the PCG also reported intensifying its vigilance regarding "colorum" sea vessels which are expected to take advantage of the increased number of passengers attending Holy Week celebrations in Bikol.

PCG Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo had recently issued a directive against "colorum" marine vessels and the overcrowding of passenger sea crafts.

In a radio interview, Tamayo revealed that they had apprehended and are investigating 30 sea vessels suspected of violating existing maritime regulations.

Meanwhile, local church authorities in Bikol have also observed an increase in the number of churchgoers during the Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

They said that many of the visitors have come not only for the region's tourist spots, but to make a pilgrimage as well to INA or Our Lady of Peñafrancia whose 300th year of devotion is being celebrated this year.