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Global Ilocano masterplanner sees greater development in Ilocos Norte

LAOAG CITY — “We would like to see Ilocos Norte as a walkable, bikeable, and livable province. Integrating the places for living, working, and playing in a proximate distance with each other,” Architect–Urban Planner Felino “Jun” A. Palafox Jr. remarked during the presentation of the Ilocos Norte development masterplan at the Provincial Capitol Auditorium, Laoag City, last February 3.

Part of the 202nd Founding Anniversary celebration’s “Open Capitol: Ilokano Creatives Fest” was the “New Ilocano Infrastructure,” the launching of “2020 Ilocos Norte Masterplan Project” and a presentation of the “Big 3” infrastructure projects of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN).

Born in Bacarra town, the multi-awarded Palafox revisited and discussed the “Ilocos Norte Development Masterplan.”

“Ilocos Norte has so much development potential. If you look at the topography, we have the lowlands, midlands, and the highlands. Each of the 23 towns and cities can be destination areas,” he acknowledged.

Known for his “green architecture” projects, Architect Palafox emphasized the principle of “green urbanism” in the province’s masterplan concept which incorporates “compact, pedestrian, and environment-friendly development.”

His proposed plan for Metro Ilocos Norte in 2010 includes the construction of tourist information center, wakeboarding facility, and campsite in Paoay Lakeshore Quays; while potential sand museum, watchtower, and golf course are included in Paoay Sand Sports Adventure.

Moreover, a budding floating restaurant, fisherman’s village, and bonsai farm are proposed for Pasuquin Mangrove Farm; while construction of boardwalk is projected for Kapurpurawan Rock Formation to cater to wheelchair users, among others.

“For the Laoag University Belt, we will activate the streets and line it with more activities. Our proposed plan is to make it more walkable and bikeable,” Architect Palafox noted.

“I have done work in 40 countries and more successful cities and countries have visionary leadership, strong political will, value appreciation of urban planning, value appreciation of good design, and good governance. I think these ingredients of success are here. It just has to be developed properly,” he added.

Aside from Architect Palafox, Architect Rex Hofilena gave an in-depth discussion on “Designing Ilocos Norte” while Architect Miguel Guerrero discussed on “Sustainable Design of the Capitol Expansion Building” and Architect William Ti presented “The Stadium of the North.”

“Ilocos Norte Tourism Development Masterplan of 2010” was the first masterplan commissioned by PGIN which aimed to upsurge its tourism industry in the most progressive yet sustainable manner.