Since I was a kid, I can’t remember watching a plane resting the tarmac, let alone landing in the Bacon Community Airport. My mom would use to tell me that she would take a plane from Bacolod to Sorsogon via Manila; PAL flew YS-11 then. She told me that the flight to Sorsogon was gut wrenching due to the mountains nearby (would it cause turbulence?), or at least that what she told me.
When I was a kid, somebody would refer me to it on our way to Bacon Beach. But for a while, I didn’t know that the runway could be seen after crossing the bridge dividing San Roque and Bibincahan (in Sorsogon district, then, was still the town capital). I think it was late in my elementary years that I get to figure it out.
And I wasn’t able to get inside the compound until I was in college – it was a popular place to learn how to drive. Of course, aside from driving straight, you learn how to avoid hitting the water buffalos grazing in the runway!
But then, I was fully aware of its existence since there was an attempt to rehabilitate the runway. On your way to Bacon proper, you could see a large notice opposite of the San Roque Cockpit stating the project, how much, so on and so forth. Initially, you could see earth movers crossing the Bacon-Sorsogon road or hear heavy equipments’ engines. But some claimed that the project to be one-of-those-projects; others claimed that it didn’t push through because the locales of San Roque and San Isidro pressed the contractor to hire their own people who were not capable of working on the project.
It didn’t matter, nothing came about the rehab project.
Reviving the Airport
There were several attempts to revive the airport. I could still remember when Loida Nicolas took a plane that landed on the said airport and it should be followed by a regular trip – nothing after that. I did get some feedback from one of the FB accounts about Bacon that small commuter planes do land there, but only during election. Makes sense to me.
But I doubt if it can still compete with the future Daraga International Airport. Furthermore, one of the difficulties of reviving the community airport is because Bulan, which has its own community airport (a former air base during the Japanese times, if I am not mistaken) to compete with. In any case. it seems that both are dead projects.
Status as of December 2009
Last 2009, I visited the place to take some pictures. it’s being protected by squad of soldiers from the 9th ID (based in Camarines Sur). The sentry prohibited me from taking a picture of the office just beside the tarmac (or open grass field to be more specific) since they are using it as a camp; but he allowed me to take pictures of the other portion of the airport. According to one of the soldiers who talked to me, they were tasked to stop non-authorized personnel of gaining access to the place. They are especially focusing on those people trying to cross the runway to San Isidro from San Roque and vice-versa.
I tried looking for additional information about the airport, but I found none. It would be interesting to know how long the runway is, and how big the area is as well.
- Aviation Training Air Field – there’s an increase on demand of trained pilots in Asia-Pacific, especially in China. Perhaps, developing the Bacon Community Airport as another training center for future pilots. Of course, this will still require some additional investment from the government, especially on the status of the runway or perhaps navigation aids (why not take the facilities from Daraga Domestic Airport and transfer it here?). The hard part on this one is that Sorsogon is on the typhoon belt, aside from the cost of rehab of the infrastructure.
- Export Processing Zone – this might be a long shot since this will depend on a lot of factors. I think one of the challenges here, considering that Sorsogon experiences 20+ typhoons in a year, can the infrastructure ensure that employees can still go to work. Companies on the EPZs are running on tight margin, so any downtime can be expensive. Another factor to consider here is that, depending on the industry that is going to invest on this zone, can Sorsogon or nearby provinces supply the necessary manpower?
- Agro-Industrial Economic Zone – It’s located beside 2 major roads – one connecting to Sorsogon District, and another a diversion road to Brgy. Buhatan going south to Casiguran or Gubat. So transportation of goods is easy and the place is also accessible. It’s also surrounded by fertile ground and nearby farms (I guess mostly rice and coconut based on the Google Map).
Anyway, I am just day dreaming. But then again, somebody might have a bright idea and simply does something to make use of that huge tract of land.
Note: Google Map now has high resolution coverage of the Eastern portion of the airport.