, May 27 , 2004
By Ding Cervantes  —  This former US Air Force base continues to undergo a metamorphosis. From being almost exclusively American before the US military abandoned it in 1991, Clark Field is taking in the Koreans, the Chinese and the Japanese.

Emmanuel Angeles, president and chief executive officer of the Clark Development Corp. (CDC), has bared plans for directional signs and even menus in restaurants at the Clark special economic zone, which are often written in English, to also have Korean, Chinese and Japanese translations.

"We also plan to establish an academy where golf caddies will be taught the Korean and Japanese languages, culture and history for them to have better rapport with the growing number of tourists visiting Clark," he said.

He said the academy would open overseas jobs for Clark caddies as he noted the increasing demand for them in Korea and Japan.

This, after South Korea’s Asiana Airlines started to fly this month its 260-seater Boeing 767 between the Incheon International Airport in Seoul and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) here.

Hyunil Kim, Asiana Airlines regional manager, announced that by July, the carrier will increase its flights between the two airports to five times weekly. He said almost all of their current flights are nearly fully booked by Korean tourists.

Within this year, Angeles said an average of 350 Chinese tourists are expected to fly to Clark daily. Japanese tourists are also frequenting this ecozone.

Kim said the increased flights in July are timed for the summer vacation of Koreans. From Clark, Korean tourists also visit other parts of the country.

The other day, Asiana Airlines signed here an agreement with domestic carrier Asian Spirit which would provide flights between Clark and Boracay.

About 50 Koreans in every Asiana flight go to Boracay, Asiana officials said.

Jack Po, Asian Spirit executive vice president, said the flights to Boracay would be timed with the five Asiana flights weekly from Korea.

"We will see if we can also increase our Boracay flights to five times this July," Po said.

It would be the first time for Asian Spirit to fly to Boracay from Clark Field, although it has been flying between Manila and Boracay since 1996.

Angeles said the promotion of Clark Field’s tourism would help President Arroyo, should she be proclaimed winner in the May 10 elections, to fulfill her promise of creating one million jobs per year.

"Tourism will create job opportunities in Central Luzon," he said.

Meanwhile, Angeles said call centers in Clark are expected to create no less than 20,000 jobs in the next few months. In fact, he said Cyber City, one of the call center firms, is in need of about 5,000 people.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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