By Daxim Lucas - Philippine Daily Inquirer
Imagine an underwater hotel room with a panoramic view of tropical fish swimming over large coral reefs, manta rays gliding in the water and turtles chasing after tiny squids. Science fiction ? Not if businessman Paul Moñozca can help it.
Moñozca, a Singapore-based financier who heads a group of international investors, plans to start a futuristic underwater resort off the island of Palawan as part of an aggressive venture into the ecotourism business.
The project, dubbed “Last Frontier Resort,” is expected to bring in a total of $1 billion in investments spread over a 10-year period—an average of $100 million a year which, its proponents hope, will help create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Palawan.
Moñozca—known for his advocacies of helping improve the overseas remittance business, acquiring stakes in the US professional basketball league and junior circuit stock car racing teams—is the main driver of the project. His Monaco-based philanthropic fund, dubbed “Spirit,” plays a lead role in the development of marine habitats and ocean protection initiatives.
The Last Frontier Resort will be built with submarine technology. When completed, the proposed underwater habitat will be the biggest in the world.
The project has been in the planning stage since last year, and its proponents have identified a group of islands in the Calamianes cluster as the site for development.
The site is owned by businessman and resort developer Steve Tajanlangit. It is made up of a group of seven islands in close proximity to each other, and another group of seven islands outside the main cluster.