Did you know that the Philippines has the second-highest number of mangrove species in the world? However, more than 70% of the total area has been lost to land development, pollution, and deforestation. This is a catastrophe as mangroves play very important roles in the ecosystem.
Mangroves act as home and nursery to a large number of aquatic animals. According to studies, there are more fish in areas with mangroves compared to those that don’t. Mangrove plants are also a source of wood, fuel, and medicine to locals and fodder to cattle. Recently it is also used in the commercial production of pulp, wood chip, and charcoal.
Compared to an artificial seawall, mangroves offer natural protection against coastline erosion caused by waves and sedimentation. It may not stop storm surges but it minimizes the destruction and loss of life by absorbing most of the impact. During super typhoon Yolanda in Leyte, the town of Palompon suffered minimal losses due to the presence of mangroves. Search for best hotels in Tacloban City, Leyte.
Lastly, being natural means it is more lively than a drab seawall. Combine that with the beach and sea and you may have a tourist hot spot in the making. The income generated can be used to maintain and expand the mangrove.
I and Ting together with Nenen & kids and Suzette decided to check out the Katunggan Mangrove Park in Brgy. Gua-an, Leganes.
The park is about 9 hectares and is one of the several projects in Panay and Guimaras involving the conversion of abandoned fishponds to mangroves. Find great accommodation in Guimaras Island.
The project, spearheaded by the Zoological Society of London was started in 2009. With the help of volunteer labor composed of students and employees of municipalities, gov’t agencies and private companies species of Sonneratia alba and/or Avicennia marina were actively planted and together with assisted natural regeneration, a mangrove forest was established in just 3 years.
The road going to the park is narrow and rough and we have to traverse several dried up fishponds before reaching it. The lush vegetation that greeted us is proof that the project’s aim is a success. We walked on a raised bamboo walkway and see nothing but green with the occasional presence of birds and other wildlife. Along the path, there’s a bamboo tower with a vantage point. I was the only one who dared to climbed it as it is rickety but once on top, it’s worth the risk as the view is awesome.
At the very edge, there’s a hut on stilts, with Guimaras island in the background and the sunset, it’s a good place to rest.
After the green rush in Katunggan, we went back to Iloilo City so we can meet our good friend, Roy and had dinner at Bistro Ocean City located in Ayala Technohub building. Look for excellent hotels in Iloilo.
Having our tummies filled, we had a sip at Red Paprika in Smallville Complex, where there’s a live band that kept us in a relaxed mood with their music before calling it a day.
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