Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mangroves sprout more ecotourism consciousness in Puerto Princesa

puerto princesa mangroveI tend to think of Palawan when talk touches on mangroves. Though mangroves are not limited to this province as they can be found in other parts of the country, it is interesting to note that according to www.scienceray.com, approximately ten percent of the country's about 400,000 hectares of remaining mangrove forests can be found here.bacungan mangrove fishermanThe importance of mangroves have oft-been repeated in mainstream media but it bears repetition -- they are vital to keeping the banks of waterways and estuaries from erosion; they provide a habitat for marine life along the banks; et al. It's heartening to hear then that in Palawan, the trend seems to be working in reverse. Case in point: in Bacungan, 20 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa, communities who used to cut mangroves and sell them as charcoal are now running ecotours that incorporate environmental preservation.bacungan fisherman 2Paddling through the Iwahig waterway leading to Honda Bay, it was good to see the banks lined with thick mangroves and seemingly teeming with birds and fishes, this last one evidenced by fishermen setting out their nets just along the shore. This reminded me of a photo assignment to Calauit two years ago when we saw Calauit Bay thick with mangroves. Ecotourism stands a real chance when the communities are really involved and the facts about long-term impact on their livelihood are put across.
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