Bantay Kalikasan

Bantay Kalikasan and EDC collaborate for a new eco-tourism project in Albay

Theadora C. Malvar
April 23, 2019

Energy Development Corporation (EDC) and Bantay Kalikasan (BK)– the environment arm of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. (ALKFI) – signed a Memorandum of Agreement for a new eco-tourism project in Manito, Albay.

Manito is a 4th class municipality in the province of Albay where the common sources of livelihood are agriculture, particularly the making of soft brooms, and fishing. It is also proven to be a rich source of mangroves and one of the largest mangrove areas in the Philippines, with 193.54 hectares. Over 40 species of birds, some of which are endangered and rare, can be found in the area.

However, people barely know Manito as a place rich in mangroves because of the deforestation of 169 hectares out of 194.53. This led EDC to reforest 90% of the forest reserve

Manito consists of 15 barangays and two of which (Barangays Cawit and It-ba) will house the new eco-tourism site where a boardwalk will be constructed along the Mangrove forest.

Bantay Kalikasan and the Energy Development Corporation sign MOA for new eco-tourism project in Albay (L-R: Liezel Salagubang (Watershed Management Officer of EDC), Atty. Allan Barcena (Head of Corporate Social Responsibility of EDC), Susan Afan (Managing Director of ALKFI), Angelita Lara (Chief Finance and Services Officer of ALKFI), and Jen Deomano Santos (Program Director of Bantay Kalikasan) | Photo by Tiara Imperial

According to Liezel Salagubang, the Watershed Management Officer of EDC, they decided to explore other potential opportunities while planning the project leading them to choose Manito. “Manito Mangrove Area was identified as one of the potential base products, because you can see other circuits around the area,” she said.

EDC believes that the mangrove eco-tourism project will instill pride in the locals through the resources they have.

The project will provide a lot of benefits to the community such as more job opportunities, increase in businesses, and a sustainable income. The challenges that come with the project, however, is the increasing population, which leads to an increasing demand of livelihood and pressure on natural resources; pollution in the area due to people making a dumpsite out of the mangrove area, and illegal deforestation.

Under the partnership, Bantay Kalikasan will be responsible in bench marking excursions, coaching and mentoring of barangay leaders and locals, creation and promotion of the eco-tourism site, and conducting Earth Warrior Training to the people’s organization that will man the project. This training aims to motivate locals to improve the state of the mangroves by empowering them to become stewards of the environment. Bantay Kalikasan will also advise and provide overall technical assistance to EDC during the project implementation.

With this collaboration between ALKFI and EDC taking place, the country can expect another beautiful location to travel to.