By Restituto A. Cayubit
Cabucgayan, Biliran – This town has turned its mangrove forest into a tourist attraction.
Mayor Edwin Masbang said more and more tourists are visiting the mangrove project site referred to as “boardwalk.”
“The area showcases or demonstrates that environmental protection and conservation can go hand in hand with development, appreciation of nature and ecotourism,” Masbang said.
The boardwalk, a walkway built above the mangrove growth, attracts about 1,000 visitors from Mondays to Fridays and up to 5,000 during weekends.
“The place can give relaxation to visitors, and also provide them a place for communion with nature, enjoyment and a unique experience one can observe while in appreciation with the picturesque view of the area,” Masbang said.
The mangrove forest covers 18 hectares and provides a habitat for a number of bird, animal and fish species, he said.
There is a restaurant and cottages for rent and boating trips for tourists, the mayor said.
The boardwalk provides livelihood for about 100 fisherfolk in Barangay Looc.
Masbang said another popular destination is Kasabangan Falls, which is made up of 13 cascades.
Masbang said his office plans to improve the facilities for visitors in Kasabangan with help from the provincial government, the Department of Tourism and other concerned agencies.
Cabucgayan is a fifth-class town with a land area of 54.19 square kilometers and a population of 20,788.