A vast array of mangroves, from tall to small ones, will greet you at the entrance of the 20-hectare Eco-Trail in Barangay Tomongtong, EB Magalona town in Negros Occidental.
But aside from the greenery, along its makeshift bridge made of bamboo, one can see many “hugot lines” about the environment.
Among the “hugot lines” are “Ang pag-ibig ko sa’yo ay parang kalikasan, pinipilit kong ayusin pero may sumisira pa rin (My love for you is like the environment, I work at fixing it but someone destroys it),” “Ang relasyon nga ginpabay-an mo, daw parehos na sang sitwasyon sa kalibutan nga indi na magkalaamo (The relationship that you neglect, is like the world situation that is a mess),” and many more.
The bridge extends toward the shoreline and has a makeshift bamboo tower where visitors can have a top view of the mangrove plantation. More cottages are also being built to cater to more guests.
EB Magalona environment and natural resources officer, Jojo Vargas, said that the nine coastal barangays of the town have mangrove areas.
The need to protect and rehabilitate the mangrove forest was highlighted in the recent activity at the mangrove site where school children, teachers, and residents of the barangay conducted a clean-up drive and mangrove planting.
Mangroves are very important because they protect residents in coastal areas from the strong wind and wavesbrought on by typhoons,and conserve fish and blue crabs as they servedas their homes, too, Vargas said.
EB Magalona town is known as the blue crabs capital of Negros Occidental, as it is considered the number one producer of blue crabs with nine picking plants where the meat of crabs are processed and exported to countries such as the United States.
Recently, EB Magalona received an award of first platinum for the province of Negros Occidental for the 2019 seal of good environmental governance, Vargas said.
The town also recently partnered with Allianz PNB Life who adopted the 10-hectare plantation through a financial aid of P150,000 for its restoration and conservation, Gae Martinez, chief marketing officer of Allianz PNB Life, said.
EB Magalona is the first town in the Philippine that Allianz is supporting, Martinez added.*
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