A site for an eco-tourism and mangrove park will soon rise in Parian Oeste and Pudoc villages, Bauang, La Union.
Engr. Rainier Calica, municipal administrator of Bauang, said the tourist development plan dubbed as ‘Project Bakawan: Eco-Tourism and Mangrove Park’ is aimed to increase the town’s tourist influx, uplift the quality of life of the community through livelihood programs, and engage all stakeholders in the preservation and conservation of the area.
“We will establish a community-based eco-tourism group that will support the development and ensure the implementation of the project,” said Calica.
More than 103 families are seen to benefit from the said project. These families will be involved in the conduct of organized study tours; water activities management on kayaking, boat rides and other possible water activities; and entrepreneurship skills development for products and services that will be offered.
“This will be a long process but we all know that we cannot do this alone. With the help and support of our partners in the government service and other external stakeholders together with the beneficiary community, this Project Bakawan will be a success,” Calica said.
Bauang Eco-Tourism Management Board (BEMB), an advisory group, composed of different key offices of the LGU, the village chiefs, and the president of the fishermen’s cooperative was formed to plan, coordinate, and monitor the development of the area.
“This Project Bakawan will be of big help to our community. We will have a beautified and healthy environment and the residents will learn the value of proper waste management,” said Ernesto Miranda Jr., president of Bauang Fishing Group Consumer Cooperative.
“Our skills, services. and products will soon be known because tourists will come in and aside from fishing, we will now have an alternative source of income,” he added.
Along with the said development are construction of small-scale infrastructures such as mangrove boardwalk and walking trails; landing or docking and kayak storage areas; footbridges and small bridges; a road widening project that will cover an area of approximately 900 meters; a tourist information and learning center; repainting of homes and refurbishing of public ecological sanitation toilets; and the establishment of a Day Care Center.
Various health and environmental activities such as fun runs, poster-making contests, river clean-up drives, tree planting, and bike adventure races are being considered to promote the project.
The project will be funded by the municipal government as planned under the tourism and environment development programs.
At present, the members of the board are regularly holding meetings and action planning sessions to guarantee the sustainability of the project and its further improvement. (JNPD/AHFF/PIA-1) Anne Hazel Fajardo-Flores