Tubigon, Bohol Opens Macaas Eco-Tourism Package

Over a year after completing the town’s tourism master plan, Tubigon sets up its first eco-tourism activity based from a coastal community of barangay Macaas.

The Cabgan Island Community Based Eco Tourism Project (Cabgan Tours) is Tubigon local council and Macaas barangay council as well as a people’s organization initiative to empower locals into sustainably managing their resources, help conserve and protect their mangroves, seascapes and the bats that roost in an island within their jurisdiction, revealed Mayor Marlon Amila, during the soft launching in barangay Macaas.

The primary goal was to develop an ecotourism product in Cabgan Island, build capabilities of the local residents and stewards in conserving their resources, generate direct and indirect income for local stakeholders, creating incentives for conservation in local communities, build constituencies for conservation, locally, nationally and internationally, promote sustainable use of natural resources and reduce threats to biodiversity, shared Boboi Costas, town ecotourism consultant.

Ecotourism is a low impact, nature tourism which contributes to the maintenance of local species and habitats through a contribution of conservation and income generation enough for people to value and thus protect their wildlife and heritage areas as their source of income, Costas in a presentation to the media at the jump-off point.

Macaas, a coastal barangay facing Cabgan island is noted for its roosting bats thus its name from the vernacular 'cabogan' or a place for bats.

Two of the country’s threatened bat species roost in Cabgan island, where a maze of waterways get one close to the three roosting sites. The island, an inner barrier part of the Danajon Double Barrier Reef also features centuries old bantigui mangroves and 23 other species.

Isolated from mainland Bohol, Cabgan is also a sanctuary for migrating birds, endemic fruit doves and a host of marine creatures lurking in the mangrove shadows or in the islands mudflats.

The island and Macaas’ inter-tidal areas and mudflats have been gleaning grounds for seashells from generations, Costas also detailed while flash scanning on other cultural and historical treasures present in the host community, perfect accents for the tours.

Costas, along with Tubigon local officials led by Mayor Marlon Amila stressed that eco-tourism activity fits in Macaas Cabgan.

The activity is also consistent with the year-old Tourism Master Plan legislated by the town, according to Analili Nacorda for the local tourism office.

In fact, the same jives with Bohol’s vision for eco-cultural tourism, Mayor Amila said.

For years, Tubigon has been a gateway and jump-off point for local and foreign tourists considering its proximity to Cebu and Bohol destinations. The only thing Tubigon gets from them is the port usage ticket.

Now, at least we have something we can offer to them, Amila told media covering the soft launching.

At P850 per head for a minimum of five, the tour includes introductions with a local interpreter cum tour guide, boat rides to the island, mangrove tours, bats roosting watching, gleaning, basic mangrove identification, lunch on local cuisine and tow refreshments plus a cultural presentation by locals. (mbcn/Rey Anthony H. Chiu/PIA7-Bohol)

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