Few years ago, while waiting for the fast craft that will take us to Tagbilaran, I tried to kill time, so to speak, by roaming around the port of Dumaguete. The first thing that caught my eyes was the clarity of the sea that I can almost see the fishes swimming in the deepest part.
The noontime sun lent clarity to the already clear water of the sea. My mind wondered why is this so. I walked farther to check if I could find any garbage floating on the sea but I was frustrated because there was none. The reality of the clean and clear waters of Dumaguete, specifically that sea that faces the port area, made me jealous of this city. How I wish, Bacolod’s port is like this where I can see the smallest fish swimming in the deep waters.
We boarded the fast craft and as we go far from the port, I noticed that Dumaguete does not have much informal settlers on its seafront. I did not see any factory on the coastline that could contribute to pollution of the coastal area. Indeed, urban development and progress could influence the cleanliness of our bodies of water.
After an hour and a half, we reached Tagbilaran. What I saw there was almost the same – clear body of water on its city port.
Our counterparts of the PRMDP-AusAID Project joined us with our tour of the city. We toured the Chocolate Hills, Loboc Church and Loboc River. The latter is one of the popular waterways in Bohol because of the Loboc River Cruise. Boats full of tourists cruise the river. We had lunch in one of these boats while it cruised Loboc. It was such a good example of harnessing the beauty and cleanliness of the Loboc River not only for tourism but for raising the revenue of the Local Government Unit (LGU). One thing that turned me off at that time was the stinky smell of the pigs’ pen near the bank of the river. But, our friends assured us that a resolution was passed to stop the existence of these pens so they cannot spray the free “perfume” to tourists passing by.
While I was thinking that this could be a good example for other towns or cities endowed with clean and navigable rivers to follow, I am also inclined to believe that community participation is important in helping sustain the cleanliness of these waterways.
Bacolod City have several rivers and waterways that need to be kept clean so that it can be called as “living rivers”. River Life Project is one area in which Bacolod can enhance the cleanliness of its waterways and bring back their life. A healthy waterways, river, and creeks are those that are clean and where life forms can thrive.
The Best Practice at Tabilaran, Bohol which is the development of Loboc River into a tourism area through its Loboc River Cruise, can be replicated anywhere. In Bacolod it can be replicated in Sum-ag through Sum-ag River Cruise. The cruise can start and end at the Bocana near Punta Taytay. Then, after the river cruise, tourists can enjoy the “improved” beach at Punta Taytay, the Sanctuary Island or visit the nearby Pahanocoy resorts.
When I visited Punta Taytay last year, I learned that the Barangay is closely working with the various sectors in cleaning their beaches and improving the infrastructures that could promote tourism in that area.
Meanwhile, another place where coastal water and strings of islands have crystal clear and blue waters is the Bacuit Bay in Northern Palawan. This is where you can find the world famous El Nido. Even if there were communities and business establishments on the coast of El Nido, environment protection is very strong because of government laws and people’s participation in implementing these laws. I posted a photo of this part of Bacuit Bay, El Nido.
The island of Negros, the Western and Eastern Visayas are endowed with beautifu beaches, islands and rivers. It is the task of the present generations to take care of these natural assets so that the future generations could inherit and enjoy these too.
The tourism potential of these areas are high when the coastal areas, the beaches as well as the cleanliness of the waterways are maintained and sustained.
(Photo by Henry Lib, El Nido, Palawan)