Thursday, August 31, 2017

Wonderful attractions in Colan

On August 26 I visited sitio Colan for a customary monitoring routine every long weekend. Instead of the usual desander climb I took the other route to witness several attractions of the upstream portion of Baruring River. With me was Artur, the Sibulan Porters Association's President.

Little did I know that Colan could be a very good adventure tour destination for a day or two. Just a little over 5 minutes from desander we saw the pristine Colan River in its finest state as it is spared from obliteration, perhaps the only one left in the area. A cold stream is being intersected by the hot river accumulated from the spring that flows directly from the volcanic waterways above Colan. The magnificent blue water was mixed with brown color from a distant channel, good enough for a transitional range of vision.

Over at the eastern part of the river is a three-layered waterfalls being laid out in a verdant setting of Colan’s tropical rainforest. The highest part is estimated 30 feet. Artur told me that a lot of locals have been visiting the waterfalls already and the land possessor where the waterfalls belong is bent on developing the area to cater to a wider audience.

As we trekked further we reached sitio Mararag. Situated just a hill apart from Tumpis, Mararag is a vast farmland planted with high value vegetables and abaca. Sitio Bolyo is another area bordering Mararag, a site that offered us vantage point of the scenic Kapatagan mountain range. Bolyo is a name derived from a local water source in Colan.

A short trek from Bolyo brought me back to Palaka Hot Spring, one of the three hot springs in Colan. My last visit to this site was way back 2002 and I was amazed by how this attraction retained its natural characteristic. We followed the hot water trail from Palaka and reached another good site, the more-popular Mundo Apo Hot Spring.

Our 2-hour trek with Artur enabled me to document few good reasons to visit Colan other than climbing Mt. Apo. For those who love to commune with nature without unleashing so much physical strain I suggest you take this foothills loop in Colan and I am pretty sure you will be rewarded with its wonderful attractions. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Mabini Protected Landscape and Seascape

The second installment of the series of experiential visits conducted by the Mt. Apo Natural Park Protected Area Management Board had us visiting the Protected Landscape and Seascape  of Mabini in Compostela Valley last July 27-28. This came as a pleasant surprise because the Mabini Protected Landscape and Seascape (MPLS) is a model PA that every locality should imitate. We were fortunate to have been led by a dynamic PENRO in Mr. Pablito Ofrecia, the new and tireless Mt. Apo Protected Area Superintendent (PASU) because he was the one capable of transforming MPLS into one of Mindanao’s well-managed PAs during his tenure in the town of Mabini in early year 2000.

MPLS is a 6,106 – hectare terrestrial and marine protected area established in 2000 basically to safeguard the diverse marine ecosystem in Davao Gulf particularly in the shores of Compostela Valley province.  It was created by virtue of Proclamation No. 316 dated May 31, 2000 and Republic Act 7586 otherwise known as the Integrated Protected Area Systems Act of 1992. The park extends along the coast of the municipality of Mabini from the mouth of Pandasan River up to the southern tip of Kopiat Island.

The Mabini portion of Davao Gulf where the MPLS is situated serves as feeding ground of eleven species of marine mammals which includes dolphins, sperm whales, killer whales and diverse breeds of sea turtles.

Another interesting feature of MPLS is the mangrove reservations identified in the major portions of Mabini stretching to as far as Kopiat Island. The dominant variety of mangrove is the Rhizopora apiculata that houses several endemic birds.

On the second day of our visit we were exposed to the PA’s rich underwater environment. It was my second time diving using a Self-contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. During the dive we were informed that the coral reef of Mabini is one of the three in Region XI being classified as having excellent condition, the other two in Samal Island and Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

In an effort to create sustainable management of MPLS, the MPLS-PAMB has considered ecotourism a vital tool, paving local community to operate minimal impact tourism activities while also promoting measures to maintain the unspoiled mangrove forest of the area.

With its attributes featuring healthy fishing ground, mangrove reserves and coral formations; there is no doubt that the Mabini Protected Landscape and Seascape is one of the most unique Protected Areas in the country.