Mangroves are known for enhancing biodiversity and enriching ecosystems and it is also a wonderful tourist attraction. This is something the residents of Barangay Bintuan in Coron are beginning to appreciate.
In a strip of boardwalk donated by the provincial government several years back, tourists are now flocking to get a chance to view beautiful fireflies dancing around at night with the mangrove stands serving as a backdrop.
“Come December, there are a lot of fireflies here. I think this is because we have the largest mangrove stand in Coron – more than 50 hectares along the Ruyukan Channel, and it is also the widest,” Chairman Larry Pe said.
Pe said that they were given a 280 meter pathwalk by the provincial government several years ago that became the site of firefly watching, but because there are now more tourists wanting to see the fireflies, the barangay needs to ensure the safety of the users by reinforcing and repairing the boardwalk. They are now in talks with an NGO that has volunteered to fund the repairs.
For now, the firefly watching is still free but the barangay and the local government will soon earn from the activity once an ordinance is passed for a users fee to be charged.
The fee, he said is minimal – P50 for foreigners and P25 for the locals but it will go a long way in funding improvements in the barangay to meet the ecotourism opportunities that are now emerging for the locals.
The government is also supporting the enrichment of the area as it was also identified as part of the Mangrove and Beach Forest Development Program of the DENR’s ERDB. Under the program, new mangrove seedlings will be planted to augment the natural mangrove stands in the area which will serve to protect them from storm surges and serve as home for fishes. This will help improve the fishermen’s hauls and their income for their families.
Resorts are also approaching the barangay for partnership as they want to make the area a destination for firefly watching and kayaking.