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Tres Marias Islets: An eco-destination in E Visayas

- Dr. Paciente A. Cordero Jr. () - March 26, 2006 - 12:00am
(Conclusion)
Mainland Palompon
Added to nature’s blessings in Palompon are two unexplored caves in Barangays Cruz and Liberty whose architecturally designed stalactites and stalagmites easily catch the visitors’ eyes. So successful are the LGUs and MENRO that both caves have remained untouched and kept from human intervention – their ‘contents’ have remained unknown. Apparently, the caves do not belong to the category of the now famous Tabon Caves of Palawan that this writer had personally visited. In the latter caves, burial jars, Chinese plates, beads and other human tools and ornaments are found, preserved in situ. Nearby Masaba Falls is inviting for a dip and feel its cool, clean and blue water to spice a day’s activities.

Also, further north of Tabuk Islet is an egg-shaped islet called Kalamgaman, sitting on sugar-fine white sand, dominantly populated with few coconut trees. The blue-water surrounding the islet is so inviting that a visitor is likely to dive, do snorkeling or scuba diving to complete his visit to this nature haven. Others may opt to lie flat on the sandy beach for a sandbath.

This islet, included in the strict implementation of fishing activities, shows a higher population of fish, regenerating corals, sea-grasses and seaweeds luxuriantly growing, spread around forming an underwater landscape.

Life among fisherfolks has greatly improved. Catch of commercial fish such as ‘danggit’ has become bountiful following the declaration of the Tres Marias Islets as Marine Park and Bird Sanctuary by the LGU of Palompon. MENRO also deserves much of the credit for implementation of the tenets of Coastal Resource Management Program (CRMP).

Traditional fishing practices in designated fishing zones help preserve the marine reserve and protect the floral and faunal environment, in general. The gradual increase in migratory birds, so-called visitors without passports, and the increasing population of resident bird species manifest the presence of favorable ecological conditions to the bird, including sustained supply of natural feeds in the Tres Marias Islets nature complex.
What needs to be done
The LGU and MENRO with the support of academe (Palompon Institute of Technology) and other concerned organizations/individuals should pool their resources in and urging President Arroyo to issue a proclamation declaring Tres Marias Islets as a marine protected area and make it truly the pride – of Eastern Visayas.

Also, they may seek the assistance of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB-DENR), to have Tres Marias Islets declared a wildlife sanctuary under the Ramsar Convention (RC). The RC recognizes critical wetlands of the world a wildlife sanctuary. In 1994, the Philippines became a signatory cum contracting party to the Ramsar Convention.

The Department of Tourism could be a factor in attracting tourists to this marine park and bird sanctuary of Eastern Visayas by including it among the Philippines new eco-destination spots. Also, this will encourage local tourism and eventually help improve the town’s revenue!

A strong governance by the LGU officials and sustained support by the Palomponons in preserving and protecting this nature’s gift may well place Palompon in the road map of Philippines Marine Park and Bird Sanctuary.

BARANGAYS CRUZ AND LIBERTY COASTAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM EASTERN VISAYAS MAINLAND PALOMPON MARINE PARK AND BIRD SANCTUARY NEARBY MASABA FALLS PALOMPON RAMSAR CONVENTION TRES MARIAS ISLETS
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