Bauang Mangrove Park in Brgy. Parian, La Union

Thanks to the friendly support of Mayor Eulogio Clarence Martin P. de Guzman III of Bauang, we were able to visit in December 2017 the Bakawan Project as a mangrove park for eco-tourism. Previously, we were informed in details about this project. The mangrove park is located on more than a hectare of land with various types of mangroves in Brgy. Pudoc and Parian Oeste.
The mayor asked the Municipal Agricultural Office, MENRO, RHU, MPDC, Tourism, Engineering, Administration, Budgeting Office, the barangay captains in Pudoc and Parian Oeste as well as the President of the fishing organization as the executors of the project during the GABAY event in Barangay Carmay. The management and the administration of the project are carried out by the barangay people so that they are economically independent. Furthermore, the livelihood of the project, cleanliness and sanitation, control of the environment and the interdiction of foreign fishing method will be the main focus.
We were warmly welcomed by the responsible staff at the tourism office, Ms. Almira S. Pagaduan and drove about 30 minutes from Bauang to Brgy. Pudoc. At the entrance of Barangay Pudoc, there was a big hall, audiovisual presentation and poster of the mangrove farm and further ahead we could already see the simple wooden houses of the residents of Brgy. Pudoc. We were greeted with curiosity in their eyes. They were simple fishermen and at that moment, I remembered the comment of Mayor de Guzman:
“Among the most important people of the park are the barangays. The barangays are the keepers of the park – in words: I want that the local people to be polite, honest, friendly and environmentally conscious. They will contribute immensely to the success of this ecotourism Mangrove Park.”
My wife and I were the first tourists on that day who saw this Mangrove Park. In almost 8 years something was created. Then, we went to the boat through mud and shallow water. Our skipper was a Filipina who explained exactly the different species. Some were only two years old and other high mangroves were older.
Theoretically, mangrove protection is a very serious responsibility. The trees produce so much seeds that they can eventually re-afforest a complete coast line within a few years. I noticed the silence as we were sliding on the water and even the herons were not scared until we were close.
Plenty of food or fish was available. In this almost two hours of boat trip, we also passed the house of our skipper. It was a simple hut under the protection of the mangroves. Her husband waved at her smiling.
Not so far from her house was also the end of the mangrove park. She told us, that she and her husband were assigned for the protection of the mangroves. Sometimes, there were other fishermen who come there for fishing, and they have to drive them away. We enjoyed the cleanliness a (no plastic – filth) within this almost two hour boat trip.
After the trip, we thanked our skipper and wished her to tell    the next visitors about the benefits of the mangrove trees and that a single hectare of mangrove forest can produce 1,080 kg. of fish every year as well as other advantages it brings.
(About the author) HEINZ ROHE is a German national who married Teresita Balatero, former midwife at Dona Donata Memorial Health Center (now the Bauang Rural Health Unit) in the early 1970s. She went abroad to Germany, met Rohe and got married. She is from Baccuit Sur, Bauang, La Union. They usually go home to the Philippines once in a while. They leave the country on May 28, 2018 and be back in the Philippines next November.

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