Sagay’s premier eco-tourism destination Suyac Island and Mangrove Ecopark in Brgy. Taba-ao re-opened its spa and watchtower on Thursday, August 10, after a non-government organization provided P1.5 million for its repair and rehabilitation.
The re-opening was witnessed by Ferdie Marcelo, country representative of the non-government organization Seacology, as he inspected the infrastructure in Suyac Island, a press release from Sagay City said.
Suyac Island Mangrove Ecopark’s Spa and Watchtower was funded through Seacology that allocated P1,494,693 (approximately USD 26,900) with the technical assistance from the of City Engineering Office led by Engineer Jezreel Alingco.
Marcelo conducted a site visit to check the completion of the infrastructure and found it to be in order.
He also commended the community as they play a huge part in biodiversity conservation and encouraged them to strengthen grassroots initiatives in the continued protection of Suyac Island’s ecosystem and wildlife.
Seacology is a non-profit organization based in Berkeley, California, that aims to protect threatened island ecosystems all over the world by working directly with communities, helping them to preserve their cultures and improve their lives while saving their island habitats.
The only condition of the grantee is for the community to permanently protect and restore the inland forest and mangrove ecosystems of Suyac Island. The commitment agreement was signed by the community leader and Brgy Capt Ed Joy Vasquez.
Sagay City Mayor Narciso L. Javelosa Jr.thanked Seacology for its grant that will help the community in the continued recovery after the pandemic.
The city officials turned over Resolution 2023-202, a “resolution expressing our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to Seacology for the grant.” They also turned over a copy of the Sagay Marine Reserve coffee table book.
Vice Mayor Leo Rafael M. Cueva urged the community members to continue to be vanguards of the mangrove island and to be excellent in their ecotourism services.
Committee Chairperson on Tourism and Environment Arthur Christopher Marañon said the grant is a huge encouragement for the community as they are afforded an inclusive livelihood opportunity.
Suyac Eco Tourism Attendant Association (SIETAAS) was established to locally manage the mangrove ecopark through the LGU’s pro-environment, pro-community sustainable tourism development program.
SIETAAS has also been protecting and regularly monitoring flying foxes roosting in the area while involving the community, especially in solid waste management.
Melanie Mermida, SIETAAS President, reiterated their organization’s commitment to the sustained conservation of these “God-given resources and the mangrove forest that has protected us from the strongest storms and has given us the bounty from the sea.”
Suyac Island Mangrove Ecopark was part of the Top 100 Green Destinations in the World in 2022 awarded during the ITB in Berlin, Germany.
It was also the recipient of ATOP Pearl Best Tourism Practices Award on the Community-based Eco-tourism Program.*