Malhiao is one of 29 barangays (villages) in the municipality of Badian in the Philippines province of Cebu. Mangrove trees used to grow abundantly along the nearby Tañon Strait coastline, but people have cut them for building material, food, and fuel. Lately, the establishment of fish ponds has contributed to the depletion of mangrove areas.
In Barangay Malhiao, 180 acres of thick mangrove forest remain. (Three mangrove species have been recorded in the area: bakawan, bungalon/piapi, and tangal. Community members have agreed to declare the whole mangrove area in their jurisdiction as a no-take zone. They have set up an organization, the Malhiao Resource Management Multi-Purpose Cooperative, to protect the mangrove forest. The barangay’s fisherfolk organizations are also playing a part. They will provide information to community residents on the importance of mangroves and the effects of cutting them, plant mangroves, conduct coastal clean-ups, and guard against poachers.
The organization is keen to promote nature tourism in the mangrove area, which will provide income to the community. They plan to build a tourist information center, boardwalk, viewing deck, guardhouse, and mangrove nursery. They have secured funding for the tourist information center, guardhouse, and nursery. Seacology is providing funds, through the Tambuyog Development Center, to build a boardwalk and viewing deck.