The lush Abatan River estuary is home to one of the most diverse mangrove forests in the Philippines. It covers almost 1,000 acres and includes 32 mangrove species. Eight species of firefly congregate along the river; one of them is very rare and endemic to the Philippines. The estuary is a perfect spot for wildlife conservation and ecotourism.
Before tourists can come, however, facilities at the Abatan Main Village Center need extensive repairs. In 2013 and 2014, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake and two supertyphoons severely damaged them. The docks at the visitor centers, and the amphitheater where cultural shows were staged, are unusable. Without tours run by local nonprofits, villagers cannot sell their hand-woven products and local delicacies without taking them to town centers or paying middlemen.
A Seacology grant will fund repair of the docks and amphitheater. The Abatan River Development Management Council, which promotes conservation of the river, has pledged to protect the mangroves along the river and in Maribojoc Bay (where the river empties) for 10 years.
Seacology will partner with PROCESS Bohol, a well-regarded NGO that since the 1980s has been working for sustainable resource management in poor Philippines communities. We have worked with PROCESS Bohol on two other successful projects.