Conservation benefit: Protection of 118 acres of forest for 10 years, support of three fish reserves (78 acres total)
Community benefit: Solar-powered visitors center, guest huts, and gear for ecotourism initiative
The central Philippines, where the narrow Verde Island Passage separates the islands of Luzon and Mindoro, is home to huge numbers of fish species, whale sharks, several kinds of sea turtles, and an enormous variety of corals. But precisely because so many endemic species are concentrated in such a small area, habitat destruction there would be disastrous.
Lobo Municipality, which borders the Verde Island Passage, will protect 118 acres of forest that drain into the passage. The forest, dominated by tropical hardwoods, is home to the Philippine long-tailed macaque and wild boar. The community will also continue to support three local fish sanctuaries, Sawang, Malabrigo, and Biga. Many people in the village are fish wardens, who help enforce the use restrictions.
The community will use Seacology’s help to foster ecotourism based on the spectacular Nalayag peaks of nearby Mt. Masalakot. The community will build a solar-powered visitors center and improve the Nalayag Ecotrail with guardrails and a campsite with huts and restrooms. Community members will train as guides. About 1,100 visitors went to Mt. Nalayag last year; the target is to increase this number to 7,600, being careful not to overwhelm the trails and campsites. A daily limit on hikers will be imposed, and the trail will be closed each Monday.
Bantay Kalikasan and the Lobo Municipal Tourism Office will provide guide training for community members, many of whom now make a living by fishing. The new guides will have a way to support themselves without fishing, reducing pressure on fish stocks. They will also be deputized as forest rangers and will be on the lookout for illegal clearing of trees.
- May 2019
- The visitors center has been built; guardrails, nipa huts, and restrooms are still under construction. Tour guides are using the center to teach hikers about keeping the Nalayag Ecotrail healthy,...
- December 2018
- Duane Silverstein and field representative Ferdie Marcelo visited this project site and saw the partially built visitors’ center. Duane talked to one trail guide—a former miner—who now earns...