A 10-hectare mangrove forest in a municipality in Batangas proves that lush vegetation is the ideal solution to common environmental problems and that it is “Instagrammable,” too—red swimsuit optional.
Mangrove trees play an essential part in nurturing the very ground they stand on. Its roots filter the silt and sediment that tides carry in and rivers carry out toward the sea.
The roots of this salt-tolerant tree lodge themselves in the soft soil of tidal mudflats, and once established, they provide an oyster habitat and slow the flow of water. Mangrove swamps stabilize the shoreline against erosion, storm surges, and hurricanes—owing to their massive root systems that are efficient at dissipating wave energy.
Mangroves act as marine sanctuaries for a massive diversity of fish, crustaceans, and other underwater creatures. These habitat-forming species take refuge in mangroves’ protective nursery where they often thrive at the interface of open water and the terrestrial environment.
Conservationists believe that of all coastal ecosystems, mangrove preservation is a sound investment due to its high adaptive capacity to climate change. They provide a unique ecosystem and protect coastal communities from the impacts of tropical storms—meaning they’re not at risk of being easily washed away during storm surges.
Its vital role in the marine ecosystem pushes Hamilo Coast further to continue its preservation of over 10,000 mangrove trees in its lush mangrove forest. Together with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF-Philippines), the seaside residential community safeguards the site—the largest of its kind in Nasugbu.
To promote and showcase the beauty of the forest, Hamilo Coast offers on-site tour that begins with a short 200-meter trek, during which guests can find posters along the path that explain the crucial role of mangrove trees in reforestation.
At the end of the trail, guests are taken on a canoe ride through the reforested area. Once everyone’s life vest is secured, tour guides will share the inspiring story of how the once empty and gray plot of land was transformed into the lush mangrove forest it is now. Paddling through the cove’s salty shallow waters, they also point to endemic species of plants and birds that help keep the delicate balance in its ecology.
As they cruise beneath the canopy of leaves that block out the sun, they can feel the crisp, clean air in the forest and surrounding areas. This can be attributed to the fact that mangrove trees are carbon powerhouses—they absorb up to four times more carbon dioxide by area than upland terrestrial trees. The constant hum and buzz of wildlife also serves as a reminder that reforestation efforts encourage whole ecosystems to reform.
These underwater havens aid in the proliferation of fish in Nasugbu’s waters as well, which in turn contributes to the livelihood of the local fishing community that makes its home at Papaya Cove where the tour ends.
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