Malay, Aklan — More than a hundred visitors celebrated the inauguration of Boracay Wetland Conservation Park (BWCP) on Friday, during the official reopening of Boracay to the public. Guests enjoyed a ribbon-cutting ceremony, guided trail walks with wetland volunteers, wetland and wildlife viewing, and tree planting of some critically endangered native trees.
Energy Development Corporation’s (EDC) adopted 7.79-hectare conservation park is now open to the public. The site located in Brgy. Balabag, just southwest of Diniwid beach, is one of Boracay’s nine identified wetlands by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) . The BWCP or wetland no. 2 – a brackish water swamp turned construction dump over the years – is now converted into a conservation park which features a 2-story deck for bird watching and pathways that goes around the area showcasing native trees with identifications and pictures to educate visitors.
Visitors can explore the nature trails, commune with nature from the scenic lookout deck and delight in searching for local and migratory birds. The area is also rich with rare plants including nine threatened species like Sander’s Alocasia, Narra, Ipil, Kubi, Antipolo, Isis, Sakat, Balakat and Bakauan gubat. These are listed under the DAO/IUCN Red list as VU – Vulnerable, EN – endangered and CR – critically endangered.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, EDC Head of Finance Nestor Vasay, emphasized the importance of having access to nature close to home and thanked everyone who has helped make this conservation park a reality, from local workers and members of the community to EDC and DENR staff and volunteers.
“It’s places like this that help us all understand the fragility of nature,” Vasay said, “and how important it is for all of us to work together so that it will sustain us and our family in the future.”
“Our partnership with DENR for 3 years will be in 3 phases. Phase 1 which we started after the MOA signing earlier in August this year, included a comprehensive assessment report on wetland no. 2 to identify the flora and fauna and better determine the rehabilitation that will be done on the area,” Vasay added. “Last month, we started cleaning the area which has become a dump site of construction materials by the island. We installed pathways and a view deck for bird watching. Phase 2 & 3 of the project will include a boardwalk and visitor info center which we will see through in the 3 years of partnership with DENR.”
Envisioned as a very important tourist attraction in Boracay, the BWCP is planned out to be constructed with facilities for locals and tourists to visit and appreciate nature up close.
BINHI: The greening Legacy
BWCP is part of EDC’s BINHI project — a nationwide greening program of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC). Its aim is to restore denuded forests, preserve and propagate threatened native tree species, and protect biodiversity to leave a legacy of a verdant Philippines for the next generation.
“The trees that are planted in BWCP are clustered into families and there will be 29 species of trees that can be seen here, 21 of which are part of the 96 threatened species that EDC BINHI rescued from extinction and is propagating in our state-of-the-art automated nurseries in Antipolo, Rizal and Negros Oriental,” said Atty. Allan Barcena, head of Watershed and CSR Department if EDC. “By planting these tree seedlings now, we hope in a few years time, Boracay will not only boast of its clean waters and crystal white sands but will also show off their native tree arboretum which can become an added source of pride by the community,” Barcena
Now on its tenth year, the BINHI program has reforested 9,196 hectares across EDC’s geothermal sites located in Leyte, Bicol, Negros Oriental and North Cotabato. To help propagate these native tree species, BINHI now has 162 partners across 16 regions. EDC is the largest diversified renewable energy firm in the country, with installed total capacity of 1,456.8 MW of purely renewable energy.