IN line with its commitment to sustainability, Hamilo Coast continues to preserve more than 10,000 mangrove trees which covers approximately 10 hectares of the estate, making it the largest mangrove area in Nasugbu, Batangas. Together with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines, Hamilo Coast continues to nurture this ecosystem by conducting educational mangrove tours in hopes of increasing awareness about mangroves and their restoration.
The Mangrove Tour in Papaya Cove is one of the latest additions to the many exciting and meaningful activities at Hamilo Coast. With eco-tourism gaining more traction in the Philippines and around the world, a short trip exploring the mangrove forests offers nature lovers the perfect opportunity to discover the vibrant biodiversity for themselves. Guests in search of unique experiences will also be awed by the serene beauty of the mangroves. Such a profound encounter with nature can only increase one’s reverence and concern for the environment.
Along the trail, into the mangrove forest
The tour starts with a short 200-meter walk through the mangrove forest leading to where the paddle boats are docked. The narrow path is surrounded on either side by white mangroves, one of two mangrove species found in Hamilo Coast. These trees reach up to 50 feet high and create a canopy to cover the path keeping tourists cool during the summer.
Paddling over the water
At the end of the short walk is a small port where boats await. A well-paved space enclosed by bamboo railings creates a quasi-romantic secret garden in the middle of the mangrove forest. This miniature sanctuary is the start of the second half of the tour – a canoe ride that leads to Papaya Cove.
With life vests tied and secured, guests joining the mangrove tour climb aboard the canoe, which can accommodate up to four guests and two tour guides at a time. The guides paddle and navigate through the water, as they describe how the once empty and gray plot of land was transformed into the lush mangrove forest it is now. It is a true and inspiring story of hope for restoring and sustaining the environment.
Continued reforestation efforts by SM Prime and WWF Philippines have significantly invigorated the wildlife inhabiting the forest and positively impacted the surrounding community. Other than the feeling of relaxation the mangrove forest brings, the growing mangrove population is now a robust habitat for various animals and plants in the forest and a livelihood opportunity for those in the surrounding communities.
Reaching Papaya Cove
Paddling out of the mangrove forest and into the canal, the water current changes and the breeze becomes stronger. The sound of waves crashing over the shores of Papaya Cove can be heard from afar. Tour guides continue to paddle until the canoe reaches the middle of the cove’s salty shallow waters where guests can marvel at the beauty of Papaya Cove from just a few meters away.
The canoe soon docks, marking the end of the short tour. But the guests leave bringing with them a newer and deeper appreciation of Hamilo Coast, whose healthy biodiversity exemplifies how man and nature can live in harmony.|