The Cambuhat River and Village Tour is now the pride of the municipality of Buenavista. The town has bountiful natural resources that are now being tapped for eco-tourism pursuits. In Cambuhat, they have a wide and picturesque river lined with mangroves and nipa palms. Guests are treated to paddle boat rides on board native boats and go downstream, winding thru verdant mangrove and nipa palms.
Guests are then led to the established oyster farm and a small visitor’s center on the bank of the river. They will then be treated to a hearty lunch of oysters and other seafood. During the tour and while dining, the guests were imparted with the intricacies of oyster culture, the management of the river and mangroves.
A short trip up to the village follows and the Cambuhat community then show off to the guests their skills in the weaving of raffia using native looms, broom making, the weaving of saguran and mats, the making of nipa thatches, brooms, hats, baskets and many more. The tour is inclusive of air-conditioned transportation, services of professional tour guide, local community guide, community fees, lunch, boat and paddler.
The women led the pack in the Cambuhat tours. They run the tours and managed the upland resources while the men provided the boats, the boat trip and do the paddling as well as the management of the oyster farm and coastal resources. The clear definition of roles within the community united them and led to the success of their endeavors. The unified effort of the local government and the community with the help of other agencies contributed to the success of the project.
Because of the establishment of the tour, the people of Cambuhat and of the whole town benefitted. The project enabled the community to generate more income from the tour such as from tour fees, the sale of oysters and of local handicrafts. Likewise, the residents have developed a number of new skills and are into the lookout for more viable pursuits buoyed by the success in the tour project.
The Cambuhat River and Village Tour can be found in a small village of Cambuhat in Buenavista, Bohol. It is situated in the northwest part of Bohol, around two hours from Tagbilaran City. The village is a few minutes ride to Getafe which is also getting its share of eco-tourism visitors interested in the Banacon mangroves.
A Bit of History
The inhabitants of Buenavista were into farming and fishing with the added livelihood of Saguran, mats and raffia weaving; nipa thatches and the making of brooms; hats and baskets making and also kinugay and natok making.
With these simple means of livelihood, the people do not have enough purchasing power to cover costs of food, shelter and education. Yet they have various natural resources remaining to be tapped: the island beaches, a picturesque river, and the handicraft industry.
In the late 1998, the government thru its arm, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with its Coastal Resource Management Project and funded by the United States Agency for International Development sought to uplift the condition of the people. They focused all efforts in the small village of Cambuhat where the river is located.
Community awareness sessions and participatory research activities were held and in so doing the project came up with the decision to rehabilitate the river, including the development of transport, improvement of fishing methods, mangrove management and the establishment of an oyster farm. Technical and marketing assistance were also given to the village’s handicraft production to further enhance their income.
Initially the group targeted local study and educational groups from the various NGO’s and government offices and at every tour, the visitors and community sat down and evaluate the tour and how it can be further improved. Slowly the tours improved and gained momentum and prices were fixed.
Bohol based tour operators were then invited and eventually became partners in the promulgation of the Cambuhat River and Village Tour. Later, the Cambuhat Enterprise Development and Fishermen’s Association (CEDFA) was formed wherein all the people in the village can take an active role in suggesting how the tour can be further improved, invest and then share the benefits of this undertaking.
Flores, M.M. 2000, Community Enterprise Initiatives for Coastal Management: Lessons from Cambuhat, Buenavista, Bohol. CRMP-USAID, http://www.oneocean.org