The Candijay Mangrove Adventure Tour is another option available to visitors who want to experience Bohol’s rich and varied terrain. It is not only white sand, crystal blue waters, caves, falls and the Chocolate Hills that Bohol is now known of. The thick mangrove forests partnered with trips thru the emerald winding rivers own a big slice in the tourism pie.
Half-day tours are offered. The eco-trail on narrow dirt roads winds its way among verdant rice fields, passing bamboo houses and on to the mangrove forests – a true tropical and rural setting, if you want Bohol’s outback scenery.
The mangrove forests and surrounding areas are now fairly accessible with the construction of the 500-meter bamboo boardwalk including a hanging bamboo bridge – looking just like the one in the Indiana Jones movies!
The boardwalk enables one to observe the marine and wildlife habitat up close. Now a bird sanctuary, birders will surely enjoy observing different bird species that have made the bakauan mangroves their home. It likewise eases the travel of local inhabitants who beforehand has to find ways and means (definitely more expensive means) just to cross the river or the swamplands.
River cruises are offered on Candijay’s rivers Cabadian, Matulid and Sagomay while being serenaded by the community’s best musicians. While on tour, the tour guides impart information about the mangroves: their uses, the different species and their scientific names, and the varied marine and wildlife that they shelter.
Aside from the bakauans, the tour will take you to the thick Nipa palm groves. The nipa leaves are weaved and used as thatched roofing on bamboo houses – the typical “nipa hut”. The fruit of the nipa palm is processed and made into the delicious “kaong” which is a delicious addition to the tropical fruit salad.
Along the river, one will encounter the locals in their inherent search for food by the gathering of clams and crabs, and fishing. Also one meets people gathering wood either to be used as posts for houses or do be used as firewood.
The trip is really an eye-opener; a true “eco-tour” where one will observe how life goes on in the Panadtaran area and how the locals co-exist with their environment. The need to exert extra effort to the preserve and enhance the environment is blatant for one and all to sustain each other.
How the Tour Came About
Candijay’s once thick mangrove forest were in for a disaster when more and more trees were being felled to give way to fishponds. Because of the thinning mangrove forests, which are the habitats of about 75 percent of fish species, crustaceans and wildlife, fish catch became less and less.
At this inopportune time, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) came to rectify matters. A community-based forest management program was initiated to protect the mangroves and other surrounding resources. Seminars and information dissemination were kicked off to educate the community and to make them aware of the dire situation of their God-given assets. The information drive was a success and drove the people for change.
Eventually, in 1996, the Panadtaran Mangrove Association or PAMAS was founded with an initial membership of 40 local inhabitants. With the group’s concerted effort of mangrove reforestation and other cause-oriented activities, they were awarded by the DENR with a 600-hectare mangrove and given 25 years to develop it further and make it into a viable proposition.
Thus the Candijay Mangrove Adventure Tour was born!