Tag Archives: Aklan

Aklan: Bakhawan Eco-Park

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Bakhawan is our dialect for mangrove so this eco-park is all about mangroves.  Though this has been a popular tourist site since the early 2000’s, I have never been here because it’s quite far from my hometown.

And so when I went home last month and my favorite cousin asked me where we should meet, I decided to forego meeting in her office or in our usual restaurant or coffee shop and told her I want to see Bakhawan.

We went here on August 24.  My cousin is actually the tourism officer of Kalibo so she became my resident tour guide for free.  Te he.

Entrance fee is at Php 50.  Since I am an Akeanon, she paid just Php 30 for my entrance fee.  Here’s a collage of all applicable fees and reminders at the park:

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Note that tamilok demo should be pre-arranged.

According to my cousin, this project started in 1990.  The non-profit organization Kalibo Save the Mangroves Association (KASAMA), the local government unit of Kalibo and the Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) spearheaded the project of mangrove reforestation to address the community’s problems on flooding and to provide livelihood for the locals.

Originally, they started with only 50 hectares of reclaimed land, but now, it has become a 220-hectare mangrove forest.

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The project was such a success that it has reaped local and international awards and is dubbed the country’s most successful mangrove reforestation project.

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I’ve been to a couple of mangrove tours before, but I’ve never been to one as big or as beautifully developed as this one.  It’s way better than my mangrove tour in Puerto Princesa, or Camiguin.

This is my favorite part of the park.

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Too bad it had been raining the past days so the water was murky and the weather’s still dreary during my visit.  We also agreed to meet here at 4 PM so it was not sunny.

Here are more sights and sites from our almost 30-minute walk.

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These locals are harvesting either Tamilok, clams, or crabs.  This is how this project benefits its members.  They can get these for free and sell them to tourists or at the market.

The walk was tiring but the views made it worthwhile.

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Originally, the floors were made of bamboo, but they changed it to wood to make it more resilient.  It’s more beautiful to look at too.

There’s actually a part of the walkway that was still made of bamboo.  This is on the last few meters leading to the park’s edge.  It was already being replaced with wood, though, when we were there.

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Though my cousin has been here countless of times, she and her family were so nice to accompany me to the edge of the park.  Here, there is a viewdeck where one can see Aklan River.

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Here’s a collage of more sights at the park’s edge.

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Aren’t the crablets cute?

Afterwards, we decided to rest in one of their cottages.

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My cousin’s husband also decided to treat us to freshly grilled clams.

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In our dialect, we call this tuway and it’s a popular ingredient for clam soup.  This was actually my first time to eat it grilled.  I liked it.  It tasted like oysters and because it’s so fresh, it was delicious.  And all for just Php 30 a kilo.  So cheap, considering that according to my sister, she saw Korean guides in Boracay  selling this at Php 400 a kilo.  Wow!  Talk about highway robbery.

After our pit stop, we decided to head home since dusk was starting to settle.  Too bad there’s nowhere in the park where sunset can be seen, though the sky did have faint streaks of yellow.

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Bakhawan Eco-Park is located in New Buswang, which is about 20 minutes from our province’s main municipality of Kalibo.

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Getting here: From Kalibo, ride a tricycle going to Kalibo Public Market , which we locals refer to as “Tindahan.”  Fare is Php 8.  Ask to be directed to the tricycle stop of New Buswang-bound tricycles and tell the driver to drop you off at Bakhawan.  Fare is again Php 8.  You can also rent the whole tricycle for Php 40-50 per way.

Cebu to Kalibo, August 2014

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I slung my backpack over my right shoulder as my flight number was announced.  I was very excited to go home.  I was in such a good mood that seeing someone else sitting on my assigned seat did not faze me one bit, though I did ask him to move.  I specifically chose a window seat for my late afternoon flight to catch the sunset and no one’s going to deny me this wish.

As the plane hovered over Cebu, I smiled wistfully and wished I didn’t need to leave my hometown for the big city.

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You see, I was the little girl with big dreams.  I left Aklan at sixteen to study in the big city and when I graduated, was hoping to land a good job at home, but since my province is not yet a city, salary rates are way lower than what I would have earned somewhere else.  And so I opted to work in Manila and five years ago, relocated in Cebu.

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The sun’s imminent setting broke my reverie.  I looked out my window and watched as the cottony white clouds gradually turn yellow.

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I also zoomed in some shots of the setting sun.  I loved seeing warm shades of yellow and orange and tints of white in the sky.

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Over time, the sky became more colorful.  Reddish hues and periwinkle blue were thrown in into the mix of yellow-orange colors.

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By the time the captain announced that we were on our final descent, the setting sun was reflecting beautifully on Aklan River.  This, and the darker hues of clouds made the sight more visually arresting.

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I zoomed in a shot and came up with this shot.

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I loved how the sun’s rays are so clear on this photo.  

When we landed in Kalibo International Airport, I marveled at how colorful the skyline was.  Seeing it and the vast ricefields that were my playground as a child made me realize that indeed, I was home.

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Aklan: The Black-sand Beaches of Navitas

local children playing along the coastline

It just dawned on me when I was browsing through my posts about beaches that I so far have featured just the white-sand ones. So here’s one fun fact about my beautiful country: not only do we have white-sand beaches. We have pink-sand and black-sand ones too!

And in my hometown is a black-sand beach that became our weekend haven when I was growing up. You see, it’s just 30 minutes from our house so almost every weekend, we would go here for some family bonding.

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Navitas Beach in Numancia, Aklan is perhaps about an hour from the province’s capital of Kalibo and as mentioned, features dark sand. The waves could get really rough here, which makes the frothy waves even more stunning against the black sand.

my pair of black & white Roxy slippers blended well with the view

I also spent most of my time chatting with my sisters that I did not start taking pictures until dusk was starting to settle and it was time to leave.

Pictures taken in November last year. Pardon the photo quality as these were taken using just my Samsung S3.

Kalibo Ati-Atihan: Kabog Tribe

The above is one of my favorite shots from this year’s Kalibo Ati-Atihan Festival.  The guy’s from the tribe of Kabog, which in our dialect means a bat.  Since I was in high school, this tribe has been a consistent contender for first place due to their very colorful and creative costume though lately, I personally found them to be not innovative because the costume looks almost similar to or recycled from the previous years’.

Below are more photos of Kabog tribesmen.  Pardon the photo quality as during this festival, everyone is so into street-dancing and merry-making that it’s difficult to take perfect shots.

Experience Ati-Atihan, the Queen of Philippine festivals celebrated in honor of the Child Jesus, and Kalibo’s take on Brazil’s renowned Mardi Gras every third Sunday of January each year.