If you are looking for a unique and eco-friendly destination in the Philippines, you might want to check out Banacon Island, home to the largest mangrove plantation in Asia. Located in the northern part of Bohol province, within the Municipality of Getafe, Banacon Island boasts of approximately 425 hectares of mangrove forest that was established through community efforts that began in 1957.
Why Mangroves Matter
Mangroves are not only beautiful to look at, but they also play a vital role in the ecosystem. They protect the coastlines from erosion, storm surges, and tsunamis. They also store carbon dioxide, helping to mitigate climate change. But perhaps the most important function of mangroves is that they provide habitat and food for a diverse array of marine life.
The tangled and intricate root systems of the bakauans (Rhizophora Stylosa) on Banacon Island provide shelter for hundreds of fish species native to the waters around the island. These mangroves also serve as critical spawning grounds or nurseries for various marine life, including fish, seahorses, shrimps, crabs, and more.
Likewise, the muddy waters around the mangroves are rich in nutrients from decaying leaves and organic matter, serving as the primary source of food for different marine species around the island. Out of the 425 hectares of mangrove forest on Banacon Island, 15 hectares are on dry land, while the remaining 410 hectares are located in the tidal flat area. The thriving mangrove population has contributed to an increase in fish production, encompassing seahorses and enhancing the natural stocks of blue crabs (Portunus pelagicus).
How to Visit Banacon Island
Banacon Island is part of the Bohol Island Geopark, a project that aims to promote the conservation and sustainable development of the natural and cultural heritage of Bohol. The geopark covers 13 municipalities and features various attractions, such as the Chocolate Hills, the Loboc River, the Tarsier Sanctuary, and the Panglao Island.
To visit Banacon Island, you need to take a boat from Getafe Port, which is about an hour and a half drive from Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol. The boat ride takes about 20 minutes and costs around 50 pesos per person. Once you reach the island, you can explore the mangrove forest by renting a kayak or a paddle boat, or by joining a guided tour on a bamboo raft. You can also enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and fishing in the clear waters around the island.
If you want to stay overnight, you can book a room at the Banacon Island Mangrove Resort, which offers basic amenities and a serene view of the mangroves. You can also try the local delicacies, such as the blue crabs, the seahorses, and the bakauan wine, which is made from the sap of the mangrove trees.
Join Us in Exploring the Wonders of Bohol Island Geopark
Banacon Island is just one of the many amazing destinations that you can discover in the Bohol Island Geopark. By visiting this mangrove paradise, you are not only supporting the local community, but also helping to preserve the environment and the biodiversity of the region.
Join us in exploring the wonders of Bohol Island Geopark! For the latest updates and exciting discoveries, make sure to hit that ‘Like’ button and follow the official Facebook/Instagram pages of Bohol Island Geopark and Boholtourismph. You can also visit their websites for more information and booking details.