Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mangrove Boat Tour & Buenavista Viewdeck

After our Underground River tour, my 3 kids and I took the Mangrove Paddle Tour, about 1.5-km north walk from Sabang wharf. Along the way, we passed restaurants and resorts like Sheridan and Daluyon with nice-looking octagonal cottages. On our way back, we also combed part of the Sabang beach.

Tour fee is Php 150/adult and Php 100 for kids 12 years old and below. Like in Underground River, they also provide life jackets. The tourism kiosk officer asked us to register before we boarded the paddle boat.

Aside from the boatman, they also have a volunteer guide who will narrate the statistics and biodiversity of the mangrove forest. Mangrove or "bakawan" in Filipino are trees that thrive on coastal swamp areas, preventing soil erosions and filtering the trash from mainland. The water that flows within the river/swamp area is a mixture of saltwater and freshwater. Because of some eroded soil and forest droppings of leaves and branches, the brackish water is rich in organic content, supporting abundant life in the mangrove forest. The brackish water also serves as breeding area of fishes and crabs, since the unclear waters make it hard for predators to catch the younger preys.

See the mirror reflection of the calm swamp waters above, and the exposed roots of the mangrove tree during low tide below.

Below is one of the small snakes clinging to the mangrove branches

A medium-sized monitor lizard or "bayawak". We also saw another bayawak swimming in the brackish water.

A few baby crabs on the river's edge. Its been a very educational and entertaining 1-hour tour for the kids.

Aside from different birds we saw, we heard monkeys' call in the forest, that also frequent the mangrove trees in the swamp area to catch crabs and fishes. According to the boatman-guide, there are also otters and anteater (armadillo) in the area, but usually show up at night to feed.

On our way back to the downtown Puerto Princesa, we passed briefly at Buenavista Viewdeck to admire the view of Ulugan Bay. It is where the Vietnamese refugees had landed to escape the Vietnam war.

If you will look closely, you will see the "Tres Marias" islets on the middle of the photo.

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