Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bugnayan Marine Sanctuary and Marine Park in San Joaquin

photo by Reynaldo Paguntalan Jr.

The journey to San Joaquin begins in its town center. It is home to landmarks with the legacy of Spanish civilization that has influenced this town's history; home to the landing site of the 10 Bornean Datus according to the Maragtas Legend; location of a number of major festivals and events in the cultural calendar of Iloilo; and of course, blessed with the great food and grand scenery.

As visitors moves further and further, the habitations become steadily more picturesque where the town scenes give way to a series of tiny fishing villages and small towns and dramatic rugged cliffs. The most common way to arrive at the area is by car or jeepney, travelling along the narrow, serpentine coastal road winding close to the seaside where the scenery is beautiful and serene.

photo by Reynaldo Paguntalan Jr.

Much of San Joaquin’s charm comes from its scenic coastline. With bright and abundant sunlight, this coastal town is dotted with beaches good for swimming all year round. A number of spots dispersed along its coastline are still in the developing stage for summer resorts with bathing beaches. In addition, its coastlines are mostly coral reefs and are declared protected areas by the local government. This attraction alone merits a visit to the area.

San Joaquin is also famous for the best snorkeling and diving in the southern portion of Iloilo where its seas are protected and patrolled with strong commitment from the LGU and its local communities, ensuring an abundance of marine life. Just like any other marine protected area, human activity has been placed under some restrictions in the interest of conserving the natural environment. This would include different limitations on development, fishing practices, fishing seasons and catch limits, moorings, bans on removing or disrupting marine life of any kind.

Christmas Tree worm, photo by Excalibur Seterra

Its most recognizable landmark is its rock formations. The rock formations are placed in such close proximity in a land area of 2000 square meters and where the public can safely walk through. A few well-constructed steps will take you straight to the park. These geological formations do not only add aesthetics to the landscape but also provide excellent vantage points from which to better view the coastline. A small paved trail takes visitors around the park and is easy walking for adults and children. The park has a paved parking lot at the entrance. It has a mini-hall that can be converted into a picnic area, but with no drinking water available and no restroom.

photo by Reynaldo Paguntalan Jr.
photo by Reynaldo Paguntalan Jr.
photo by Reynaldo Paguntalan Jr.

To get the best view of these rocks is an ascent to its hilly area achievable in a very short space of time with less effort. Its lush green meadow is in sharp contrast to those fiery beginnings long ago. Combined with the tranquil environment of the municipality, the Bugnayan Marine Sanctuary and Park create a sense of awe and an understanding of why the area is protected. Not surprisingly, the area is one of the most popular and scenic protected areas in Iloilo. 

photo by Reynaldo Paguntalan Jr.

For more information of the Bugnayan Marine Sanctuary and Park, please contact Mr. Jimmy Sibonga-Operations Unit Manager at 09082569497, Mr. Excalibur Seterra-Municipal Coordinator Coastal Resource Management Program at 09205652378, and Mrs. Erlyn  Alunan, Municipal Tourism Officer at 09179857804 or at the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism at telefax (033) 3384910.

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