Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Experience a Sense of Other-Worldliness in Kuliatan

photo by Bombette G. Marin

The municipality of San Joaquin has some of the most unique tourist attractions in Iloilo. The town is an open-house classroom and natural museum, waiting to be explored by visitors. First-time visitors will be surprised by the treasures and incredible spots this southern town offers particularly its beach-related attractions. On the outskirts, Marine Protected Areas form the southern edge of this town and visitors will surely find it especially appealing.

Between the barangays of Lawigan, San Joaquin and San Francisco, Anini-y, Antique is the most popular among the 15 MPAs of this historic town. Kuliatan situated in Barangay Sinogbuhan, the last barangay of the town, is 22 kilometers from the town center was declared a Marine Protected Area in 2011 alongside Pagang-Guibongan Marine Sanctuary in barangays Tapikan and Manhara; Crossing Dapuyan Turtles Marine Sanctuary; Tambi-Tambi Marine Sanctuary; Talisayan Marine Sanctuary; Baybay Marine Sanctuary; Igbangal Marine Sanctuary in barangay Siwaragan; Masagod Marine Sanctuary, Sta. Rita Marine Sanctuary; Tiolas Marine Sanctuary; Balabago Marine Sanctuary, Basang-Basa Marine Sanctuary in barangay Amboyu-an; Cata-an Marine Sanctuary; Igcundao Marine Sanctuary; Bugnayan Marine Sanctuary in barangays Lawigan and Igcadlum. The creation of these Marine Protected Areas where made possible via Municipal Ordinance No. 7 series of 2009 as amended by Municipal Ordinance No. 2011-4.

The area provides an ideal ecosystem for its rich marine resource. Even the locals themselves have been astonished at the variety of objects the sea has deposited on its beach. Municipal ordinances restrict the disturbance and removal of certain natural and historical objects.

The municipal government brings together the community to help them understand the value of this vital natural environment and through this effort will succeed in its mission to sustain it for the future. The local government also seeks to increase the public awareness of the towns’ marine resources and maritime heritage by monitoring, exploration and educational programs..

Snorkeling and swimming are popular among visitors who are willing to travel to the sanctuary. Exceptional habitats, fish populations go hand in hand with the coasts’ extreme conditions, with a few diving for those who have advanced skills and expose open-water experience. Snorkeling the Marine reserve allows visitors to learn and see many marine creatures, corals, plants and fishes.

The sanctuary offers an assortment of year round water adventure that is ideal for anyone looking for a combination of adventure and relaxed yet affordable accommodation. Of course the importance of relaxation is never lost whether it comes from being active or unwinding on the area or just enjoying the ocean breeze from the veranda. It has three (3) bamboo cottages for those who would want to stay overnight. Cottage 1 is good for 6 persons at P500; Cottage 2 is good for 6 persons at P400, and Cottage 3 is good for 6 persons at P500. Restroom is communal. The sanctuary has four (4) picnic areas good for 6 persons at P50 with three (3) picnic cottages at P50 and a pavilion that can accommodate 50 persons at P200.
The marine reserve has a viewing deck connected by a bamboo bridge from the accommodations area to the swimming area and is suspended between two huge coral rocks. The swimming and snorkeling area is delineated with bouys.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

To get to the sanctuary, one can take a San Joaquin-Lawigan jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Oton or when in the city, at the market situated at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo. When in San Joaquin proper, one can also take a tricycle ride to the area with a contracted rate of P200.00. For more information, please contact Barangay Captain Raymundo Sican at 09186516932, Mr. Goerge Mendoza at 09212609866 or Mrs. Erlyn Alunan, Municipal Tourism Officer at 09179857804.

So, visit Kuliatan, it is a place of refuge, and careful management of this area ensures the long-term protection of Iloilo’s underwater treasures for generations to come.

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