Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail
A Review of Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail , EB Magalona, Negros Occidental
Introduction: Sonny Cabahug’s Tranquil Retreat Unveiled
Embarking on a highly-anticipated road trip to Sonny Cabahug’s haven in Silay City, Lei Lani took the wheel, turning her car into a rolling comedy club on a sunny Sunday. Laughter echoed inside as the four of us, seeking a break from schoolwork, eagerly embraced the joyous journey ahead. Cruising towards the Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail, Lei Lani’s infectious laughter set the tone for a day filled with camaraderie, delectable eats, and the thrill of adventure. The road trip wasn’t just about reaching our destination; it was a lively escapade, promising shared laughter and unforgettable moments against the scenic backdrop of Tomongtong.
The Choice Culinary Destination: Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail
Amid the infectious festive atmosphere, Lei Lani, Jojo Bayona, Sonny Cabahug, and yours truly spontaneously decided to break away from the ordinary and explore a place we rarely visit. Our chosen destination? The renowned Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail, nestled in the charming Brgy. Tomongtong of EB Magalona Municipality. This impromptu escapade held the promise of immersing ourselves in the trail’s unique charm and significance. As we envisioned the adventure ahead, the excitement of indulging in succulent crabs and a variety of delectable seafood already danced in our minds.
Journeying Back to Brgy. Tomongtong: A Personal Flashback to Community Development Days
Brgy. Tomongtong holds a special significance for me, stemming from my tenure as a Community Development Officer for PACC in the Province of Negros Occidental. Teaming up with my friend Mylene Monotilla-Gocon, our joint efforts focused on community development and artificial reef projects. Evenings were dedicated to conducting training programs since the fisherfolks were occupied during the day. The landscape, different from its present-day beauty, presented challenges that we welcomed with open arms. Vivid memories remain of nights spent at Manong Andy Malunes’ house, relishing the abundant offerings of select crabs, shrimps, and more.
Evolution: A Heartwarming Return to the Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail
Returning to Tomongtong brought forth profound joy as I witnessed the community’s remarkable transformation. New faces had replaced the old, and the landscape, now adorned with the Mangrove Eco-Trail, vividly showcased the community’s journey of metamorphosis. Notably, the addition of a covered court and the transition from bamboo houses to predominantly concrete structures marked significant changes. The once challenging roads have also seen improvements, making travel much more convenient.
One unforgettable aspect of the community’s past was the unique experience of drinking water from the deep well with a slight orange tint. Despite its hue, the city health authorities assured us of its portability. I can confidently say that during my time as their Community Development Officer under Mylene Monotilla Goco, the local fisherfolks warmly embraced me, treating me like family. Their genuine affection and hospitality created a bond that extended beyond professional duties, making my connection with the community even more meaningful.
Arrival and Unveiling of Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail
Upon our arrival, the parking areas were already full, prompting us to be directed to an enhanced covered court—an essential addition due to limited parking near the Mangrove Eco-Trail. A short stroll led us to the entrance, where a reasonable fee of P25 per person awaited each visitor. Glecenda Caberte, the leader of the women’s group, provided valuable insights into the purpose behind the entrance fees, establishing a commendable cycle that supports environmental initiatives and provides income for local women.
Traversing the Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail: A Harmonious Exploration
Embarking on the trail, a bamboo bridge weaving through the mangrove forest unveiled meticulous efforts to maintain cleanliness, leaving me thoroughly impressed. Our observations, coupled with an insightful interview with Glecenda Caberte, brought to light the far-reaching benefits of the Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail. These extend from effective waste disposal to providing economic opportunities for local fisherfolks. Listening to Glecenda, it became clear that this project deserves extensive support, aligning seamlessly with our past vision of uplifting the lives of the fisherfolks in the area.
Culinary Indulgences Amidst Nature’s Embrace | Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail
Our visit secured us a table under a plastic canvas, providing a cozy refuge until the tranquil ambiance was briefly disrupted by a family arriving with a transistor radio blaring at a volume bordering on noise irritation. Fortunately, they were advised to tone down the volume, which they readily adhered to. While the Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail undeniably contributes positively to the community, there is an opportunity for refinements in their cooking and service skills. Suggestions for training programs to elevate the community’s gastronomic expertise have been contemplated. Of course, improvements in their operations are also essential to avoid frustrating guests who may experience prolonged waits for their orders.
Hope Shines for Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail
Despite areas earmarked for improvement, our optimism for Tomongtong’s community remains unwavering. Extended support from local government units, the growing tourism sector, private institutions, and loyal patrons will undoubtedly propel the area towards sustained growth. Beyond training programs, they require additional infrastructure support to further enhance their offerings, ensuring long-term benefits for the community, particularly with the anticipation of an increasing number of visitors in the future. As we eagerly anticipate our return, our optimism is entwined with the expectation of witnessing positive changes and an enhanced economic condition for the people of Tomongtong. The collaborative efforts of the local government unit, the tourism industry, private institutions, and patrons will play a pivotal role in scripting the next chapter of Tomongtong’s flourishing narrative.
Furthermore, we look forward to revisiting shortly, not only to follow up on any improvements in the area but also to assist in boosting their presence on social media. This additional support aims to amplify the positive impact and reach of Tomongtong’s unique offerings, fostering increased awareness and engagement within the wider community.
How to Get to Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail
- From Bacolod City: If you’re starting from Bacolod City, you can take a bus, van, or private vehicle heading towards EB Magalona. These modes of transportation are commonly available at the South Terminal in Bacolod City.
- Route to EB Magalona: The route typically involves passing through various towns and municipalities, so make sure to ask the driver or conductor to drop you off at EB Magalona.
- Local Transportation: Once you reach EB Magalona, you may need to take local transportation such as a tricycle or motorcycle to get to the location.
- Ask for Directions: It’s advisable to ask locals for specific directions to Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail to ensure you’re headed in the right direction.
- Navigation Apps: If you have access to a smartphone with navigation apps, you can use them to navigate to the destination. However, keep in mind that some rural areas may have limited network coverage.
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The parking area at the entrance of Tomongtong Mangrove Eco-Trail would greatly benefit from concrete surfacing. The current condition becomes excessively muddy, particularly on rainy days. Improving it with concrete would significantly enhance visitor experience and accessibility. This upgrade could be initiated by the LGU of the Municipality of EB Magalona.