The Calape Bay Cruise takes you from Isla Hayahay Beach Resort where we set sail towards the Mangroves that surround Pangangan Island. About 115 hectares of Pangangan Island has been declared as a Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve.
It is here that you will have the opportunity to get in a Kayak and explore a part of this unique nature environment.
Duration: 2 – 3 hours
Prices: Php 1,500/boat (incl. Kayaks)
Pangangan Island is luckier than most small Philippine islands. It is easily accessible by land, thanks to a 3.5-km causeway that connects it to Calape in mainland Bohol. But it wasn’t always so. Community elders still speak of a time when, to get to the town proper of Calape, they had to walk about 4 km in the shallow waters that separate their island from the mainland (travel by boat is not possible except during high tide).
Relief came when the causeway was completed in the 1950s and, for the first time, the residents of Pangangan enjoyed the convenience of road travel. But not for long. Barely, two feet above water during high tide, the coral-and-limestone causeway was easily damaged by strong waves and typhoons, so it was often impassable. Indeed, saving the causeway seemed to many people an expensive and fruitless undertaking — until two men showed them the way.
How they did it
Felipe Josol Ytac Sr. was the principal of Pangangan Elementary and High School when he and some student volunteers began planting in the late 1950s hundreds of mangrove propagates (mainly Rhizophora stylosa or bakauan bato) at the approach of the causeway on Pangangan.
This small beginning was enough to inspire Anastacio Toloy, who took over Ytac’s post in 1961, to continue the project. Toloy rallied his male students, most of them Boy Scouts, from the third grade to high school to plant mangroves along the causeway, while the girls were assigned to collect 100 propagates each at a nearby natural stand at the south side of the causeway.
Soon, mangrove planting became an annual event for Toloy and his students, who religiously planted more propagates, usually during the “Scouting Month” of October. Heartened by their initial success, the rest of the community started to pitch in, making the planting a regular feature of their weekend picnics. Learning from experience, they began planting the propagates at a much closer spacing than the usual 1 meter which resulted in higher mortality and branchy trees. Such close spacing allowed the young trees to protect each other from strong waves and also enhanced height growth. The mangroves flourished and, by 1982, the plantation covered a total area of 6 hectares stretching to 2.5 km toward the mainland.
Showing the way
Today, both sides of the causeway, except for a short stretch near the mainland, are covered with mangroves — the south side with natural stand consisting of bakauan, bungalon (Avicennia marina) and pagatpat (Sonneratia alba), and the north side with the community’s bakauan bato plantation. The still open portion of the causeway has been planted several times, but the plantings failed because of the presence in the area of crustacean and other marine borers which feed on the propagates. Even so, the residents of Pangangan have without a doubt saved their causeway. With hardly any assistance from outside, they have also given the rest of the world a showcase of the shoreline protectional value of mangroves, and the community spirit that made it happen.