Bakhawan Eco-park: A local gem

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Life is so full of incredible surprises. Sometimes, what you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all. I least envision that the road I have traveled on, paved with less expectation will lead me to this beautiful and exceptional paradise.

Less than 20 minutes by tricycle from my aunt’s house in Kalibo where I was staying for a vacation lead me to the discovery of this real local gem. It’s my first time to be in this place though I always spend my summer vacation in this town. It’s true enough that we take for granted the things around us, making it invisible.

The Bakhawan Eco-Park is a 220 hectare forest of mangroves in New Buswang, Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines. The centerpiece of this mangrove forest is a 1.3-kilometer bamboo trail that takes visitors deep into the mangrove forest. It is actually a man-made reforestation project that transformed hectares of mudflats into a sustainable eco-park.

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This man-made mangrove forest is a solid proof that with the help of the community, nature can be nurtured and as a sign of its gratitude to mankind, it nurtures the people back.

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As you stroll on the bamboo trail, beautifully arranged mangrove will delight your eyes, the smell of fresh and clean air will fill your nostril as light wind caresses your skin that will leave a comforting feeling on your being, the swaying tree breeze and chirping birds’ sound music to your ears.

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This place is home to different species of mangrove trees and it serves as a sanctuary for various types of birds and marine species.

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Blue that illuminates the color of the sky and color the sea, green that painted the plants and forest, brown that gives a melancholic effect to the solid ground and yellow, the color of the sun that is the main source of light are the colors of nature that provides an antidote to the gloomy soul. This place will never fail to amaze the nature lover out there.

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At the end of this wooden bamboo trail, you will be greeted by the sea. You have a sandbar on the opposite side where you can walk or kayak for a fee.There’s a rest area for weary tourist after a long walk. A small store is also available for those who whose craving for something to eat or refreshments.

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Other features in the park includes a watchtower, souvenir shop, canteen, massage area, charcoal briquetting, picnic huts and a Center for International Mangrove Studies. This place is now considered as one of the must-visit spots in Kalibo. For those looking to have a quite time to commune with nature, the Bakhawan Eco-Park is the perfect place to go to.

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Not your typical Bakasyonista in Aklan

The thought of going back to my parents’ hometown AKLAN caused a stir in me for two things: I’m raring to embark on a new adventure and to get some inspiration for my stories and to have a breath of fresh air I’ve been dreaming for so long.

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Boracay Island is part of Malay municipality in Aklan province. Photo credit to Phillip Kimpo Jr.

Though been there several times, I only managed to go to Boracay Island and the province capital Kalibo. I was young and penniless back then and I just go along with my parents’ itinerary. But unforntunately staying at home to reconnect with their long lost relatives and childhood friends is their thing. (But what is a vacation after all if you will just stay at home) Our stay is also short-lived, the longest I can remember is just for five days because my parents work demands them to go back.

But everything is different now.

Before our trip, I spent sleepless nights searching for good places to visit in Aklan. I made a promise that this will be one of the best vacations of my life since money is not a problem! I will go to undiscovered places known only by the locals, indulge to a wonderful experience of motorcycle ride as I tour around the province, taste local cuisine and join in the dance parade of the very popular Ati-atihan festival.

I’ll write all my travel stories here.