The Buenavista Community Based Sustainable Tourism (CBST) environmental initiative has continued to plant mangroves during and after Typhoon Odette in 2021.

Odette also destroyed the nursery, which is scheduled for rehabilitation and restoration from January to March 2023.

According to Ronnie Dela Cruz, president of Magayen it Buenavista Multipurpose Cooperative Inc. and Buenavista Viewdeck CBST, they continue to operate despite many challenges in recent years.

Dela Cruz stated that 2,000 mangroves will be replanted in their mangrove nursery as part of a rehabilitation program following the effects of the typhoon that devastated many barangays in the city, including theirs.

“Lahat [ng nakatanim dito sa nursery] ay resulta ‘yan ng volunteerism, walang bayad ‘yan. Initiative lang din talaga ng CBST na magkaroon ng ganito, tapos ang mga seedlings na ito ay itatanim na by June, papalitan naman natin,” he said.

Dela Cruz said the mangrove plantation initiative aims to protect the environment from natural disasters and to address environmental issues such as climate change.

They were able to establish and construct the nursery before the pandemic in 2019.

He added that their cooperative has also started an ecotour, which includes snorkeling and a mangrove plantation, as an additional activity for tourists visiting Buenavista Viewdeck.

“Aayusin ito tapos dadagdagan pa ng seedlings, may mga naiwan pa kami dyan na lambat pampaikot dito [pero] kawayan na lang ang wala pa,” Dela Cruz said.

“Ang concept ay pwede namin patanimin ang guest ng bakaw, kasama doon sa package nila. Nakagawa kami ng nursery kaya lang nagkaroon ng pandemic tapos nasira ng Odette,” he said.

Dela Cruz, who lives in the fishing-dependent barangay, believes it is critical to preserve the mangrove area since it provides breeding grounds and shelter to various marine species.

The Mangrove Nursery Project is in partnership with Pilipinas Shell Foundation Incorporated (PSFI),  Buenavista Barangay Council, and DENR-CENRO Puerto Princesa.

“Tulong na lang din namin ito sa environment at sa community, dahil dito nakakatulong kami at nakakapag participate sa protection of environment,” Dela Cruz said.

“Ang Buenavista talaga dagat ang karamihan na kabuhayan dito, sabi nga diba kapag maraming mangrove ay maraming mangingitlog na mga isda, kung walang mangroves ay wala din tayong makukuha,” he added.