Sunday, October 27, 2013
Danjugan Island Marine Sanctuary and Reserve
Danjugan Island Marine Sanctuary and Reserve, Negros Occidental, Philippines
Danjugan Island Marine Sanctuary and Reserve is one of the peaceful and quiet escape to nature near my hometown, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. Negros is one of the bigger islands in the 7,107 islands in the Philippines. Though our country is very small in area, but we have that number of islands, so, probably, you can all call us "islanders", since we all live in different islands. Some islands are bigger than others, such as the mainlands of Luzon and Mindanao, some are tiny and uninhabited, like Danjugan. Since technically, we all live in an island, many of us have grown to have an affinity for the sea.
Danjugan Island is not a commercial island, nor it is a beach resort. This is one of the very small islands surrounding Negros and is uninhabited. The only people in the island are the staffs that maintain this marine reserve and wildlife sanctuary.
The island has several caves which has been an important habitats for bats.
Can You Guess What Those Are That Clings to the Wall?
They are the same as the one flying above
Danjugan island is a bird sanctuary, there are several species of birds that frequent this island. Actually, though the island is filled with jubilant singing and chirping of birds, but sadly, I was not able to photograph any except the bats :( I saw some, but they were swift and could not take a picture. I heard them, but the dense forest made it hard to find them, you just know they were there hiding somewhere in the leaves, teasing you with their happy noises.
Though a very small island, about 43 hectares in size, but within the islands are several lagoons.
An Inland Lagoon
Lagoon Open to the Ocean
There are two lagoons that are open to the ocean, and four of them are surrounded by mangroves. Danjugan is one of the very few small islands in the Philippines that has still its original forest cover and unspoilt vegetation. The length of the island is about 1.5 km (about 0.93 mile) with a maximum width of 0.5 km ( 0.3 mile ). Now, knowing these numbers, you can imagine how small it is! The island rises steeply to 80 m ( 262.5 ft ) and is covered in rainforest.
The island has several sandy beaches, surrounded by rainforest and coral reef, a combination of two of the most bio-diverse ecosystems in the world. The total area of the reserve, which includes both the island and the reef is about 200 hectares.
Small Boat We Take Going to Danjugan
Since Danjugan is 3 km west of Bulata in Cawayan, Negros Occidental, there is a need to take a small boat from Bulata. Danjugan Island promotes eco-tourism to continue the preservation of the natural resources there and remain unspoiled. The eco-cabanas for the eco-tourists are made of wooden and other indigenous materials, and has no walls on the side that has the sights of the ocean and the sunset.
This is What You See From Your Cabana, Why Wall Off This View?
There is no airconditioning in the island, electricity is only at night and is solar and wind powered, there are no flushing toilets ( you have to use buckets to flush the toilets), there is no shower, instead, we use pail and dipper to bathe. This is not a typical tourist destination since only 16 people at one time are allowed to spend nights in the island. This is a pure nature destination for those who prefer to have the whole stretch of the white sand beaches to themselves.
Of course, there are many other more popular tourist destination near my hometown, and a lot of tourists and vacationers would always stop at Boracay, but I always preferred a quieter escape where I can hear a more concentrated sound of nature around me.
For more about Danjugan Island and how you may be able to help in the preservation of the coral reef and tropical rain forest resources, or how you may be able to spend some days here and do some hiking, snorkeling, diving, etc, please visit Danjugan Island , A Marine Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary website.