BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The economy of EB Magalona, famous for its tasty blue crabs, is expected to get a further boost with the opening on June 4 of Isla Madalag Eco Haven, another eco-friendly tourism destination site in the municipality.
Located within the five-hectare mangrove area in coastal barangay of Madalag in EB Magalona, Negros Occidental, the Isla Madalag Eco Haven is considered on a higher level compared to the already known mangrove eco-trail in Brgy. Tomongtong, EB Magalona.
It offers “SUTUKIL” style of assorted seafoods, including blue crabs and talaba (oysters), among others, at affordable prices, disclosed Mayor Marvin Malacon.
As development of the area is still in progress, visitors may soon experience dining in a pastel-colored boat while touring the new destination site, which is being eyed to expand to an islet of Sitio Roma in the neighboring barangay, according to Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer Jojo Vargas, who is instrumental for the change of landscape in the area, as ordered by Malacon.
This new EB Magalona eco-tourism site is also a perfect spot to commune with nature, dine in the floating restaurant during high tide, walking on the bamboo bridge and climbing its watch tower for a view of the sunset.
To accommodate more tourists, Malacon said he is planning to relocate 15 houses which are currently painted with pastel colors, to pave the way for nipa huts.
We will also showcase our locally produced products, aside from employing residents of Brgy. Madalag who were previously employed as chefs and personnel of big restaurants and resorts, Malacon, who led the inauguration and blessing of the new tourist destination site in EB Magalona, said.
Barangay residents may also earn extra income by planting mangrove seedlings, to be sold to the municipal government for planting in the area, he added.
He also revealed the ongoing development of a riverbank in Brgy. San Isidro in EB Magalona, which he calls “Bongyod”, with a back drop of Canlusong mountains, beside a newly-opened privately-owned river resort in Brgy. Consing, EB Magalona.
With EB Magalona placed under Alert Level 1, Malacon also bared his plans to revive the “Sabado Nights” at the poblacion of EB Magalona, where visitors may enjoy eating street food while being entertained by live bands.
Additionally, the annual “Seafood Festival” will be revived in the first week of December, he added.
Malacon stressed that they are not competing with neighboring local government units, which his town supplies with assorted seafoods. “We just want to show what EB Magalona can offer to domestic and foreign tourists,” he said.
For Malacon, the COVID-19 had a positive effect to the Saraviahanons, as they explored more opportunities for residents to earn and promoting more eco-friendly tourist destination sites.
EB Magalona was among the local government units nationwide that recently passed the Good Financial Housekeeping, a component of the Department of Interior and Local Government Seal of Local Good Governance, and ranked third in most improved 2nd class municipality in Negros Occidental, Malacon said.
With all these improvement indicators, the “Ugyon Saraviahanon” theme of EB Magalona is indeed working and going for excellence, because of the unity and cooperation among its officials and residents, he stressed.*