Latest Stories

Zambales fishers try ecotourism


BOTOLAN, Zambales—A fishing village in Zambales is relying on alternative sources of income after the combination of fish cage proliferation and a battery of storms almost depleted the Bangcal River of fish.

Armando Dejesa, 52, a fisherman in Barangay Parel here and a member of Parel Union for Water Environment Resources and Social Action (Puwersa), said fish cages had diminished their livelihood. “Fishermen here have joined hands to put a stop to that practice. We don’t want fish cages here [since] our primary livelihood is [in] the sea,” he said.

“To give our fishing grounds a rest, and also to protect the environment, we are coming up with alternative sources of income,” said Norberto Cabrera, Parel village chair.

Singapore’s Mercy Relief has turned Parel’s community life around.

In July 2011, Mercy Relief, together with the Center for the Development of Indigenous Science and Technology, launched a 12-month sustainable livelihood project benefiting 380 families.

Mercy Relief officials said the livelihood projects cost P3.7 million, which also financed bookkeeping tutorials and various business management courses for villagers.

They have taken up mangrove farming, fish processing to make smoked fish, and crab meat production, courtesy of the ideas promoted by Mercy Relief, Cabrera said.

Esmeraldo Dejesa, 47, Puwersa chair, described Parel as a community composed of farmers and fishermen who are “only poor people,” and the dwindling fish supply had made their condition worse.


During the inauguration of one of the group’s sustainable livelihood projects here on Tuesday, Ong Bon Chai, Mercy Relief vice chair, said massive efforts were required to rebuild the lives of those affected and displaced by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” and Typhoon “Kiko” in 2009.

Mercy Relief financed the construction of a production center for smoked milkfish and shrimp paste. Ong said the facility had introduced a mud crab culture that “would allow for additional sources of income for the local community.”

A study conducted by Mercy Relief said: “Since 2000, the average fish catch of small-scale fishers has been reduced by 60 percent. In recent times, six hours of fishing operations can only yield about 2 [kilograms] of catch, which is barely enough to feed a family of three.

“In the coastal areas of Botolan, mangrove conversion has been one of the key problems for the locals. Most of the areas have been converted into fishponds by private individuals or companies over the years. With the decreasing mangrove habitat, the recruitment of marine species such as crabs has declined significantly. Catching of crabs in mangrove and river systems is one of the main sources of livelihood for the villagers.”

In his speech, Ong said: “The inclusion of the mangrove ecotourism initiative [to the community’s potential business alternatives] would help rehabilitate the natural resources of Botolan for [future generations]. These integrated initiatives would provide the community with enhanced capacity to face future challenges, working together with one another to preserve the environment and secure themselves a better standard of living.”

Romeo Devillas, 58, who has been working on the mangroves since 2007, said that more than a hectare of swamp in Botolan had been covered with mangroves.

“Now [the mangroves have] also become a tourist attraction and fishermen show visitors around in their bancas,” he said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: ecotourism , Fishing industry , Regions

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  6. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  7. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  8. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  9. Town, DENR play tug-of-war over crocodile
  10. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. Massage attendant arrested on rape complaint filed by Japanese tourist
  3. ‘Tell no one’ Makati bettor won P250M lotto
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  6. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  7. North Korea uses flamethrower to execute official
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  10. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  • AFP denies hand in disappearance of Tiamzon’s gardener
  • PH gov’t to verify MILF presence in Basilan clash
  • Padaca ‘eager’ to air side on trial over graft, malversation raps
  • DPWH to favor road rehab over preventive maintenance in next 2 years
  • Sports

  • Power Pinoys salvage 7th place in Asian men’s volley club championship
  • Knicks prevent Nets from clinching fifth seed
  • Arsenal beats West Ham 3-1 in Premier League
  • Memorial service marks Hillsborough anniversary
  • My ideal weight is 140, declares Pacquiao
  • Lifestyle

  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  • Entertainment

  • Deniece Cornejo posts bail—report
  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • 2NE1 returns to Manila with “All Or Nothing” Tour
  • Gary Valenciano just keeps moving
  • Business

  • I-Remit teams up with Lakhoo for remittances from Oman
  • Megawide nets P1.4 B in 2013
  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Make a stylish statement with the all-new Yaris
  • Hearing set in Olarte case
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • 2 PCG men ordered arrested over Balintang Channel shooting
  • US Embassy closed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday
  • Relief worker draws inspiration from helping Yolanda victims
  • Philippines says peace pact should hold despite clashes
  • No travel restrictions to Middle East amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Marketplace