TWO of the country’s fastest-growing ecotourism havens – Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls – are being eyed to be tagged as protected natural parks to preserve their unique physical and biological features.
Rep. Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur filed House Bills 1903 and 2116, proposing that the two wonders of nature in his home province be added to the national registry of 240 protected areas.
He said Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls should be the focus of aggressive conservation efforts for the future generations.
“No effort must be spared to conserve the magical river and the majestic falls, both of which are now clearly in danger of degradation on account of unchecked human activities, spurred mainly by the growing number of local and foreign visitors,” Pimentel, a member of the House committee on natural resources, said.
Enchanted River is a scenic, deep spring tributary situated in the villages of Talisay and Cambatong in Hinatuan town.
The river got its name from the late Modesto Farolan, the country’s first tourism commissioner (now the equivalent of tourism secretary), who was captivated by the waterway’s natural beauty and splendor that inspired him to write a romantic poem, “Rio Encantado.”
The extraordinarily clear blue, 270-meter river flows into the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean through Hinatuan Bay.
The Tinuy-an Falls, famous for its multi-tiered cascades that are 55 meters high and 95 meters wide, is the broadest falls in the Philippines. It is dubbed as the country’s Little Niagara Falls after the great chutes that straddle the Canada-United States border.
Located in Barangay Burboanan, Bislig City, Tinuy-an Falls has a highly diverse ecosystem that includes 235 varieties of plant and animal life, many of which have been marked vulnerable or endangered.
Under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992, portions of land and water may be reserved as protected areas, by law or by presidential proclamation, to safeguard and enrich their exceptional qualities.
The Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau oversees all protected areas, mostly with the help of local governments, or the state-run corporation that owns or controls the area.
The country’s largest protected area is the 761,416-hectare Palawan Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary, while the smallest is the 3.2-hectare Hinulugan Taktak in Antipolo City, Rizal province.