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The vast mangrove forest of del Carmen town in Siargao Island, considered to be the largest continuous mangrove stand in the country, would be closed for rehabilitation. (photo by Erwin Mascariñas)

Siargao lagoon to be closed for rehabilitation

By ERWIN MASCARIÑAS
Correspondent . 

SUGBA Lagoon, one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Siargao Island, would be closed to tourists and visitors as the local government unit of Del Carmen rehabilitates the area.

The lagoon would be closed to the public for a month starting this week to give it a “well-deserved breather” from tourists, said Alfredo Matugas Coro II, mayor of Del Carmen town.

“For one month every year, we allow nature to recover by itself. It’s more like a vacation leave, a time for the waters, flora and fauna to heal. The lagoon is different compared to a beach as it does not have a direct flow of water coming from the open sea,” Coro said.

Data show the lagoon had brought in over P7 million in local government revenues in 2017 alone. The lagoon attracts an average of 700 to 1,000 visitors a day.

Coro said there has been a sudden increase in the number of visitors who come to enjoy the lagoon’s clear turquoise waters.

He said the influx of tourists increased the demand for boats to take visitors to and from Caub Island where the lagoon is located. The town has at least 105 pump boats serving tourists.

In 2017, boats bringing tourist to Caub started catering to a package tour to other area’s in Del Carmen namely island of Kawhagan with it’s white sand beach, the shallow clear blue waters of Isla Berdi, and other spots in Siargao. 

The reopening of the lagoon would be before Valentine’s Day as tourism arrivals are expected to rise towards the peak months of summer 2019. 

According to the Department of Natural Resources (DENR), the town of Del Carmen has the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the country which is about 8,620 hectares. 

Many of the species found there are rare and endangered. This unique area is also home to the saltwater crocodile (crocodylus porosus), the largest land and river-dwelling predator in the world.

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