“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are.” ~ Samuel Johnson
Even before the shy sun had peeped at the eastern horizon on October 28, 2015, the ATTA-CALABARZON (DOT-accredited Association of Travel and Tours Agencies in Region IV-A) members and friends were already awake, while others were already traveling — excited for the trip and explorations in San Nicolas, Batangas.
The familiarity tour was the benchmarking of our campaign: “One Region, One Destination. Come Visit CALABARZON!” The Municipality of San Nicolas, courtesy of Mayor Epifanio Sandoval, sponsored the activity with awesome adventures entailed.
One Region, One Destination
ATTA-CALABARZON’s first encounter with Mayor Sandoval was during the significant event in the Department of Tourism in Makati, dubbed as “It’s Countdown to Christmas” on October 14, 2015, when he presented the “Pansipit River and Volcano Island Bird Sanctuary ”. Everyone present there was in awe of the unfolding of “The Hidden Paradise of Batangas, The Real Gateway to Taal Volcano” during the CALABARZON Community-based Ecotourism Sites Presentation.
San Nicolas is an hour travel from Manila, the smallest and yet, the richest town in Batangas (rich in natural resources and the town is debt free!). Mayor Sandoval (International Consultant of PEZA for 18 years) has been passionate in maximizing the potentials of his town, especially with the development and care of the ecotourism sites, since his first term in 2007. He’s been very intuitive and very creative in promoting and in providing means to develop the town’s treasures without spending much of their funds and without any debt, even a single peso! He’s an impeccable philanthropist!
Very Accommodating “Tiyo Peping”
Mayor Sandoval and the Tourism Department of San Nicolas welcomed us with mirth and warmth, ironic to its town’s cool and breezy milieu. After the briefing, astounded with the superb information; bay walk moments and photo op, gawking at Taal Volcano on the left Mt. Maculot on the right; we had a short stop at the pristine and peaceful Pansipit River. Then we finally explored the Volcano Island and its terrific treats!
Bewildered and Bewitched
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” ~ Ibn Battuta
Recently, more tourists are fascinated to explore San Nicolas not just because of Taal Volcano, but of other ecotourism attractions such as the Pansipit River, Bird Sanctuary, and the Lava Walk.
Pristine Pansipit River
“A river is more than an amenity—it is a treasure that offers a necessity of life that must be rationed among those who have the power over it.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
The Pansipit River is the only gateway to Balayan Bay, especially for ‘Maliputo’ fishes (caranx ignobilis). The town is known for its Maliputo Festival, an annual festival held every 9th of August, highlighting a massive street dancing contest; best booth competitions and a cook fest showcasing the different recipes from Maliputo fishes. This species can only be found in Taal Lake, and it’s expensive (P600 per kilo), but it’s worth it! It’s delicious, according to numerous people. Illegal fish cages aren’t allowed, those were taken out. Only certified 8, 000 fish cages are allowed to operate.
We were enraptured on our stop there, much more on our tour back to the municipal hall from Volcano Island exploration. We’ve ridden a boat and had sightseeing on the river. It’s very calm and clean, the cliquey experience was remarkable!
Beauteous Bird Sanctuary
“Birds are sensitive to sounds before the volcano erupts, they would be the first to know.” ~ Professor Gerry de Villa, University of the Philippines
Migratory birds don’t only beautify the Volcano Island and attract tourists, it also helps indicate the condition of the ecosystem and the community. It’s very significant for the migratory birds to stay in our country which they consider a home away from home for a long period of time. There’s a certain trust that makes them stay and they don’t fly away when boats and people approach. They even welcomed us with glow and glee!
This beauteous Bird Sanctuary at the 1965 Crater was approved by Sangguniang Bayan on July 25,2011 as a tourist destination. It was featured, entitled “IBONG MALAYA” at Patrol ng Pilipino (ABS-CBN), by Zen Hernandez and Dominique Almedor.
The Bird Sanctuary has been the newest attraction of San Nicolas. During the second term of Mayor Sandoval, the ordinance to stop hunting and killing birds was implemented. Migratory birds have found haven in the verdant island. The lush green foliage has been their refuge. It’s been a consistent activity of the municipality to have tree planting during the rainy season. 250,000 trees and fruit trees were already planted in the Volcano Island since 2007.
The migratory birds who choose to migrate and stay in the island are Egret (little egret, intermediate egret & great egret), Heron (purple heron and black-crowned night heron), coots and little grebes. We’ve seen ravens as well, which are common birds.
More than 200 species of birds are endemic or can only be found in the Philippines. During an interview of ABS-CBN’s Patrol ng Pilipino, University of the Philippines’ Professor Gerry de Villa, a bird enthusiast, uttered that he’s dismayed because Filipinos don’t give much care or concern for our natural treasures such as these birds and bird sanctuaries. “The Philippines has the largest number of endemic birds per square kilometer in the world, but has the biggest number of extinction rate in the world as well.”
One of the reasons, according to Professor de Villa is illegal logging or kaingin. The great demands of roasted chicken in Manila and in the cities demands great volume of charcoals, which are mainly from trees’ trunks.
The Bird Sanctuary is a great potential to boost the tourism industry in our country. The community has a great responsibility to keep it safe and secured. You’ll love our country when you are aware of its beauty and when you realize how rich our country is, with its natural resources.
Statuesque Lava Walk
“It is the lava of the imagination whose eruption prevents an earthquake.” ~ Lord Byron
The world-renowned Great Wall of China has been known as a historical icon of China. Meanwhile, the Great Lava Walk of San Nicolas is paving it’s way to the road of history as “the first and only Lava Walk in the Philippines”.
From 1965 until 1977 is the most recent period of Taal Volcano’s eruptions. The 1965 eruption killed about 100 people when it devastated the villages on the lake shore. It’s classified as phreatomagmatic, generated by the interaction of magma with the water lake which produced the violent explosion that cut an embayment on the Volcano Island. Thus, black lava were artistically molded into fascinating formations which beautify the Volcano Island. Out of the horrible natural disaster came an aftermath which has become another significant attraction vividly seen through the Lava Walk.
Beguiled and Betrayed
“For so long, I was fooled and beguiled by this! I have believed that this one seen in Tagaytay is the Taal Volcano, even on pictures in postcards and textbooks. This is “Binintiang Malaki” and never was the Volcano!” – Lax Mendoza, President, ATT-CALABARZON
“For all my life, I’ve always thought and believed that it’s the Taal Volcano, oh no! I was deceived! I felt betrayed!” – Ellen Barrios – Narvas, Flybook Travel and Tours Owner/General Manager
Well, it’s break even! Haha! I felt the same way when I first toured Taal Volcano via Talisay, Batangas five years ago, on February 14, 2010! I felt beguiled, betrayed. I felt so sour at first, and yet its surreal scenery and sweet memoir swept me off my feet! Standing and stretching my hands like that of Titanic scene of Rose with Jack at the highest peak on the cliff was scary, and yet legendary – I conquered Taal Volcano! But it was just one-fourth of the whole package, now that I’ve finally found out more about Taal Volcano and after exploring the Volcano Island.
Here’s my throwback travel post in my old blog: “A Peek at the Peak of Taal Volcano”
To avail the day tour package, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Check the day tour package at Flybook Travel and Tours.
Note: Photos credit to Bill Dacara (most of the photos taken with and without FLYBOOK watermark) otherwise stated.
© 2015 LAF