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Ligao City opens islet for diving, snorkeling

By Jorge Hallare LIGAO CITY --- The city government here has opened an islet called “Batong Languyon” in Sitio Tambac, Barangay Maonon for snorkeling and diving activities. “We need to help and push the tourism industry of Batong Languyon as one of the best diving and snorkeling sports in the west coast of Albay province,” Albay 3rd District Rep. Fernando Gonzales said in an interview Tuesday. At a distance of almost 2 km. off Barangay Maonon, the islet can be reached in just 15 minutes through a locally made motorboat called “armageddon” or any other small motorized vessel. In the waters surrounding the islet, divers could see at a depth of 80 feet a variety of beautiful coral reefs, sea grasses and different species of fish. “Even the giant ‘taklobos’ (clams) can be found beneath and around the rock islet,” Gonzales said. Ligao City has declared the “Batong Languyon” a fish sanctuary and protected area to safeguard the coral reefs, marine resources and species of fish dwelling in the area, and established a “Bantay Dagat” to guard the islet against illegal fishermen. According to the legislator, his office is helping develop the tourism industry in the west coast area to promote the natural beauty of the almost-white sand beaches, not only in Ligao City, but also in Oas, Pio Duran and nearby towns in the third district of Albay. Meanwhile, a large mangrove area in Sitio Tambac in Maonon village and Sitio Sawang of Cabadian village in this city was also developed by the city government by constructing a wooden catwalk going into the lagoon. Gonzales allocated a budget from his congressional fund to construct the catwalk and is also planning to have a watchtower at the center of the mangrove area. He said there is a big potential for the mangrove area to become a tourist attraction, noting that it spans 64 hectares and with 20 different species of mangrove trees. The lawmaker said he wants to develop it as a tourist attraction while protecting the natural habitat. He also said there are other seashores in these villages where he wants mangrove trees to be planted as these could protect coastal communities from big waves during typhoons and could serve as a fish sanctuary. PNA

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