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Ligao’s Batong Langoyon, Bicol’s best snorkeling spot

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LIGAO CITY --- Domestic and foreign tourists visiting the Bicol Region can find a new place on the outskirts of this city where they will enjoy snorkeling and be fascinated by the wondrous marine life.

Called Batong Languyon, the place, which can be found in Sitio Tambac, Barangay Maonon, is an islet that the city government under the stewardship of Mayor Fernando Gonzalez has been declared fish sanctuary and protected area where schools of fishes and arrays of beautifully arranged corals can be seen.

Miss Earth 2022 candidate Sheyla Ravelo Perez of Cuba described it as paradise. “I have seen giant clams too and colorful seaweeds when I went for a dip using my snorkel. The place is really fantastic,” she said.

Mayor Gonzalez developed the site for the locals and tourists who wish to feel the comfort of a pristine white powdery beaches and take a long breather far away from the busy urban life.

Perez was among the 24 Miss Earth candidates who had the chance to explore the west coast area of Albay. The ladies stayed in Punta Almara resort for their environmental activities as aspirants in the Miss Earth 2022, the 22nd edition of the Miss Earth pageant, which was conducted on November 29, this year, at the Okada Manila in Parañaque City.

Batong Languyon is about 2 kilometers away from Barangay Maonon. It can be reached in just 15 minutes by way of a motorized boat from that village.

Aside from the group of fisherfolk called Bantay Dagat who are manning the area against poaching or illegal hunting/capturing of wild animals is a number of police personnel and volunteers from Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit or CAFGU.

“We are showcasing the Albay west coast as one of the best tourist destinations today with the pandemic slowing down. Batong Languyon is the best diving site in the country. It is also one of the best snorkeling spots in the west coast of Albay province,” Gonzales, former Albay governor, said.

“Batong Languyon is our marine protected sanctuary and tourism destination with intact coral reefs and home of marine species,” the mayor said.

The Albay west coast is home to natural white sand beaches. Five kilometers away from that area is a mangrove forest with an area of approximately 50 hectares. A part of that forest is situated in Sitio Sawang of Barangay Cabadian where Miss Earth candidates planted mangroves.

The mangrove plantation has a watch tower with a wooden catwalk leading to a lagoon.

The forest is one of the city’s tourist attractions where 20 different species of mangrove trees are growing.

Bob Porcalla, team leader of the patrol base 11 of the city environment office stationed at Sitio Tambac, Brgy. Maonon, here, said that Batong Languyon is the third best locally managed marine protected area (MPA). The city government was conferred with the Para El Mar MPA Awards because of the project. Para El Mar MPA is a nationwide biennial event which showcases that best performing MPAs in the Philippines.

He said that Batong Languyon is also a nominee for the nationwide project of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources called Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan.

The construction of Albay’s west coast road makes the faraway villages in the province’s third district more accessible for those who wish to visit the picturesque landscape, untouched white powdery beaches and Batong Languyon rock formation.

The area, however, has poor mobile phone signals and no internet connection.

Albay 3rd district Rep. Fernando Cabredo said that he is seeking the assistance of the Department of Tourism in convincing the telecommunication companies such as Globe and Smart to establish cell sites in the area to improve the cable and internet services which will be benefitted also by the municipalities of Pioduran, Oas and Libon.

“I already asked Regional Director Herbie Aguas of the Department of Tourism to help us improve the telecommunication facilities in that place that will surely boost the number of tourists coming into the city. We need reliable internet and communication connections so that we can be able to improve the operations of the establishments that strengthen the local tourism industry here,” he said.

Cabredo, the vice chairman of the House Committee on Information and Communication Technology, said that he is requesting Aguas to convince the Secretary of the DOT to endorse his concern with the telecommunication companies.

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