The old growth mangrove forests of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) on Palawan are one of the most important biodiversity conservation areas of the Philippines. Mangroves are highly significant in supporting the rich marine life in the St. Paul Bay where smaller fish feed and reproduce. The mangroves are home to reptiles like the Water Monitor lizard (Varanuspalawanensis), as well as a breeding site for several endangered avian species. As humanpopulation grow so do pressures on the coastal ecosystems of Palawan for expansion of aquaculture, land to convert for agriculture, and human infrastructure including for tourism.
The delicate balance of the mangrove ecosystem is vital to the health of marine biodiversity including freshwater and terrestrial endangered species. Mangroves serve as important fish nurseries as well as providing critical natural buffers protecting coastal communities from storm surges and Typhoons. The Sabang Mangrove Paddle Boat tours have increased community and visitors’ awareness regarding the significance the mangrove ecosystem and also serve as informal enforcement patrols to protect the wildlife and century old mangrove trees.
The Conservation Enterprise
In 2014 the Sabang Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour Assocation gained Wildlife Friendly® certification – becoming WFEN’s first certified enterprise in the Philippines. The Association employs 22 community members, mostly women, who conserve 47.55 hectares of high biodiversity mangrove habitat and protect endangered wildlife. Mangrove Paddle Boat Tours can be booked upon arrival in Palawan at the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour Guide kiosk located at Sabang, Cabayugan, the jumping off point for visiting Saint Paul’s Park.