Partners introduce official mangrove eco-guides as stewards of ecotourism

Metro Pacific Investments Foundation (MPIF), the corporate social responsibility arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC), and the local government of Cordova held today the grand opening of the Mangrove Propagation and Information Center in Brgy. Day-as, Cordova, Cebu.

Cordova Mayor Mary Therese “Teche” Sitoy Cho, MPIF President Melody M. Del Rosario, and CCLEC President and General Manager Allan G. Alfon led the grand opening of the first mangrove center of its kind in the Visayas region and the third in the whole country. The center will help Cordova’s booming ecotourism flourish.

The two-storey facility will serve as the center for the protection and propagation of mangrove trees in the coastal areas, including the rehabilitation of degraded mangroves in the whole Municipality of Cordova. It will also provide information locals and visitors and let them appreciate the importance and benefits of mangroves in the ecosystem. The second floor serves as a viewing deck for bird-watching activities.

“The Mangrove Propagation and Information Center is a legacy project of MPIF and CCLEC for the people of Cordova,” said del Rosario. “Similar to our existing centers in Alaminos, Pangasinan and Del Carmen, Siargao, it will create employment opportunities that positively impact the economic condition of their municipality.”

Through the center, MPIF is living up to its responsibilities in sustainability by addressing a number of Sustainable Development Goals such as 14 Life Below Water, 15 Life on Land, 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, 13 Climate Action, and 17 Forming Partnerships to Attain the Goals.

“The completion of this mangrove center is a testament to the intent of CCLEC, MPIF, and the local government of Cordova to prioritize the environmental sustainability of our surrounding projects,” said Alfon. “We are set to be a reliable partner in progress, while continuously placing value on their natural resources.”

A subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, CCLEC is the builder of the 8.5-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway, or CCLEX, a toll bridge that will link Cordova in Mactan Island to mainland Cebu through the South Road Properties in Cebu City. CCLEC will maintain and operate the P30-billion facility under a joint venture agreement with the Local Government Units of Cordova and Cebu City.

GRAND OPENING. (From left) CCLEC President and General Manager Allan G. Alfon, MPIF President Melody M. Del Rosario, Cordova Mayor Mary Therese “Teche” Sitoy-Cho, and Vice Mayor Ximgil Dino Sitoy cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the Mangrove Propagation and Information Center in Brgy. Day-as, Cordova.

Mangrove Eco-guides of Cordova

The induction of mangrove eco-guides was also held during the inauguration of the center. Four individuals nominated by the local government will serve as official mangrove eco-guides, handling the daily operations and maintenance of the mangrove center while providing the necessary orientation and tour for visitors in the mangrove center and mangrove park.

AGREEMENT. Signing the agreement for the partnership on the Mangrove Eco-Guides program are (from left) CCLEC President and General Manager Allan G. Alfon, MPIF President Melody M. Del Rosario, Cordova Mayor Mary Therese “Teche” Sitoy-Cho, and Tourism Consultant Atty. Jessica Banzon-Natad.

INDUCTION. The eco-guides after their induction.

The eco-guides underwent a week-long training session, which linked up the Cordova eco-guide trainees with the Alaminos and Del Carmen eco-guides. The program comprised of learning sessions, where the existing eco-guides and their local government partners shared experiences and best practices with the future guides.

“We entrust this Mangrove Propagation and Information Center to the people of Cordova, under Mayor Teche Sitoy-Cho, in the belief that they will use this to advance their environmental and economic agenda,” said MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.

“The Municipality of Cordova is thankful to MPIF, CCLEC, and Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan, for the work they put in to successfully establish this facility in our area,” said Mayor Sitoy-Cho. “Aside from being a point of convergence for mangrove information and research, we intend to sustain it through creating complimentary programs that highlight our rich and thriving ecotourism.”

The mangrove center signifies the common mission of all three parties to conserve and protect the country’s coastal and marine biodiversity through the protection and propagation of the mangrove ecology.

UNVEILING OF THE MARKER. The officials lead the unveiling of the marker.