Contact Us
Century International Hotels



MisOcc keeps RP’s best fish sanctuary
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: By Ruben B. Yap
Date: 2005-01-19
SINACABAN, Misamis Occidental – Unknown to many Filipinos, this northwestern Mindanao province hosts the Philippines’ best eco-tourism park, the Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP).

MOAP did not just materialize from nowhere. It is perhaps one of the few if not the only one of its kind in the country. It has been conceptualized and now managed successfully by the local government unit.

Misamis Occidental used to be among the poorest provinces in the country. It was in fact hard to locate it in the map, a reality challenge that made Gov. Loreto Leo Ocampos to venture on a project that can promote his province and accelerate tourism development that should benefit his constituents.

The 40-hectare MOAP was once a deserted farm land. Its seafront used to reverberate from illegal dynamite fishing, one big reason which compelled local leaders here to act and save the environment and its valuable marine resources, especially corals and fishes.

More than three years ago, during his first term, Ocampos conceptualized an aquamarine park where both local folks and visitors could appreciate nature at its best. He literally scrimped and initially set aside R5 million for the project.

A good cause generally attracts support and cooperation. Soon enough, the Department of Tourism, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Office of the President, and private investors came forward to contribute their share for the project.

After three years, in time for the 75th founding anniversary of the province, the long desired Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park became a reality. It came about as a labor of love, dedication and unflinching political will by local leaders of the province.

Facing the pristine waters of Putting Batas Island fish sanctuary, a 20-minutes banca ride away, MOAP now offers both learning experience and adventure to visitors interested in the wonders of nature.

The park has a Marine Wildlife Holding and Rehabilitation Area, which includes facilities for aquaculture production, marine animal sanctuary, hatcheries, grouper culture, lobster culture, fresh prawn culture, bangus culture, shrimp culture, and marine resources conservation and eco-tourism.

It also has a hotel, restaurants, mini zoo and a diving shop. It’s marine area has become a first-rate diving destination, where visitors can see sea turtles, dolphins and other marine animals in its crystal-clear waters.

MOAP enjoys the reputation of being the best eco-tourism destination in the Northeastern Mindanao and in the country. It now aspires to become one of the best in Southeast Asia and in the world.

As important as the revenue it rakes in is the instructional value it shares with everyone on "how important it is to protect the environment, especially the ocean," Gov. Ocampos stressed.

"We still have to source out funds for our environmental program and to develop the area further," said Ocampos who explained that part of the entrance fees they collect go to further development of the park’s facilities. Aqua culture production especially tilapia, which Ocampos considers a potential profit center for the province, occupies a good part of the park.

"We concentrate on tilapia culture since BFAR has assured us there is a strong demand" for it in the domestic and export markets, the governor added.

Presently, Misamis folks have now come to consider MOAP as a model institution in itself enriched by the people’s direct investments in it.


Indonesia Thailand USA Europe Canada Hong Kong Philippines