I was amazed by the huge make-over I saw in the baywalk of Capalonga. In just a matter of few years they were able to transform an ugly and dangerous coastal area into an example of safe tourism site. Before the transformation, the bay area of Capalonga Poblacion is literally a garbage dumpsite. It was also a dangerous area for its inhabitants. There were houses near this area and their lives become endangered whenever a storm surge is coming.
When I visited recently, they already cleaned the bay, constructed a strong seawall, a basketball court, an open air stadium, a tourism office and a Pasalubong Center. Mayor Senandro Jalgalado initiated the project in order to remove the eyesores and prevent the harmful effects of the garbage in the environment especially if it reaches the sea.
They cleaned the bay and removed all the garbage. Then the houses were relocated in a better place away from the danger of floods and storm surge. They constructed the infrastructure that will complement the view. They also added structures that will attract visitors like the basketball court and the open air stadium that cater to sporting and social events.
A group of volunteers called Bantay Dagat was organized in order to maintain the cleanliness of the place. This will ensure that the dumping of garbage will not happen again. There will be no more houses allowed to construct near the bay walk again.
The former dumpsite is now a beautiful baywalk just like in Roxas Boulevard, Manila. It is a place where family can stroll and enjoy a picnic during Sunday and watch the beautiful sunset. Pilgrims has now more reason to stay for longer time after visiting the Black Nazarene. They can enjoy the fresh air from the beach, relax or watch events at the auditorium.
It’s just a matter of adding other activities and attractions to this area so that it will become more attractive as a tourist spot. It has a potential to generate income and help the small entrepreneurs. A good addition to the place are food carts that will sell native food and delicacies of Capalonga.
Cresencio B. Adlawan
Provincial Tourism Operations Division