By Rhea B. Peñaflor
“I may not have millions of pesos in the bank, but I have millions of legacy left in the forest.”— Father Jaranilla
The newly-opened Pagatpat Resort in Mantangingi, East Valencia, Buenavista, Guimaras is named after “pagatpat”, a species of mangrove growing around the place for centuries now.
Father Cornelio Jaranilla, Jr., OCD, shares that mangrove reforestation is his primary aim in developing and preserving their family-owned resort. This was his first project since he vividly recalls that as a child, he was so fond of the thick and healthy mangroves which used to cover the waters in their place. Also, the presence of crocodiles in the mangroves was a usual scene during his elementary years.
“Pagatpat Resort has been here for three years but we publicly opened it Holy Week of this year. We have planted 30, 000 “bakhaw” seedlings, but only 10% of these survived. As an agriculturist by profession, I believe that it is my duty to educate the people of the ills of deforestation. I am always pro-ecology and the tendency to deplete our natural resources should never be an option. I am strongly against kaingin and quarrying because these are the causes of erosion and calamities”, says Fr. Jaranilla.
A believer of nature which he calls a lifetime investment, Fr. Jaranilla finds joy in preserving the natural resources especially the mangroves as a legacy that he wants to share with the community. “I may not have millions of pesos in the bank, but I have millions of legacy left in the forest,” expresses this nature’s long time activist Carmelite priest.
Also, Fr. Jaranilla considers himself as a responsible steward of God’s creations by beautifying and restoring the natural resources that God has given us. This is his own interpretation of prayer in action, which is a prayer in transformation.
Pagatpat Resort has 5 rooms, 3 cottages, a one 4-level tree-house and a restaurant. All of these amenities are made of native products and stand on strong mangrove trees, preserving these natural resources. River cruising is also available where tourists and guests will be able to see the mangroves preserved by this private resort as well as other neighboring islands. Fishing is also an option to those who want to experience “panikup sa punot”, or catching fish through the fish trap. Not only fish can be caught but as well as squid and other seashells.
At nighttime, when one would go river cruising, fireflies still swamp the mangroves. According to Fr. Jaranilla, this means that the natural resources surrounding it such as the mangroves are still healthy because of the presence of the fireflies.
The good thing about the resort too, is that, Fr. Jaranilla himself holds an orientation for tourists and visitors about taking care of our natural resources at the same time respecting the place by not making so much noise and not throwing garbage anywhere. It is also worthy to note that when he is not around, the one who manages does the orientation and this is one way of educating the public about the significance of our beautiful and rich natural resources.
There is also the “Boracan” tour, a tour in the nearby 16-hectare farm of the Pagatpat Resort owner where organic rice and vegetables are planted. The exciting horseback riding is also a part of the Boracan tour where tourists may also take a breather when they are in the farm.
Indeed, Pagatpat Resort is by all means a winner. Not only will visitors enjoy the scenery but they will sure go home with a different perspective of truly doing their part in preserving Mother Nature.
* The writer can be reached through her email address: email@example.com*