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Introducing - Angat Rainforest and Eco Park




It was just a couple of months ago when, after evaluating the ecotourism potential of Angat Watershed and submitting the development framework plan, I got invited to the "soft launch" of now Angat Rainforest and Ecopark.

My jaws literally dropped and I could not believe that the National Power Corporation people would be working so fast to make things happen! The phrase, "if there's a will, there's a way" is clearly translated into action here.

The photo above is now the view from the viewdeck identified in the plan. Even the NPC people were saying that this is much better than the first viewdeck they had built many years ago.

The event was just a soft launch designed to put things into momentum. If things go well, Angat will become a complete destination where one can spend a whole day witnessing, experiencing and seeing various attractions and activities in the area.

Still bare of any design, this is now the viewdeck where one can have a great view of at least three rivers, the huge lake, the mountains, and even the power plant.
One of the rivers seen from the viewdeck. I could imagine seeing eagles and kites flying freely in the air and thermals above those canopies and below the people watching!
It's not a "soft launch" if there is no ribbon cutting. The NPC president, together with other NPC officials, local government  officials, and the powerplant representative leading the ribbon cutting.

Plus a few group shots with local stakeholders, particularly the Dumagat people who will become partners in ecotourism development and operation in the area. Let's hope things about this will not get derailed.
Is that smile a symbol of hope? Crossing my fingers here.
Posture of authority and confidence. The Dumagat "Governor" facing the people.
Symbols, no matter how simple, carry with them stories. I just had a few minutes with them. Hoping to spend more time sharing things and knowing how to make things really work with the Dumagats.
The power plant seen from the view deck.
Tourism is a good reason to improve the service in any destination. Now they have a speedboat, nope, not for the tourists, but to help monitor and protect the rainforest and watershed.
There are still issues whether tourists would be allowed to be in the lake for some cruising tours. I highly recommend it, if only for the people to really discover how good a protected watershed should look like.
And some nature's gift is always appreciated.
And yes, they have a nature trail! A short one (300+ meters) for now, but it should be enough to have a great educational nature walk and learn a lot things about ecology, biology, conservation, and man in the environment (not man and the environment).
Wildlings should provide good stories for eco walks. Like, "did you know that some tree species cannot be propagated by man? That they can only bear young trees when seeds are deposited in the wild and without any human intervention" Nice info, di ba?
Make sure you bring a magnifying glass to make the ecowalk more interesting!
The signs need improvement in terms of content and stories about the trees, and not just their common and scientific names.
What a way to cap the "soft launch" a boodle fight with the stakeholders of Angat Watershed, I mean, Angat Rainforest and Eco Park.

As I keep saying whenever I get the chance, things can only get done if there are people who will champion an advocacy. The People of Watershed unit of NPC should be commended on this. Its been a long journey to make things work (and it will be a very long one after this!), specially Carol who really worked hard for this (and made sure to get me involved), her colleagues, Ely, Donald, and their boss, Noel Umali (plus other NPC guys I forgot to mention). Goodluck to your advocacy!!

And yes, they need all the help they can get - tourism service training and community preparation, specially for the Dumagat people, and probably investment (just ask the NPC folks).

Note:
Angat is open to the public on a limited and by appointment basis. You still cannot enter the compound any time specially without prior arrangements. There is limited system yet for visitor management. If you are interested to see the place, you can contact Carol thru her number - 09759629564.

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