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Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay: Mindanao’s Next Top Eco-Tourism Site

Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay is the next top eco-tourism site not just in Mindanao but even in the Philippines.

I actually said, that. I said that pronouncement during the dinner party of the World Migratory Bird Day celebration with the town’s local officials after touring the rich mangroves and wetlands of Siay. The host called us, the bloggers, one by one to give our views about the experience of the tourism project.

While in front of the crowd with my mic on, I told them that they have natural resources to do great in eco-tourism, which is true. They just have to continue what they have started, listen to visitors and stakeholders for any room for growth. I am not an expert but as a traveler’s perspective, Siay is doing great. By carefully noting the recommendations of future visitors for further growth, they’re on the right track.

explore, travel, siay, zamboanga sibugay: mindanao’s next top eco-tourism site

That day, we explored the river and mangrove area of Siay. DENR personnel also joined us. They explained that it was not really the season of migratory birds, but luckily, we’ve spotted some. The activity lets us experience why Siay has become an integral part of the ecosystem – the home of migrating birds from 20 different countries which happens twice a year.

Siay’s MENRO office also shared that 37 out of 53 species documented in Siay are migratory birds.

World Migratory Bird Day in the Philippines

We traveled for about 3 hours from Zamboanga City to Siay, in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay. Local officials warmly welcomed us for the celebration of World Migratory Bird Day. The event showcases the rich natural resources of Siay, as it plays a huge part in the migration of birds in 20 countries, which happens twice a year.

ASec. Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar, the Regional Director of DOT Region 9 and also the Assistant Secretary of DOT for Mindanao and Palawan, was the guest of honor. The program was filled with important information about the migratory birds in Siay as well as some cultural dance performances and of course, good food.

explore, travel, siay, zamboanga sibugay: mindanao’s next top eco-tourism site

ASec. Myra Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar joining the dance floor. 🙂

explore, travel, siay, zamboanga sibugay: mindanao’s next top eco-tourism site
explore, travel, siay, zamboanga sibugay: mindanao’s next top eco-tourism site

That’s Rush, a journalist from Brunei.

The Mangrove Tour

After the program, it was time to experience what Siay is clearly becoming famous for – its rich nature and mangrove area. We hopped on a boat and traveled through the river surrounded by lush forest and mangroves.

The DENR team joined us on the boat. It was not the season for migratory birds but we’ve seen some.

At the center of the area, is a man-made structure perfect for relaxation. We didn’t get off the boat because we were running out of time. We still need to visit a small community beside the river.

explore, travel, siay, zamboanga sibugay: mindanao’s next top eco-tourism site

In a matter of minutes, we arrived in the community area. There’s a special telescope there for us to check and see some group of bats. These creatures are huge, a sign that the area is well-protected. I tried to capture what I was seeing on the telescope. I hope in my own way, I was able to do it.

Note: I was with a friend who is a journalist from Brunei, that’s why I was spokening dollar in this video. LOL!

explore, travel, siay, zamboanga sibugay: mindanao’s next top eco-tourism site
explore, travel, siay, zamboanga sibugay: mindanao’s next top eco-tourism site
explore, travel, siay, zamboanga sibugay: mindanao’s next top eco-tourism site

ASec. Myra Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar

Dinner Party

It was already dark when we were back. Now that we’ve already experienced what Siay has to offer in terms of eco-tourism, it was time for some chill time and celebration. I really appreciate the hospitality of the staff and officials of the Siay LGU.

Mayor Jarvis Acosta of Siay even let us try its popular local wine, bakase. Man it was strong. I consumed one glass of it and I felt by heart and tummy were like burning. LOL!

explore, travel, siay, zamboanga sibugay: mindanao’s next top eco-tourism site

Asec. Myra trying the bakase, with Mayor Jarvis Acosta

We were surprised when the host called us, the bloggers, one by one to share our opinions and insights about Siay and what we’ve experienced. It was indeed a surprise. I told myself after I was called, Oh my, what am I gonna say?

But in those moments, you just have to trust the flow and let it go. I just shared what I felt at that time. My genuine appreciation for the local and Tourism Office’s efforts in sharing the beautiful natural resources of Siay.

I shared what I think as a traveler. What I felt as a traveler, and that is, the natural beauty of Siay is lit, legit. The team just has to continue what they have started, and it is only a matter of time that Siay will be known as the center of eco-tourism in Mindanao, and in the country.

Where is Zamboanga Sibugay?

A province located in the Zamboanga Peninsula in Mindanao. The capital of the province is Ipil, which is a one hour travel to Siay. Here’s the map of the province.

How to go to Zamboanga Sibugay?

There are airports around the Zamboanga Peninsula like Zamboanga City (110 km. away), Dipolog in Zamboanga Del Norte (180 km) and Pagadian in Zamboanga Del Sur (150) that can be an entry and exit point in going to Zamboanga Sibugay. Still, Zamboanga City is the most convenient way of going to Siay and in Zamboanga Sibugay.

From Zamboanga City, there are vans and bus that passes through Ipil. Usually, these are bound to Dipolog, Ozamis, Pagadian, etc.