Kalibo, Aklan 2015: Bakhawan Eco Park–A Mangrove Paradise

Bakhawan Eco Park was my second destination in Kalibo, an afternoon trip on my first day. After my morning visit to Sampaguita Gardens, my initial plan was to just explore the town. However, it was scorching hot during that afternoon, and I was beginning to have a headache. So, I decided to go on my Bakhawan trip earlier than planned.

Commute to the eco park is by tricycle. You can hail one in the town proper, and it would bring you there for Php40 (one-way trip). There is a registration area by the bamboo gate, manned by a local lady who collects the Php100 entrance fee and lends native hats for visitors to wear–much helpful as I was there at around 1pm.

bakhawan eco park - kalibo, aklan

Bakhawan Eco Park is a man-made mangrove park with a 1.1 km wooden walkway leading from the main gate to the sea. According to one of the staff, the seawater used to reach and flood the residential neighborhood, and the water only receded when the mangroves were planted.

The first part of the park features a canteen and a souvenir shop, though there weren’t a lot of souvenirs to choose from. This was followed by an area with a few wooden houses and signs that provide information about the park, and a wooden bridge that curves upward. After passing the bridge to the other side of the river, the real adventure begins.

bakhawan eco park walkway - kalibo, aklan

For the most part, it’s an endless expanse of trees, green and brown and blue. And since it was in the middle of the day, it seemed like I was the only visitor at that time. There were all sorts of natural sounds around. For sometime, I could hear no human sound at all–just the trees swirling in the afternoon breeze. The birds were exchanging songs, and it was reminiscent of that scene in the Hunger Games movie when Katniss and Rue were exchanging signals using bird sounds. At one point, the silence was so strong that I could hear only the persistent drop of water–a small, continuous, persistent drop–which turned out to be coming from one of the water tubes running underneath the walkway. It was an experience beyond words.

Towards the end of the path is the cottage area. There are several cottages for rent (around Php300 each) with hammocks and benches for those spending a whole day in the park.

bakhawan eco park cottages - kalibo, aklan

I have read online that the walkway leads to the sea, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the beauty that was waiting at the end.

bakhawan eco park - kalibo, aklan

It was a perfect sight–the sun shining down the ocean, the sky a clear blue, a single wooden walkway in the middle of mangrove trees, leading to the open sea. It was, truly, a breathtaking view.

bakhawan eco park sea - kalibo, aklan

At the end of the walkway, there’s a sort of balcony overlooking the water–for those who want to soak in the view and take some rest before walking back. I stayed here for probably 30 minutes, just enjoying the sights, the sounds, and the sensation of freedom.

bakhawan eco park rest area - kalibo, aklan

There were a few visitors in the area when I arrived. There was a family walking back and two couples probably having a date. Soon a group of children came, and I walked towards them and asked about other places I could visit and see. When I was walking back to the entrance at around 3-4pm, that’s when I came across an increasing number of visitors.

I stayed in the canteen for a while to buy soft drinks and take some rest, had a chance to chat with the lady manning the counter, and then headed back to Kalibo town proper. Even then, and as I look back now, I would have to say that Bakhawan Eco Park was the best part of my Kalibo trip. And if ever I return to Kalibo in the future, I’d surely go back there. It’s a must see.

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