Small islands were of high risks on the effects brought by climate change. Sea level rise, coastal erosion and extreme climatic events such as tsunamis and typhoons are the most prevalent in small islands and coastal areas. The Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC) of the ERDB is geared towards enhancing resilience of wetlands and coastal areas to support biodiversity conservation and ecotourism development in the Visayas Region. The Center is implementing a program entitled “GIS-Based Resource Inventory, Vulnerability Assessment and Impacts of Climate Change to Small Islands with Ecotourism Potentials in the Visayas Region”.
For this year, the BCWERC in Region 6, identified Malalison Island in Culasi, Antique as its project site. Malalison Island has been a destination for family outings mostly by the locals due to its blue-pristine water and spectacular sceneries of sea and mountain views. However, it is now making its name as a prime tourist destination in the Western Visayas Region, it was after some media-men, bloggers and volunteers discovered the alluring view of the island during relief operations after typhoon Haiyan devastated the area. Aside from the rewarding view, the Island is a sanctuary for different flora and fauna endemic in the area such as, wild ferns, tropical sundews, wild pineapple and pitcher plants. Truly, Malalison Island has great potential to be the next sought-after ecotourism destination.
On June 7-10, 2016, the team from BCWERC Region 6, namely Mr. Crispian David P. Castro and Ms. Irish T. Azucena along with Mr. Rey L. Lanuza of BCWERC Region 7, (over-all project leader) conducted initial activities for the project. Coordination with PENRO Ruel L. Delos Reyes (PENR Officer Antique), CENRO Cynthia Blancia (CENR Officer Culasi) and with the Brgy Local Government Unit (LGU), Brgy. Captain Allan B. Macuja of Mararison Island, was undertaken. A total of thirty (30) respondents were interviewed using the pre-tested interview questionnaire. The pre-interview schedule includes information on socio-demographic characteristics, socio-economic characteristics (livelihood activity, income and other sources of economic activities), access to social services (source of water, electricity, health facility, transportation, infrastructures, credit facility and exposure, biological sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the community. Most respondent identified, coastal flooding, coastal/beach erosion, sea level rise and storm surge as hazards occurring in their area. Geographical location of different infrastructures such as, school buildings, churches, roads and health facilities were identified and will be analyzed using such tool as remote sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS). The over-all objective of the project is to assess vulnerabilities and develop a decision support system for government agencies LGUs and other relevant institutions in the management of small islands with ecotourism potential. BCWERC