Entering the Mangrove Forest in Tulapos
It’s been rather busy with the month of November ending. But here’s to continue with the Siquijor series: After our brief sojourn in Salagdoong, we went back to the marketplace of the town of Maria for our hearty breakfast at the carinderias there. We also mapped out our next few stops as well. Next on our list, we have to go back up north and head to the Tulapos Marine Sanctuary.
A two-storey mangrove tree house
Our habal-habal roared its way up north and in about 20 minutes or so, we found our way to the shores of Tulapos. Its marine sanctuary is considered the biggest in Siquijor. It is also home to a large mangrove forest. And one of the hidden attraction in the area is a two-storey tree house enshrouded deep within the mangroves.
Traversing the footbridges
In truth, not everyone in Siquijor knows the whereabouts of this tree house. Fortunately, Og was there and soon found the path inside this mangrove forest. The sand was really sticky there and it was really hard to walk inside. Suddenly there was this chubby guy came from behind us and who asked who we were and where we are from. Turned out he was the caretaker of the area and he found it really peculiar that we just passed by him and seem to know our way there.
Door and chair at the topmost room
We chatted a bit and he told us that we have to register and pay a minimal amount of 10 pesos for the maintenance of the area. We reached the tree house and it seems to be badly beaten up. It’s not bad looking in fact I was impressed on how complex this tree house is. But it is sad that it seems the weather or storms had pounded it up badly that the stairs and some paths are badly damaged.
View of the sea and shoreline at this marine sanctuary
Good thing, our caretaker mentioned that the local government is currently raising funds to fix this tree house. It’s a very nice attraction and if people can actually stay here like a regular accommodation, I’m sure a lot of people would try it out. Imagine, living inside a forest of mangroves by the sea.
The adjoining house rooms and branches
As soon as the caretaker left we were on our own to enjoy the place and take pictures. Again, this is one of those instances I wish I had an UWA (ultra wide angle) Lens with me. Huhu. Anyways I tried going around the area which is quite an effort in itself already since your feet constantly sticks to the sand and if not, I try to avoid stepping on those little growing mangroves scattered about.
Looking down the Tree house
The main stairs on the ground already gave, so I had to climb on the side of the stairs and held firmly while I climbed. Then I made my way to the highest room of the tree house, still careful when climbing the stairs as I could see the exposed nails that were supposed to be attached on the opposite wall. There is a large bamboo bed, already covered with dried leaves spread out like a bed sheet, it’s obvious no one has been here for quite a while. I went outside the veranda and saw a nice view of the shoreline of this sanctuary.
An impassable hanging bridge
Looking down on the other side you could see how complex this tree house is. If this is on a good condition I would have been running around this place like a kid. I’m having here. I went down to the first story to the other side and checked the other rooms and kitchen. There are electrical outlets here and light sockets as well. Even a bathroom, toilet and sink. I guess they really build this to be a house and for whatever reasons, it was discontinued.
The kitchen area
On my way down, even if I was really careful, a step came off and as if reflex, I pulled myself back quickly so it didn’t fall off, along with me as well. That scared me a bit. So when I got out there, I headed to the caretaker and registered. I noticed that most of those listed in their log book aren’t locals, in particular, foreigners from Japan, Switzerland and Russia. That on the same day and their purpose is to dive. Wow. That must say something about the marine sanctuary here. I told the caretaker that one of the steps nearly tore off and that they should be careful on allowing people to go up there. It might fall apart. I really hope they rebuild that tree house.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.