I’ve been long interested with the mangroves of El Nido. Yes, the place is most known mainly for it’s dramatic karst islands, blue lagoons and scenic beaches. But El Nido also has a rich mangrove eco-system. I was originally looking for a way to visit the Aberawan Mangroves but it’s not a popular tour and could cost me a lot. I was told of the Wakat Wakat Mangroves of Bubulungan, just at the border of El Nido town proper. Decided to spend an afternoon to look for this place.
Wakat Wakat Mangroves
It was Mavic, of Islanen Tours who told me about the name of the place. I learned later that “Wakat Wakat” is a local term which describes the large roots of the mangrove trees above the water. Hence they call this said area Wakat Wakat because of the vast concentration of mangroves in the area. It didn’t take long for me to figure out where it was. Lakas ng Trip called the place Mangrove Eco Park but there is no final name yet. The facade of the entrance was only about 400–500 meters from the newly opened Bay View hotel and jump-off trail to Marimegmeg Beach.
There was a signage there that the place wasn’t operational yet and doesn’t allow guest. Fortunately, the caretaker saw me and I was told that it was alright to visit. They put up the sign because sometimes foreigners would just go in without their knowing. So guests are welcome as long as they inform the caretakers of the area. There’s also eight cottages there which I was told are owned by the same owners of Orange Pearl resort. It’s been there for a while but they don’t know when it would open. The mangrove park however is open for the public and would soon be promoted as a park.
I proceeded to the boardwalk and entered the forest of mangroves. It was both eerie and fascinating being inside these towering trees which I think are really old basing on their height. I tried to move carefully not to make any noise as there might be some interesting birds in the area. The caretaker warned me that sometimes a few monkeys would be in the area especially if its a small group. Unfortunately I didn’t see one. I do feel the relief of being in a zone where oxygen is more than 20x richer and cleaner. I had my GPS on the whole time and measured the distance until the end point where a small port is found. Probably for boats but it would also be interesting if they have kayaks here to paddle along the mangroves. An estimate measure from my GPS, the boardwalk length is about 300 meters and ends up near the open sea already.
Going to Wakat Wakat Mangroves
- Like I mentioned earlier, if coming from El Nido town, it’s past, further the jump-off trail to Marimegmeg Beach. It’s actually walkable at half a kilometer.
- The place doesn’t officially have a name yet but locals call the place Wakat Wakat Bakawan (mangroves).
- At the moment there are no entrance fees yet but be courteous and ask permission before entering the area.
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.