By Nikka Garriga
PANDAN, ANTIQUE— Have you ever wondered how our major river systems would have looked like if it was free from pollution? Perhaps a visit to the Bugang River here in Antique could provide a glimpse of that.
Located in Zaldivar, the Bugang River is known to be cleanest inland body of water in the country. It stretches from the town of Guia to Sto. Rosario and ends at Zaldivar.
The cold, pristine waters come from several springs and serves as one of Pandan’s major tourist attractions for those wanting to relax and cool down from the summer heat. Visitors can tour the stream through bamboo rafting or paddle boating, a unique mode of transportation here.
The colors of the water shift from green to deep blue. It is clear enough to see the pebbles and rock formations lying on the river bed. Mangroves and trees also grow abundant here.
In an effort to preserve this natural wonder, the local government has established the Bugang Community Based Eco-Tourism Organization whose primary function is to protect the river while promoting it as a tourist attraction.
As part of the eco-tourism initiative, the group spearheaded the Bugang River Cultural, Nature and Adventure Tour.
The tour aims to help visitors foster an appreciation for the beauty of nature and develop better understanding of the locals’ practices through activities like rafting along the Bugang River.
The initiative was awarded Gold Winner in the Local Authorities and Ecotourism Category of the International Green Apple Environment Awards for Environmental Best Practice in 2006.
To get to Bugang River, you can hire a tricycle from Pandan’s town proper and head to the Malumpati Cold Spring. There will be rafters available for those going on a bamboo rafting tour.
For travelers in big groups and with a private vehicle, you can coordinate or ask for a guide at the Pandan’s Tourism Office. For more details, click here.
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