WHISPERS OF SUYAC ISLAND: An unsung voice of nature

Suyac Island, located in the remote divinities 15 minutes away from Sagay City in Negros Occidental is a conservative haven which discreetly hides its beauty from the face of the Philippine map. A small and unfamiliar territory separating itself like a shy-away little island, Suyac truly manifests hidden decadence everyone must see.

Hugging the 300-year-old tree known as the Pagatpat mangrove

What does Suyac have to offer? Abundance is what the island brings!

Fresh seafood can be offered with the natural ambiance of the earth speaking through the enchantment of the mangrove trees along with the beautiful outstretch of the ocean and the hospitality of its people. Guests will surely enjoy as compared from the view of the cities.

If you come here as a traveller, you will be amazed at how massive mangroves have provided protection for such a vulnerable place where it composes 2.3 hectares which shields community life from typhoons and downpours. The community area covers 1.8 hectares from its total and locals here enjoy the luxury of sea foods surrounding its shores and are plenty for catching. The way of life is at its simplest. Suyac Island depends on solar energy and the privilege to be near the ocean provides them to fulfill their basic activities like bathing and doing laundry. The major problem locals cry for assistance is the provision of clean and safe drinking water. Most locals had to sell water double the price of its normal rate due to circumstances.

To purchase drinking water, locals need to travel 15 minutes away on a sailing boat from the island to Sagay City.

Princess Villaflor, a local and an environmental volunteer for the island said, the condition is very difficult amidst its tourism potential.

Suyac Island is under the governance of Sagay City Mayor Alfredo D. Marañon and according to Villaflor, as well as to the other locals I spoke with, there has been no promising action for them to be provided with their long yearned request with a clean water access without having to cross to the nearby cities by boat.

This is why it is of huge help when visitors come at Suyac for a breakaway. It does not only satisfy a well-travelled adventure, travellers also financially support and uplift the name of the island, its locals, and environmental volunteers.

According to Merlinda Mermida, President of Suyac Island Mangrove Ecopark Association (PSIMEA), you can find the oldest Mangrove in Negros Island in Suyac. It is of the Pagatpat species, Surina Chaalba, popularly recognized to be standing for 300 years as discovered and confirmed from research studies of Marine Biology students from University of San Carlos of Cebu City.

Mermida adds, students from Silliman University in Dumaguete City and foreign students coming from The University of HongKong also had their visits in the island to study about its biodiversity in previous years. This does not only make the place vulnerable and precious for its treasures, the island’s untouched natural resources has also been a prime factor where students, researchers, and environmentalists from different ensemble all over the world include in their environmental quests.

Aside from the outstretch of mangrove trees, Pneumatophores, or popularly known as “air roots,” is another scenery to consider in the island. It can be a great background choice for creating photo shoots or a good location for making films. This natural resource is the protector of Suyac Island from dangerous typhoons. It is a specialized root, growing upwards out of the water or mud and obtain the oxygen for the root systems of trees living in swampy or tidal habitats. The island would not have outstood storm surges without its protection.

If you want a site similar to a movie scene, Suyac Island is a good contender for such a list. This place is indeed majestic and humble. Everyone must come see and hear the stories of locals and environmental volunteers on how the island has outlived and outlasted Mother Nature’s natural flow throughout its time.*(Kristina Alonso)