TACLOBAN CITY – The local government unit of Naval in Biliran is now bent in pushing its Higatangan Island as a tourist destination after it was listed as one of the 183 beaches in the country that could serve as an alternative for tourists while Boracay Island is close for six months to undergo rehabilitation .
Mayor Gerard Espina said that aside from promoting the island for relaxation, Higatangan Island is also being packaged by them as an adventure destination.
Recently, the island hosted various tourism-related activities like jet ski, beach volleyball, and kite flying competition as part of the campaign of the municipal government to make it as a tourist destination.
But positioning Higatangan Island as an alternative destination comes with a great challenge not only in promotion but ensuring that its natural environment would not be destroyed, the town mayor said.
The island has several residents who relies mainly on fishing as their main source of livelihood.
“We want to make something that is different that would help others and also preserve our island. So we are very meticulous how we work here, especially in terms of waste management maayos and activities to ensure that the island will not be destroyed,” Espina said.
Higatangan Island, which is about an hour away from the mainland via a pump boat ride, is known for its 200-meters long ‘shifting’ sandbar, located at the southern tip of the island, and is ideal for swimming and sunbathing, among other activities.
Mayor Espina said that aside from swimming, tourists could also do some activities in the island like snorkeling and diving, particularly at the northwest part of the island.
Situated in the northern part of the island, located along Higatangan Rock Formation is the Hagdan beach.
Hagdan beach is accessible through a pump boat ride from Barangay Mabini or by using the 45-steps stairway from the circumferential road down to beach area.
A less popular site among tourists, Hagdan beach offers a quiet and peaceful setting for unwinding, relaxation, exploring the rock formations, trekking, scuba diving and snorkeling.
For those who want to have an overnight stay, they may rent a cottage or do camping on its white sand.
Mayor Espina revealed that they will add a cliff diving board in an area within the rock formation as an additional activity and for tourists to see the whole island and not just enjoy its sandbar.
Earlier, the municipal government has inaugurated the “Capilla del Mar” as added tourist attraction at Higatangan Island.
Capilla del Mar is an underwater chapel which features a 12-foot cross and eight benches, symbolizing the number of the towns of the province, as a new destination for divers of Higatangan Island.