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Culasi’s best practice – building of sea wall to save lives

SAN JOSE de BUENAVISTA, Antique — The town of Culasi in the northern part of this sea-horse shaped province we call Antique has been in the map lately.

Visitors and guest, both foreign and local ones, dropped by this lovely municipality comprising of 44 barangays of which three are island barangays. These islands topped them all when it comes to day visitors as well as overnight travelers.

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Records from the Tourism Office and was shared by Culasi’s tourism officer John-john Sumanting revealed that as of the third quarter of this year, a total of 57,697 visitors were listed in its tourist arrivals.

What made Culasi, specifically with its three island barangays, stood among the other towns in Antique ?

Culasi is endowed with an 18-kilometer long uninterrupted coastal lines and to most of us, this could spell disaster, especially during the months when typhoons, strong ones at that, would visit the island of Panay.

Yes, several calamities had hit Culasi and local officials faced the challenges of saving their constituents, evacuating, rescuing, sustaining their daily food and sadly, these depleted their funds.

Brilliant was the mind of its past municipal mayor, Joel A. Lomugdang when he found a solution to this perennial problem. Admittedly, Culasinos are resilient but to Mayor Lomugdang, it was simply unacceptable to just let the people, especially the informal dwellers along the shorelines to just suffer the consequences of such calamities.

This solution, a sea wall stretching about one kilometer and made of reinforced concrete was constructed. A concrete sheet piles buried to a depth of 2.40 meters below sea level with a height of 2 meters from the natural ground with reinforced concrete column spaced at 3.0 meters on the center could spell the difference, the town’s engineers thought. And believed.

And so the sea wall served as protective measures against calamities. Aside from saving lives, the sea wall also became a tourist destination flocked by both foreign and local travelers. Why ? Simply because it serves a s jump off point from mainland Culasi to the three beautiful island barangays, namely Mararison, Maningning and Batbatan. It also serves as the gateway for economic activities of the three islands.

Tourists and local people can also use this tourist amenity to view the spectacular Culasi sunset, to jog, bike, walk, relax and other activities. At night, others would dine out here, or simply to unwind and feel the sea breeze and enjoy the scenery while chatting with friends.

The sea wall is 100% safe, even at night because CCTV had been installed to monitor the ins and outs of people, tourists and locals alike.

Now, the sea wall that was seen to protect the residents living near the shores became a bustling and progressive area where economy became alive what with tourist arrivals increasing by the thousands. These tourists give income to the boat owners, market vendors and the homestay operators in the three islands.

The local government unit of Culasi was likewise privileged to have received the Bottom Up Budgeting for 2015 and 2016 amounting to Php 2.58 million and Php 6 million, respectively. These funds were used for the sea wall’s development and expansion.

Along the way, the legislators and the executive officials of the town developed measures to protect the sea wall. It has to be environment-friendly and cleanliness should be maintained along the area.

Thus tourists both from outside the province and those who reside nearby can always wonder: can geniuses blossom in these islands, in this lovely town with its majestic mountain, as they did in the Isles of Greece?”