Exploring conservation island

THEIR primer says it all: “Danjugan is not a resort.”

Danjugan Island Marine Reserve & Marine Sanctuary is an island that just about every aspiring travel writer would want to have a selfie in.

Located off a rough road in Barangay Bulata in Cauayan, Negros Occidental, Danjugan (pronounced Danhugan) is a 43-hectare island that is just 1.5 kilometers long and 0.5 kilometer at its widest. But it has five lagoons, batcaves, a resident reticulated python that hangs out at the batcave, mangrove forest with not a single trash caught in its root systems, limestone forest, seagrass beds, coral gardens, and nine dive sites. (I didn’t bring a dive gear and you have to arrange with their accredited dive centers, which I didn’t have the time for.)

It has a Turtle Beach where hawksbill turtles regularly nest. It is home to Tabon birds or Philippine scrubfowls (Megapodius comingii), which bury their eggs in the sand and giant clams (Tridacna gigas). It is also home to 72 species of birds including the stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis).

Its lagoons are named after their main features. Like, the main entry point to the island is at Moray Lagoon named after the two resident moray eels that hang out below the restaurant area.

The Moray Lagoon Camp has five open-air eco-cabanas that can accommodate up to eight guests each, dorm-type, and goes for P2,950 (P3,250 during peak season) per guest per night inclusive of one lunch, one dinner, one breakfast, and two snacks, guided tour, snorkeling, skin diving, kayaking, bird watching, and trekking, accident insurance and conservation fees. Being dorm-type, it has shared toilet and bath facilities.

The more exclusive accommodations where the bar is located are at the west coast called Typhoon Beach. The area can accommodate 16 people at four people per room and goes for P3,950 (P4,250 for peak season) per guest per night.

Danjugan welcomes student camps.

As it’s not a resort, those interested to experience Danjugan Island’s low-impact, low-volume, high-value, high-quality tourism model have to apply.

Once a threatened, overfished area, the island was acquired by Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc. (PRRCFI). It has been resuscitated as a sanctuary for marine and terrestrial life, which has since served as an outdoor classroom for students, a research area for conservationists, and a haven for travelers who want to experience nature up close.

Danjugan is a three-hour drive from Bacolod City. More details can be had on their website, www.danjuganisland.ph, including how to apply for a visit.

“We save a Philippine island, Now we invite you to explore it,” reads the opening page of their website.


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