MASANTOL –- Mayor Danilo Guintu of this town said that the coastal village of Sagrada here is being eyed as a bamboo hub and an eco-tourism destination.

Guintu, together with residents, students and teachers, Parish Pastoral Council members and members of the the police force, planted around 500 bamboo seedlings in a vacant lot at the back of Tarik Suliman High School and the Municipal Hall Annex along the Pampanga Delta Dike.

The site, which is surrounded by major government establishments such as the evacuation center and barangay hall, is envisioned to be a public park and an eco-tourism destination in the near future.

Guintu said that he is aiming to replicate Lubao town’s famous Bamboo Hub and Ecopark which is now visited by hundreds of tourists and environmentalists.

He shared his vision of creating a forest-like canopy from the hundreds of bamboo clumps that will line the eco-park once the seedlings are full-grown.

Once established, the eco-park will augment the planned eco-tourism activities set by the local government such as river cruise along the Rio Grande Pampanga and bird watching of various migratory birds.

“Initial lang itong 500, titignan muna natin ang tubo nila tapos kapag may mga bakante, magtatanim ulit kami. Ang gusto ko dito ay parang maging bamboo forest siya, magiging malilim at maging pasyalan ng mga tao, ‘mga senior citizens, at sana mga turista,” he said.

Aside from the expected tourism boost, Guintu also cited the environmental protection and economic benefits of bamboo propagation.

As a coastal town, Guintu said that bamboo will help in preventing soil erosion along the riverbanks as it is considered a good soil conservation plant. The widespread root system of a bamboo can provide effective erosion control and sustains riverbanks as well as serve as good windbreaks.

Bamboo, Guintu added, can also be used for different purposes, one of which is as a substitute to wood. After it reached its maturity, locals can harvest and utilize it as a form of livelihood.

Guintu, however, said that the local government will regulate the harvesting of bamboo to ensure that the site will become bare and will still serve its purpose for the tourism activities.

“Lahat ito plano pa lang pero sa coordination ng local government, ng mga residente at ng organization na kasama namin, pipilitin na maisakatuparan lahat,” he said.

Meanwhile, Guintu also disclosed that the bamboo-planting activity is just the first of the three-part activity set by the local government.

He added that the same program is set for Barangay Alauli in the right bank portion where around 500 seedlings will also be planted by next week.

Guintu also noted that at least 1,000 bamboo seedling will also be planted along the stretch of the Pampanga Delta Dike to serve as additional protection to the structure.