Sun Life Financial-Philippines Foundation, Inc., the philanthropy arm of Sun Life Philippines, in cooperation with Bantay Kalikasan, the environmental arm of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, has successfully completed the Panganiban Mangrove Boardwalk and Nursery Project, an eco-tourism site in Brgy. Panganiban, Gubat, Sorsogon.
Currently on soft launch, the site is now open to visitors who wish to explore Gubat’s lush mangrove forest. They can also learn how they can protect it by joining the planting and harvesting activities. It is also expected to give the local community a sustainable livelihood through tourism and empower them to protect their hometown’s natural resources.
During the turnover of the said project, Sun Life Foundation President Alex Narciso highlighted the importance of the project saying, “This initiative does not simply provide band-aid solutions, but one that can actually transform lives. More than that, it is also sustainable such that it will also benefit the future generations.” Meanwhile, Sun Life CEO & Country Head Benedict Sison encouraged Filipinos to visit the place. "Come here not only to enjoy or to experience the beauty of nature, but also to help the community build a brighter future for its constituents," he said.
Meanwhile, ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Susan Afan commended the local community in Brgy. Panganiban. “I was so happy to see the true bayanihan spirit among the people,” she said. “Hopefully, they inspire communities all over the Philippines to also care for the mangroves.”
The importance of the mangroves in the lives of the local residents cannot be understated. “Napakaimportante po ng bakawan dito sa aming lugar kasi ito po ang aming protektor sa malalaking alon,” shared Marie Esteves, a member of the Panganiban People’s Organization, which also contributed to the success of the project.
Also present during the turnover were Sun Life Foundation Executive Director Kristine Millete, Sun Life Foundation Project Lead Patricia Mallari, Bicol-based Sun Life advisors, Bantay Kalikasan Director Jen Santos, along with other members of Bantay Kalikasan and Panganiban People’s Organization.