WATCH: Balabag Wetland Park to be new Boracay attraction

AKLAN, Philippines – The mission to save the world-famous Boracay has just begun. After the island's reopening on Friday, October 26, the Philippine government continues to restore the tourist destination's wetlands.

The environment and tourism department partners with the private sector to turn these wetlands into sustainable open spaces.

One of these is Wetland No. 4 or the Balabag Wetland Park – soon to be the next Boracay attraction once it is completed in a year's time.

Aika Rey files this report.

AIKA REY, REPORTING: Nagbukas na ang Boracay sa publiko, ngunit patuloy pa rin ang rehabilitasyon, lalo na sa mga wetland nito.

Boracay has opened to the public but rehabilitation efforts are still ongoing, especially on its wetlands

Bago ipasara ang isla, may mga wetland na nawala raw dahil sa tinayuan ito ng mga illegal structures, gaya ng mga hotel at kabahayan. Ang mga informal settlers daw ang dahilan kung bakit tumaas ang fecal coliform levels sa mga wetland.

Before the closure, there were "missing" wetlands because of illegal structures, like hotels and houses. Informal settlers were the reason why fecal coliform levels rose on the wetlands.

Ang Wetland No. 4, na nasa gitna ng isla at pinakamalapit sa beachfront, ay ide-develop ng Aboitiz Group. Ito ay magsisilbing atraksiyon na tatawagin ngayon na "Balabag Wetland Park."

Wetland No. 4, located at the center of the island and near the beachfront, will be developed by the Aboitiz Group. This will serve as an attraction called "Balabag Wetland Park."

PAULO ALCAZAREN, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Central Boracay does not have a plaza and the front of D’mall is where everybody stops to go have access to the beach. So we found an opportunity to create a semi-circular plaza that extends to the wetland and also ties into the existing use of the area.

AIKA REY, REPORTING: Nilagyan nila ng 3 aerator ang lagoon upang ma-improve ang water quality nito. Tatamnan din daw ng mga halaman ang wetland at ang paligid nito. Magkakaron din daw ng rain garden na siyang magpi-filter ng tubig mula sa kalsada upang hindi ito dumiretso sa wetland.

Three aerators were placed in the lagoon to improve its water quality. Plants will also be planted on the wetland and around it. There will be a rain garden that will filter water coming from the streets to prevent it from spilling into the wetland.

PAULO ALCAZAREN, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: We're trying to bring back as much as possible the natural processes of the wetlands, and the people who live in Boracay, the residents and all, will finally reconnect with their environment. And the visitors and tourists who come will understand how sensitive environmental development can be done in a sustainable way.

AIKA REY, REPORTING: Sa kasalukuyan, 5 pa sa 9 na wetland ang hindi natatanggalan ng illegal structures. Palilipatin din daw ang informal settlers na nakatira sa paligid nito.

Currently, 5 of 9 wetlands are yet to be cleared of illegal structures. Informal settlers will also be relocated.

Aika Rey, Rappler, Boracay. – Rappler.com