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Exploring the hidden gems of Manolo Fortich

Tourism in Manolo Fortich resembles a continuous journey without an end as new scenes are made known like the recent noise bearing news of Kilawaan River’s discovery. It has been gaining social media attention through local vloggers, thus increasing the number of tourists visiting its crystal clean waters after enduring a long hike. Now, more questions are being raised as it now becomes a sought-after destination in Manolo Fortich.

Getting to know Kilawaan River

Residing within the areas of Barangay Santiago but accessible through Barangay Dalirig, Kilawaan River has an approximate time of 40 minutes roadtrip from the highway, and around 45 minutes worth of hike before it can be reached. What makes it unique as it gains an amount of interested tourists is its blue and green colored waters surrounded between rocks that looked like canyons in an architectural flair.

During an interview, Dalirig Tourist Champ Kagawad El Meleza Leparto shares how the river was discovered and has slowly obtained visitors, “Base sa among Sitio Leader, sa unang panahon, didto daw na sila ga sag-ob. Didto ang source sa ilang water and dugay na daw na ang Kilawaan (River). Paghuman, naay nag-visit didto na mga SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) namo and then nag-post sila sa Facebook. After ato, daghan na dayun kaayo nag-share paghuman nila og post. Hangtud sa karon, daghan na gabisita.”

The threats faced by Kilawaan River

On Tuesday, January 17, 2024, the Local Government Unit of Manolo Fortich conducted an onsite inspection comprised of the 6 offices of Municipal Tourism Office, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO), Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (LDRRMO), Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDO), Municipal Engineering Office (MEO), and Municipal Information Office (MIO) together with authorities and volunteers from Barangay Dalirig.

Upon the inspection, it was found that although tourism and an enriched environment thrived in the river’s discovery, there were existing litters left and vandalisms on the rocks within the area. There were also ashes found from the remains of bonfires that are only meters away from the body of water. This signified an imposing threat to the rich biodiversity that Kilawaan River has to offer if not be corrected and mitigated.

The steps to be done for a sustainable tourism

A thorough assessment of the area is to be accomplished by the LGU of Manolo Fortich before it can be declared as an official tourist site of the municipality. The steps to be made in making it sustainable are possible tourist development plans such as the crafting of a potential ordinance that can strictly mandate in protecting the area and the application of the Solid Waste Management. Risk assessment and safety measures for future tourists are also currently being studied by the LDRRMO. All for the purpose of emphasizing, yet preserving the river’s natural beauty.

Furthermore, what can be done as of the moment is the continuous reminder to the general public and interested visitors about being responsible and help preserve the natural beauty of the river.

Municipal Tourism Officer Jixon Cloyd Abanes extended such a reminder during an episode of Barug Manolo Fortich Radio last Monday, January 15, 2024, “I encourage you all to choose Manolo Fortich. Spend your quality time with your family, friends, and especially with yourself. Katong mga gaplano mo agto og Kilawaan River, although it's not yet an official tourist site, I urge you to become a responsible tourist visitor. Keep your garbage with you. Ayaw ninyo ibilin ug ayaw mo pag vandal. Let’s help each other in protecting our environment.”








Jam Emano
Jam Emano


Date Posted: January 18, 2024