MISAMIS Oriental’s Lasang Treetops and Boardwalk eco-tourism project is set to be opened to the public after its soft-opening on August 12, 2009.
The provincial government-initiated project inside the 1,300.78-hectare Initao National Park shall be known simply as Lasang. It would be because travelers could easily remember the place, passing through the national highway in Initao and Libertad towns, since the area is thickly-forested. Lasang is the Cebuano term for forest.
Specifically, the 50.58-hectare Lasang project covers portions of Initao’s barangay Tubigan and Libertad’s barangay Gimanlayan, on the left side if one is headed to the west and opposite to the so-called Initao-Libertad Protected Landscape and Seascape on the right.
Lasang’s entrance is just beside the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Tourism consultant Dorothy Jean Pabayo, who heads the Lasang Task Force, said that the construction of the P3-million Lasang project of the provincial government of Misamis Oriental started last year, with the assistance of the DENR.
“Today, the zip-line is already in place. There are now five hanging bridges, aside from the 100-meter board and 80-foot spiral staircase,” said Pabayo.
She said the structures that have been constructed make it possible for visitors to explore and experience the “inner sanctum” of Lasang which is predominantly characterized by century-old and naturally-grown trees.
Wildlife enforcement officer Eddie Macasusi said that aside from the forests, there have been sightings of tarsiers since 1987 and there could be about 20 of them in the area. Tarsier is considered as the world’s smallest monkey. Ordinarily, one could not see tarsiers during the day since they are nocturnal.
“What we usually see are the long-tail macaque monkeys and there are hundreds of them here,” Macasusi said.
Aside from tarsiers and monkeys, Lasang has been the home of many endangered animals and these include monitor lizards (palao), seal-fin lizards (ibid), flying lemurs (kagwang), and chicken-like dark-brown fowls known as megapodes (kahael).
Right at the entrance of Lasang, playful Rosalinda (female monkey) could greet visitors with her friendly body languages.
Among the rare birds that thrive in Lasang include imperial pigeons (bawod), native doves (alimokon), emerald doves (manatad), and serpent eagles. There are three serpent eagles, all males, two of them were released in 2007 and another one last year.
“Certainly, the lush vegetation, the animals, birds and insects are attractions by themselves. But it takes more than that now since we have already put in place the structures and amenities for visitors in the area,” the province’s tourism guru stressed