Libacao is Aklan’s inland tourism gem

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The municipality of Libacao, located 29 kilometers southwest of this capital town, occupies an important spot in the province of Aklan.

It serves as the main watershed of Aklan River, which holds considerable economic value to Aklanons as source of potable water supply, farm irrigation, food, and sand and gravel, among others.

Libacao’s forests, which lie upstream of the river, are said to be one of the largest remaining forest covers in the entire island of Panay, which has a total land area of 45,091 hectares.

The municipality, whose hinterlands serve as home to one of the island’s notable indigenous communities, is considered as the repository of Aklan’s ethnic culture.

These indigenous people have distinct ethnic culture and traditions that have been spared from the influence of modern ways of living.

Owing to these attributes, Mayor Charito Navarosa is pushing his town as an alternative inland tourism destination in the province, which boasts of the world-famous Boracay Island in Malay town.

Upstream, Aklan River in Libacao is a newly discovered site for wild river bamboo rafting, kayaking and other water-based sports. Libacao’s is considered as having the longest “wild river” in the Philippines.

Libacao’s unique indigenous people dwell in the area around Mt. Nangtud, the highest in the central part of Panay Island, which has a global positioning system recorded height of 2,150 meters.

The peak is found at the boundaries of Aklan, Iloilo and Antique provinces and belongs to the Mt. Baloy range.

Aside from its wild river and unique indigenous community, Libacao also holds a treasure trove of virgin forests, tropical flora and fauna, waterfalls, springs, and creeks.

It is rich in natural resources and minor forest products and is blessed with fertile lands and weather favorable to agriculture throughout the year, enabling the town to become the leading producer of abaca fiber in Western Visayas.

The town is a major producer of rice, cattle, bananas, copra, vegetables, bamboo, root crops, and fruits such as lanzones, durian, marang, mangosteen, seedless pomelo, chico, rambutan, and local oranges.

It has potentials to produce high value crops, tropical flowers, vegetables and fruits.

Navarosa said the national and provincial governments have recognized his town’s economic potentials and have started providing support including farm-to-market roads in hinterland barangays to help spur agriculture and tourism.

The town was visited August 7 by President Arroyo, the first Chief Executive to do so to Aklan’s biggest municipality, to inaugurate a P40-million river revetment wall project, distribute Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program cash grants and ATM cards, and hand in funding checks to DENR’s Upland Development Program participating people’s organizations.