MANGATAREM–The Manlelluag Protected Area and Forest Reserve in this town is the only remaining virgin forest in Central Pangasinan, the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) reported.
Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Raymundo Gayo said there has been no deforestation or illegal cutting of trees in the area, which is being closely monitored by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Gayo said although Mangatarem was tagged by DENR as one of the illegal logging hot spots in Pangasinan, the Manlelluag Protected Area remained untouched.
The DENR has put up a nursery of tree species in the area.
Hikers are welcome in the protected area where a library of different species of trees as well as animals indigenous in the Philippines has been installed.
A hot spring, swimming pools and picnic sheds are being maintained by DENR.
“Manlelluag” is the Pangasinan term for boiling, referring to the hot spring in the area.
“But what is attracting tourists there is still the highly forested area of the place,” Gayo said, adding that once a person is in the place, he won’t know if it is already mid-day because of the thick forest cover.
Boosting tourism at Manlelluag is the concreting of the road from the national highway to the Manlelluag Forest Park by the provincial government.
“Ito ang malaking bagay na ginawa ng ating probinsiya upang maging mas comfortable ang mga turista na nagtutungo sa Manlelluag Forest Reserves, Gayo said.
He also assured that the illegal cutting of trees in the past, mostly in the Pangasinan-Zambales border, has already been stopped.