Former Bataan Congressman and SBMA Chairman Tong Payumo said tourism drove away poaching in upland Barangay Tala, Orani.
“Before the tourism development in the area, illegal logging activities were rampant”, he narrated. “That time, hearing the whirring sound of chainsaw cutting trees was common”, he said.
Payumo started development in Barangay Tala during his first term in 1986 using his Countrywide Development Fund, first the water, then electricity, and road.
The scenic mountain village for the past decade has rapidly turned into a haven for adventure seekers, sports enthusiasts, and nature lovers.
Payumo and partners established Sinagtala Resort and Adventure Park in the area.
Ziplines, giant swings, and suspended air bridges can be found there. The resort is also perfect venue for weddings, retreats, family outings and corporate seminars and team-building with ample grounds, a chapel, conference facilities and overnight accommodations.
There are stunning infinity pools. Guests can also go hiking and river trekking.
Lives of the people in Barangay Tala improved. They now have other sources of livelihood including being workers in mountain resorts. With the influx of visitors, selling local vegetables and fruits provides income.
Payumo said village people became guardians of the forest with some of them former poachers.
“Sometimes I see eagles here preying for food, which means the ecosystem is still healthy”, he remarked.