2020 Geohazard Assessment for Environmentally Critical and Tourism-oriented Area: Lampinigan Island, Basilan

Tourism is recognized as an essential industry in the Philippines. Its significance as the main driver and contributor to socio-economic growth is acknowledged in Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Policy Act of 2009. It has seen an increasing direct contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employment over the years and peaking in 2017 at 12.2% and 13.1%, respectively (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2018).[1]

Various types of tourism are anticipated in the Philippines, but the most common is ecotourism. Ecotourism refers to a form of sustainable tourism within a natural and cultural heritage area where community participation, protection and management of natural resources, culture and indigenous knowledge and practices, environmental education, and ethics as well as economic benefits are fostered and pursued the enrichment of host communities and satisfaction of visitors.[2]

In this manner, people’s interaction with the natural and rawer in development kind of environment as destinations for ecotourism may impose risk and threat of natural hazards such as landslides, flooding, ground subsidence, storm surges, and coastal flooding tsunamis and others. Also, protected areas such as natural parks, reserves, wildlife, and marine sanctuaries are not exempted from these hazards that will inflict environmental damage and degradation to these areas.

The Geohazard Assessment for the Environmentally Critical and Tourism-oriented Areas aims to determine the potential types of geohazards potent in the said locale. As a result, these areas’ management and conservation will be enhanced by identifying and formulating counteracting measures for these potential hazards.

In the City of Isabela, Basilan, Lampinigan Island is one of the emerging tourist destinations. This island is in the southwestern-most part of Isabela City, geographically centered at 6° 41′ 18.73″ North Latitude, 121°52’42.66″ East Longitude (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The Lampinigan Island is in the southwestern-most part of Isabela City and it is geographically centered at 6° 41′ 18.73″ North Latitude, 121°52’42.66″ East Longitude.
Photo 1. The island is generally composed of volcanic-clastic deposits such as scoria, amygdaloidal andesites, and basalts that can be correlated to the Jolo Volcanic Complex of Pliocene to Recent in age (MGB, 2004)

Lampinigan Island has a morphology of an arched that protrude within the azure-blue horizon. The southern portion of the island is quite inhabited, while the northern part is unpopulated, making it the unvarnished and undeveloped beach area. The proximate bathymetric style in the southern section is an abrupt-immersing form with the absence of a flat nearshore zone, on the northern portion, the relative complete shoreline components such as backshore, beach face, and flat-nearshore zones. The island is composed of volcanic-clastic deposits such as scoria, amygdaloidal andesites, and basalts (Photo 1).

Coastal hazards, mainly storm surges and tsunami, are the natural dangers in the area. Since the island faces the Sulu Sea to the north, it is prone to high and destructive waves caused by typhoons. At the same time, Lampinigan island is proximate to the identified major geologic structure: the Sulu-Negros Trench, which can cause high magnitude earthquakes and the potential to generate tsunamis.

Landslide and flooding incidences are possible in the area but limited in some portions of the island. Landslides, which may be manifested as debris fall or slides, are limited to steep slopes and cliffs. While flooding may become evident along the intermittent creeks and low-lying areas, ground subsidence could be viable, may occur as a pseudo-karst type of subsidence. However, the island is generally composed of volcanic deposits.

Photo 2 and 3 Showing the norther portion of Lampinigan Island, which is composed of portions of rocky cliffs and sandy beach. In this portion, complete shoreline components such as backshore, beach face, and flat-nearshore zones are observable dissimilar to the southern portion which has abrupt-immersing form with the absence of a flat nearshore zone.

References:
[1] https://www.essaysauce.com/hospitality-tourism-essays/tourism-in-the-philippines/
[2] http://www.ecotourismphilippines.net/ecotourism.html

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