Mangroves are vital to coastal ecosystems because of their economic, social, and environmental benefits. Aside from being a haven for marine life, it serves as a natural coastal barrier of communities from the impacts of storm surges.

Another significance of mangroves is their role in mitigating the effects of climate change. A mangrove can absorb and store large amounts of carbon dioxide in its biomass. It also has huge contributions in providing livelihood opportunities for communities.

Considering that protecting the environment has been one of the priorities of many communities, Tulay sa Tibo Peoples’ Organization was formed through the community members of Barangay Panganiban, Gubat, Sorsogon to protect and preserve the mangrove site.

The Panganiban Boardwalk and Mangrove Nursery of the community which was established with the help of ABS-CBN’s Bantay Kalikasan was renamed Tulay sa Tibo and identified as an eco-tourism site of Gubat in July 2019.

Unfortunately, the boardwalk was destroyed during Typhoon Tisoy in 2019 and the rehabilitation was finished in 2021. By February 2022, the Tulay sa Tibo Boardwalk and Mangrove Nursery was reopened as a major tourism attraction of Barangay Panganiban.

With a vision to protect and preserve the mangroves as well as educate others on the importance of mangroves, the Tulay sa Tibo People’s Organization conducts various activities that directly help the community, particularly women. According to Edgar Espeloa, President of the organization, some of the projects or programs conducted by Tulay sa Tibo are clean-up drives, economic or livelihood initiatives, tree planting, climate change adaptation activities, and mangrove management.

He furthered that the organization in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) also conducts education sessions for students to promote the protection of mangroves.


With a drive to expand his capabilities in the community, Edgar joined the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) as a community volunteer in 2021.

He led the Barangay Development Council – Technical Working Group (BDC-TWG), which oversees the implementation of community-identified sub-projects.

Ang nag-udyok po sa akin para maging community volunteer is yung will ko po na makatulong sa aming community. Kahit po sa maliit lang na paraan para at least po, may maiambag ako sa aming komunidad,” he shared.

(The desire to support our community is what inspired me to become a community volunteer. I want to contribute to our community, at least even in a small way.)

As a volunteer, Edgar together with his co-volunteers implemented four (4) sub-projects such as public address system, access road, amenities for the Child Development Center, and medical tools and equipment for Barangay Health Station.

Dahil sa KALAHI-CIDSS program ay nagkaroon ng pagkakaisa at sama-samang may partisipasyon ang bawat sektor ng barangay gaya ng mga mangingisda, kababaihan, youth, senior citizen, at mas naging aktibo sa bawat proseso na isinagawa sa programa ng KALAHI-CIDSS,” he said.

(Through the KALAHI-CIDSS program, cooperation was formed and each sector like fisherfolks, women, youth, and senior citizen of the barangay participated together in each process being conducted by the KALAHI-CIDSS program.)

Edgar and his co-volunteers also learned to manage the projects and develop themselves as a person.  From the skills he earned, he was able to give more to the community. He started as a BDC-TWG chairperson then became the president of Tulay sa Tibo People’s Organization and now, he was elected as Barangay Councilor of Panganiban.

Isang napakalaking karangalan na makapagsilbi sa aking komunidad at higit sa lahat maging instrumento ng pagbabago sa ating lipunan,” he stated.

(It is a huge honor to serve my community and most of all, I became an instrument of change in our society.)

Even though he assumed a new position, Edgar assured that the organization would remain firm and help the community with the KALAHI-CIDSS projects which provided progress in their barangay.

He also said that the continuous collaboration of their organization and the community aims to strengthen the projects for the achievement of real development.

Ang pagiging aktibo sa kalikasan ay isang gawain na may malaking pakinabang sa ating lipunan. Ito ay hindi lamang simpleng tungkulin, kundi isang debosyon sa bisyon at adhikain ng pangangalaga sa ating kapaligiran,” he explained.

(Being active in the protection of the environment is a duty with a huge benefit for our society. This is not just a simple responsibility, but it is a devotion to the vision and goals of protecting the environment.)

With the organization’s strong commitment to environment protection and Edgar’s drive for development, it fosters stewardship among community members and true leadership in which the mangroves stood as witnesses of the community’s collective efforts.