Bohol’s Abatan River flows through the municipalities of Catigbian, Antequera, Balilihan, and Maribojoc towards Cortes. The name Abatan comes from the Visayan word “abat”, meaning to “meet, converge, or come together”.
Along the river sits one of the three largest riverine mangrove forests with various flora and fauna inhabiting the estuary in Cortes. Found in the estuary are 32 mangrove species including the rare and globally endangered, Camptostemon philippinense, locally known as “Gapas-gapas”. Gathering along the river are eight species of fireflies including the “Pteroptyx macdermotti”, which is endemic to the Philippines.
In addition, a wide selection of animals like mudskippers, rats, fruit bats such as the “Large Flying Fox”, mangrove skink, and water monitor lizards, plus ants, spiders, and fiddler crabs are present. Different snake species are also found such as the “Banakon” or popularly known as the king cobra, “Ugahipon” or the Samar cobra, “Hanlulukay” or the Philippine whipsnake.
In June 2019, the “Antigaw” (Lithoredo abatanicus), a novel genus and species of shipworm was identified by an international research team led by marine biologists from the Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Presently, the Abatan River is an ideal site for wildlife conservation and ecotourism because of its abundance and rustic scenery. However, water pollution caused by indiscriminate waste disposal remains a threat. Let us all do our part in protecting our environment and natural heritage.