He even showed a plan of exposing school children to environmental consciousness through the park.
The first wetland and nature park in the country rests on more than four hectares of swamp land in the seaside village of Tortugas fronting the Manila Bay. Tortugas is one of three villages in Balanga designated by the Department of Tourism as bird-watching sites.
Garcia, more popularly known as Joet, took pride in presenting the area as a major tourist attraction with emphasis on environmental concerns not only in the city but the whole of Bataan.
Garcia focuses in promoting the city as a tourism haven during the three-day First Conference on Community-Based Rural Tourism held recently at the Subic Bay Freeport.
Organized by former DOT Sec. Mina Gabor, the resource persons including Garcia, showed what they considered as the best practices in their area related to tourism.
The mayor announced that the city government has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Education on holding educational field trips at the Wetland Park for Grade 5 pupils from all elementary schools in Balanga.
Garcia said the project, the first in the country, will soon expand for pupils in Bataan and Region 3.
“The field trips will help educate children on environmental awareness by coming in close contact with nature like the mangroves, the birds and the sea,” the mayor said.
The park is undergoing full expansion to accommodate more visitors in the 40,850-square meter area. Already established are two viewing decks and a Tourist Information Center.
Through the viewing decks and the information center, the wide expanse of the bay and some birds resting on bamboo posts and flying over are in full view especially when using binoculars.
About 14,000 to more than 18,000 migratory birds of different specie have been counted in the three villages of Tortugas, Puerto Rivas Itaas and Sibacan in one day. The first International Bird Festival was held last year in Balanga.