Formerly the creek located along Purok De Oro, Zone 3, Poblacion, Iligan City was polluted by human waste, and trash casually is thrown into the creek by thoughtless residents and businesses. The odor from the creek could not be ignored by anyone walking in the area, and it was feared that the creek was not healthy, particularly for local children.
Now, this formerly smelly and possibly hazardous eyesore has become the home to hundreds of beautiful Koi fish and tilapias. Decorative attractions have been added so that this spot has been thoroughly transformed visually as well.
The man to thank for this amazing turnaround is Lito Dela Corta.
Lito, along with his close friend Richard Digamo involved many residents in their plan to revitalize the disgusting creek.
Simultaneously local villagers, together with Dela Corta and Digamo cleaned the creek of items that had been tossed into it as well as trash that had been dumped along the banks.
Then, using primarily Lito’s own funds a small number of Telapia and koi were purchased to see how they would fare. It turns out that they flourished. Soon their number increased dramatically. Gradually the area started looking much better and the smell improved dramatically.
More fish were added as time went on and attractive water plants were added to help filter the water and make the creek more attractive. It also provided nourishment and improved habitat for the fish.
In addition, attractive rocks were added along the banks to provide and enhanced the experience for local residents by enjoying a siesta or simply strolling or relaxing on a short break.
A wooden deck has been added by Lito, which crosses the creek and provides a great place to leisurely look down at the colorful fish and enjoy the peace and beauty of the creek and then leave after a while, much more relaxed and content than they were when they arrived.
When asked how very likely tilapia and koi survive when creek overflows during heavy rains or typhoons?
Lito had observed that despite the floods which he thought would stress the fish and be pushed towards the bank of the creek, he noticed that they adjust well and tend to hide themselves under the rocks as they wait for the creek to ‘settle down’ again and come back to its normal depth.
Dela Corta claims that the cost of fish and other expenses were almost entirely shouldered by his own savings. He estimated that he spent at least 100, 000 PHP. He is hoping for a continuing flow of contribution to make this a self- sustaining project.
Pails filled with 2 grams of ‘fish pellets’ are placed on posts supporting the deck and are available for purchase for a mere 5 pesos so that visitors can enjoy feeding the fish. Additionally, a ‘donation box’ is clearly marked, allowing for contributions to be made toward the upkeep of this effort.
Periodically Lito catches two or three tilapias of about a kilo each. He gives these to acquaintances in need of nourishing food. In general, fishing is NOT allowed by the public. Perhaps sometime in the future that will change.
Today locals have appreciated the hard of work that went into this creek building this eye-catching oasis within the city and began being more careful about respecting the creek and not using it as a garbage dump anymore. The creek, no longer a place to avoid, has become a point of pride and is now widely enjoyed by many residents and is perhaps a prototype for other small bodies of water throughout the city! Something to look forward to. # Irma Boza