Jiupeng Village in Manzhou: A deeper look

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Jiupeng Village in Manzhou: A deeper look

Jiupeng base of National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology in Pingtung is the base of research and development as well as test firing of missile for this country.

Jiupeng Village of Manzhou Township located next to the base contained only approximately more than hundred residents.

5 years ago, the period when Liu Yiyi (劉怡邑) was married to Jiupeng Village, she found that the young and strong population was lessening.

When she was elected as a village officer, she wished to convert Jiupeng Village into a LOHAS community, but the wish was out of reach.

Four years ago, she took charge as the chairman of the Community Development Association.

Then, she was elected as the chief of village, and she introduced eco-tourism to activate the local economy, making the community “alive”.

jiupeng village manzhou

Liu Yiyi (right), the 35-year-old village chief of Jiupeng actively introduced community eco-tourism, transforming the depressing community into a LOHAS village.

Jiupeng Village is located at the east of the Pacific Ocean, and it contains more than 300 people with only half of the population are permanent resident.

The residents used to live by conducting agricultural, fishing, animal husbandry, and operation of jeep dune buggy activities, however, due to inconvenient transportation in addition to absence of elementary school at the local area, young and middle-aged villagers were even taking away children, leaving the elderly in the village.

jiupeng village 九棚村

Location of Jiupeng Village

“Villagers generally have poor economic conditions; they are lacking family warmth, and they are often expressing a sluggish look in response to uncertain future.”

Liu Yiyi (劉怡邑), who married from Manzhou Village to Jiupeng Village at the age of 20, made a wish to turn the village into a community when she was a village official.

She believed that emerging eco-tourism was an opportunity, and she learned that National Pingtung University of Science and Technology as well as Kenting National Park Headquarters had counseled plenty of eco-tourism of community with ultimate goals of preserving the natural environment as well as continuing the well-being of residents, and since some parts of Jiupeng were located within the scope of Nanren Shan Ecological Reserve Area of Kenting National Park, the eco-tourism was worth a try.

Community Development Association served as the window of eco-tourism of community.

After Liu Yiyi (劉怡邑) was elected as the chief of the village, through year-end planning and training of tour guides, the eco-tourism of community was operated in the last two years.

From the investigation of environmental resources of the community as well as the training of tour guides to the operation of trial, the residents of the community took actions by taking tourists into nature in addition to sharing of the stories about hometown, she said, adding that when looking at the beauty of local humanities, a sense of glory grew spontaneously, and their love to their hometown intensified.

She further pointing out that before the pandemic, group tours were held almost every day, and the atmosphere was very different.

bitou grassland 鼻頭草原

Bitou grassland is a eco-tourist object in Jiupeng village

The fees for a trip taken by a tour guide were 1200 taiwan dollars, and monthly income of the tour guide was about 30,000 taiwan dollars, she said, adding that in addition to provision of flavored meals and shuttle buses which activated economy, the biggest harvest of the eco-tourism of community was to let the villagers re-understand this land.

She further pointing out that they could find Bayao Bay which was the landing site for Miyako-jima bound shipwreck causing “Mudan Incident”, slate house (or stone slab house) ruin of Nanren Shan (or Nanren Mountain), and other cultural highlights.

She further added that the villagers would be more cherishing the hometown land, and part of the income from bringing the group tour would be given back to the community to hold a cultural and healthy birthday party, which like a magic wand, intended to make the community alive.

nanren lake protection area

Nanren lake protection area

Liu Yiyi (劉怡邑) strived for getting assistance from public sector

Liu Yiyi (劉怡邑) introduced eco-tourism to attract tourists with “small and beautiful” tours and to enhance the happiness of the elderly village.

Maintenance of flat road and functional lamp was only basic skill of the chief of village, she who was only equipped with a high school education said, adding that how to create a sense of happiness for the villagers was a big challenge.

For activation and conversion of remote or small village, it is important to write a plan to win resources from public sector; being not afraid to failure since having support or resources from public sector can be twice as effective.

Manzhou Township was a poor township, and the resources by relying on the township office was limited, Liu Yiyi (劉怡邑) said, adding that she fought for different resources of social welfare through the citizen bound channels, and she found that the Forestry Bureau has a community forestry plan for promoting eco-tourism, therefore she started to write a plan for resources, and then she also approached Kenting National Park Headquarters, under continuous efforts till getting the approval of the public sector. “From scratch till success, it is important to bravely take the first step,” said Liu (劉).

While preparing for the eco-tourism of community, she and like-minded villagers did a lot of homework, spending a long time to take stock of the unfamiliar environmental and ecological resources in the village, and they found the beautiful scenery of the sea and sky at Bitou Grassland, landscape of beach, coastal ancient road, and ruin of stone slab house of Nanren Mountain.

Besides, there was also the Jiupeng base of the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, which was described by military fans as the mysterious “area 51” of Taiwan.

n the investigation of the origin of the name of “Jiupeng” or “九棚” village, according to some elderly, residents of Hengchun moving here in the early years had built nine houses, and they called them “Jiupeng” in Southern Min dialect, she said, adding that there were also people saying that fishermen from other places had set up nine tents here.

In 1975, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology completed the missile base, and the missile base was named “Jiupeng” or “九鵬”.

There was rumor that the military felt “棚” was tacky, and hence they changed to use “鵬” carrying the meaning of large and fabulous bird that was often spreading its wings.

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