Negros Occidental, Sustainable Agri Tourism destination
The Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. (SSTDI) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization based in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines established to lead The Negros Occidental Initiative: provide training services and capacity building support to the province’s public and private stakeholders; to attain excellence in sustainable tourism and development, environmental conservation and stewardship to help mitigate climate change; and espouse social responsibility for local economic growth, underlining cultural, community and ecological legacy while promoting authentic and responsible travel experiences. SSTDI offers Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs for LGUs, communities, grassroots and stakeholders include Good Governance, Climate Change education and Disaster Prevention and Management. Waste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.
In 2010, while working on The Boracay & Coron Initiatives I took a side trip to my home province sugar land Negros Occidental in southern Philippines. Upon request of Tita Sonia Sarrosa, energetic CEO of 2010 ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee Nature’s Village Resort, I did a stopover to give a talk and presentation on Conservation, Social Responsibility and Sustainable Tourism. I was happy to learn that in fact, Negros Occidental became the first organic province and aims to be the organic bowl of Asia.
A select group of Provincial officials and private tourism stakeholderswere waiting patiently for my delayed flight to listen to my presentation, gleaned from my first hand experience with Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975.
Next day, we visited Sagay City, south of the province, home of Museo sang Bata Sa Negros (Children’s Interactive Marine Museum). The Museum size, design and exhibits were originally intended for children but it is an attraction for visitors of all ages, too. Its focus is to educate primarily, children on Coastal Marine resources especially of nearby Carbin Reef Marine Reserve. However the Museum also serves as a Welcome Center for all guests, offering a brief intro about Sagay’s marine biodiversity, conservation programs and a small hall dedicated to Sagay’s son, the late Governor Joseph Maranon. Several children act as guides in each mini-exhibit and their spiels are heartwarming and interesting not only for kids but also for adults
Just a quick motor boat ride from the pier across the water, we island-hopped to Carbin Reef Sandbar, the visitors’ base to the 200 hectareMarine Sanctuary. The tongue shaped white sand bar is open for day visitors on a limited capacity for swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving.
From Carbin Reef, we took a brief ride to Barangay Vito, where we took the motorboat to Molocaboc Island. We were graciously welcomed by the Barangay Captain and residents who offered us an exquisite lunch of native seafood, proudly produced by the island. Molocaboc has no fresh water resource, thus all residents make use of large earthen jars for rain water catchment to have water supply.
Japanese NGO’s visit the island yearly to do their outreach programs to include mangrove reforestation and sea ranching (a sustainable way of aquaculture & fishing). We then took a quick visit to the farm of college-friend, Jojo Bonnin in Barangay Alangilan, a mini green-hideaway, just 15 minutes from the city.
From this visit, The Negros Occidental Initiative was born, to develop responsible travel to Negros with proponents to include: Eco Agri Sustainable Agri Farm showcase, Don Salvador Benedicto, the next emerging eco hot spot in the Philippines, Fresh Start Organic and Rapha Valley Sustainable Agri tours. After this visit, several more conferences and workshops were help with yours truly as Resource Person to organize and lead the way forward for the Province to undertake a sustainable tourism culture for stakeholders, host communities and promote Organic Farming based tourism, as a true triple bottom line business model.
SSTDI organized the “First Negros Occidental Environment & Sustainable Tourism Forum” last November 22 – 23, 2012 in Bacolod City.
The objective of the Forum was to bring together stakeholders from the tourism sector, government regulatory agencies, resort-hotels, travel, transport, real estate developers, contractors, service providers, SMEs, and tourism related industries, environmental NGOs, civic clubs, Pos, IPs, the academe and the local host communities to enhance their knowledge on environmental care and responsibilities, help mitigate the effects of climate change, best green experiences, Sustainable Tourism & Development best practices.
SSTDI’s vision is for Negros Occidental to be the Sustainable Agri Tourism model and foremost destination of Organic Farm-to-table, Cultural & Culinary experience in the Philippines! Tours can be organized into different themes and interests such as:
- Family Fun
- Culture & Culinary
- Romantic Retreat
- Girls’ or Guys Getaway
- Outdoor Adventure
ZERO CARBON RESORTS is our joint project with GrAt for the SMEs in the Tourism Industry to reduce carbon footprint by switching from use of fossil fuel to renewable energy sources especially solar energy and green technologies.
GREEN HOTELS ASIA PACIFIC is our network of the most reliable eco responsible hotels around the world. It works to help the hotel industry embrace sustainability by integrating innovation and added value with environmental actions in a vibrant global exchange of green hoteliers, operators and responsible clients.
Posted on September 20, 2012, in Eco Conservation, Sustainable Development and tagged Agri-tourism, Don Salvador Benedicto, green travel, Negros Occidental, Philippines, Rapha Valley, Sustainable Tourism. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.