The Coron Initiative

Why the CORON INITIATIVE?  Watch this video: 

The story of Koh Phangan, Thailand is an all-too-familiar one in the tourism industry: discovered by backpackers, embraced by adventurers, exploited by businessmen with no regard for conserving the rich natural environment of the island which attract tourists in the first place and and devastated by mass tourism.

“We need to educate and espouse tourism development that does not destroy our rich natural heritage which attract tourists to visit in the first place. We must ensure we don’t only protect the environment for the future generations, we also improve governance & stewardship. Let us learn the lessons from other beach island destinations which self-destruct due to unsustainable development.” – The Coron Initiative Author & Adviser

Coron Bay, Coron, Palawan, Philippines. Photo by Al Linsangan III.

Coron Bay, Coron, Palawan, Philippines. Photo by Al Linsangan III.

Coron is a first class municipality in the province of Palawan, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 42,941 people.

The municipality covers the eastern part of Busuanga Island and all of the nearby Coron Island, as well as another 50 minor islets, stretching as far as Tara Island in the northeast and Canipo Island in the south. All these islands are part of the Calamian Archipelago in northern Palawan that separate the South China Sea from the Sulu Sea. The main industries of Coron are fishing and tourism, being a popular diving location.

The aquatic views of a dozen sunken Japanese warships at depths between 10 and 40 metres (33 and 130 ft) off Coron Island are making Coron and its neighboring municipalities a popular diving destination, listed in Forbes Traveler Magazine’s top 10 best scuba diving sites in the world.

Banol Beach on the Ancestral Domain of the Tagbanua tribes, Coron, Palawan, Philippines

Banol Beach, at the Ancestral Domain of the Tagbanua tribes, Coron, Palawan, Philippines

The municipality of Coron itself is composed of Coron Island, a portion of Busuanga Island, and some 20 other outlying islands. It is blessed with pristine white beaches, turquoise waters, limestone cliffs, and a virtually unspoiled countryside all contributing to a breathtakingly beautiful landscape. Other features of interest include volcanic lakes, natural hot springs, over 500 caves and a thriving marine ecology population.

Father and son out for fishing; member of the Tagbanua community, one of the few remaining indigenous tribes in the Philippines.

Father and son out for fishing; member of the Tagbanua community, one of the few remaining indigenous tribes in the Philippines.

The Coron Initiative was conceived by Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.- SSTDI, CEO & President Susan Santos de Cárdenas, The Coron Initiative Author & Adviser, during her first visit to Coron in June 2010. During that visit, she was introduced to Al Linsangan, Executive Director of the Calamianes Conservation & Cultural Networks Inc. (CCCNI) and together, they forged a Memorandum of Agreement to adopt and implement TCI under the tutelage of the CCCNI. TCI project base is in Coron Island, Palawan, Philippines, touted as “the last frontier” by explorer Jacques Costeau.

susan-n-al

Ms. Susan Santos de Cardenas with Al Linsangan, The Coron Initiative Green Leaders

In 2010, Ms. Cardenas first requested authorization from Rainforest Alliance, the UN-WTO partner which formulated the first Sustainable Tourism Best Practices Guideline. Rainforest Alliance Ronald Sanabria gave the approval to adopt the Guideline, however with advice to take into consideration the local tourism situation, issues and concerns of the area. In other words, the ST Guide has to be customized in the context of Coron environmental, social and economic conditions. Thus, the TCI Guide is based on the following framework from UN-WTO.

Casebook on Environmental Leadership and Career Development. The Coron Initiative - promoting Sustainable and Responsible Tourism

Casebook on Environmental Leadership and Career Development. The Coron Initiative – promoting Sustainable and Responsible Tourism

The Preliminary Blueprint includes an overview of the various criteria currently used by Tourism Sustainability programs started by World Tourism Organization authorized by Rainforest Alliance was developed with support from United Nations Environmental Program UNEP) Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and is now updated into the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Destinations & Tourism establishments by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Supporting Agencies:

  • Department of Tourism
  • Department of Environment & Natural Resources
  • Environmental Management Bureau, Philippines
TCI EF 2011 Organizers, Benefactors & Guest Speakers

The Coron Initiative – First Environmental Forum, 2011. A Call of Action & Coopertation: towards a sustainable Coron & Calamianes Islands in the next millenium.

The Coron Initiative Author & Adviser: we need to educate and espouse tourism development that does not destroy our environment. We must ensure we don’t only protect the environment, we also improve governance & stewardship.

TCI 2013 Capacity Building Series

The Coron Initiative Capacity Building Series 2013. “Sustainable Tourism Development: Improving the quality of life within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.”

PROPONENTS/PARTICIPANTS

  • Travel & tourism industry sector, tour operators, travel agents,
  • Public sector, Politicians/Statesmen, Public/civil servants: Government agencies, LGUs in charge of environment, governance, planning & development, tourism
  • Hospitality sector: hotels and resorts, restaurants, bars, (owners, managers, decision makers)
  • Tourism service & Eco/organic product providers: small and medium business owners, leisure (spa, beauty, food & health products/services)
  • Real estate & land owners, Developers, Contractors, Architects, Builders, Suppliers
  • Energy, Water, Organic farming & Recycling sectors
  • Land, water and air transport: Tour bus operators, Cruises/Ships; Airlines
  • Recreation and sports facilities: scuba, snorkeling, mountaineering, adventure, outdoor shops & gears
  • NGOs, cooperatives, People’s Organizations, Environmental, Conservation & Green Advocacy groups
  • Academe, educators, youth leaders
  • Concerned citizens and sustainability advocates
Coron ECAN Board

Both public and private stakeholders should work together to ensure GREEN before greed as should be the goal of Coron Environmental Critical Areas Network (ECAN) Board.

 IMMEDIATE AND LONG TERM BENEFITS

  • Maintain natural cycles in marine-coastal ecosystems and their influence in global climate change.
  • Preserve the destination attraction that prompted tourists to visit them in the first place.
  • Achieve efficiency and savings in business operating activities- ECO nomic and ECO logical.
  • Maintain destination quality and competitiveness.
  • Protect and conserve biodiversity as legacy for future generations.

Know more about story of The Coron Initiative in Manila Times article; please click here.

Isla Bulungan, Coron Island, Palawan

Isla Bulungan, Coron Island, Palawan

FROM THE PRESS. Check out articles about The Coron Initiative:

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Check out PHOTOS of The Coron Initiative Capacity Building Series, here.  

First Coron Environmental Forum

The Coron Initiative Environmental Forum.               “It is not development if it destroys the environment.”

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Educational programs for hotels, destinations – LGUs, host communities,  private stakeholders and the grassroots and tour operators with Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria. Training programs include Environmental ConservationGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals: poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate change. WASTE TO ENERGY solutions are now offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.