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Go on a green beach holiday to Coron!

TCI FB Cover SeriesIIWorld’s Best Island Green Getaway

Go off on a green beach holiday, swim in pristine white beaches and turquoise lagoons surrounded by limestone cliffs, snorkel in cerulean lakes blessed with overwhelming marine biodiversity, go on island hopping excursions on over 60 islets or scuba dive in stunning corals where World War II ship wrecks lie. Travel to a virtually unspoiled countryside, with cows grazing through rolling grasslands and sometimes crossing the road where practically no man-made structures is in sight. Discover the Philippines’“last frontier!”

 Focal Points

Twin Lagoons. Photo by Al Linsangan III.

Twin Lagoons. Photo by Al Linsangan III.

  • Limestone landscapes – the steep and protruding karst cliffs and spires at the Ancestral Domain of the Tagbanua indigenous tribe.
  • Islands and Beaches – pristine, uninhabited white sand beaches and dozens of islands.
  • From reefs to wrecks – Busuanga Island and its bays offer a very peculiar combination of relatively rich coral reefs (notably in Siete Pecados, Bintuan-Sangat, etc) and the famous 12 Japanese World War II shipwrecks.
  • Wildlife sanctuary areas – The Calauit Game Reserve and Wildlife Refuge is a major tourist destination for wildlife interaction, as well as routes and trails along the way.
  • Bird watching trails offers good forest cover, such as the beach forest in Barangay Old Busuanga and the rich mangroves in Bugtong, Sagrada, and Concepcion.

Foremost Jaunts (Full-day excursions):

Iconic Coron excursions.

 Iconic Coron excursions.

Islands Expedition – swim and snorkel at select pristine islands and beaches: Malcapuya, Banana & Bulog Islands.

Wildlife Safari – go on a tropical wildlife adventure : Calauit Wildlife Park, Concepcion Falls & Bintuan Mangrove Walk.

Reefs and Wrecks – set off to a green diving and snorkeling expedition: Lusong Ship wreck, Coral gardens, Calumbuyan Island &  Sangat gunboat.

Nature Park Hiking & Kayaking – all aboard to Kingfisher Park for nature hiking & kayaking: nature trail, picnic lunch by the river and kayaking by the mangroves. Ideal for birdwatchers too!

GET INSPIRED!

Birding Coron2

Coron: A birdwatching paradise! 

Green Honeymoon 

Kayangan Lake Wedding & Coron Honeymoon.

Kayangan Lake Wedding & Coron Honeymoon.

IMG_5285.JPG

Eco Friendly Escapade

Isla Bulungan_Al

Nature & Wildlife Photo Expiditions

SUGGESTED ITINERARY

In order to make the most of your visit and trip, you deserve to stay at least 4 Days & 3 Nights, no less!

Suggested Itinerary: 4 Days & 3 Nights minimum.

Suggested Itinerary: 4 Days & 3 Nights minimum.

For more information and reservations send us a message.

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

Bird Watching, prime ecotourism activity in Coron

Bird Watching Training for Community Guides, a post TCI- CB Series activity co-organized by Society of Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. – SSTDI.

At the final and culminating Coron Initiative Capacity Building Series (TCI- CB Series IV) last March 2014, a presentation on Coron Bird Watching for Conservation and Ecotourism was conducted by Mr. Chin Fernandez, president of the The Wild Bird Society of Coron (or Birdwatch Coron). Mr. Fernandez is also the president of Calamianes Association of Tourism Establishments (CATE) and COO of Darayonan Lodge. Highlights of the presentation are as follows:

  • Birding must be promoted as an ecotourism activity in Coron. There is a growing trend among bird tour operators to practice sustainable and socially responsible ecotourism, while relying on local goods and services or supporting local conservation projects. Due to their accessibility and ubiquity, birds are a useful tool for environmental education and awareness on environmental issues. Birds easily transmit values on respect to nature and the fragility of ecosystems.
  • Bird watching is a hobby for enthusiasts, but it can be packaged targeting nature travelers in general who are into it as an alternative activity, since not all tourists may be fond of snorkeling/diving; or they may be both.
  • Bird watching can be an added value to spend one more day in Coron or some tourists may have an extra day, either for rest or for on any other possible activity for them. Bird watching may be introduced as it is a little challenging to see and detect birds in their natural habitat. However, once seen, tourists may be enthralled to witness the other wonders of nature.
Birding Coron2

Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater, Tulbuan Coron, Palawan. Photo by AL3Photography/CoronGaleri.

  • A local group in Coron, called the The Wild Bird Society of Coron (or Birdwatch Coron for short),seeks to identify current and potential hobbyists in promoting the activity.
  • Adequate information campaign must however be conducted in collaboration with other bird watching and conservation groups as to the proper way of conducting the activity.
  • There is a move to declare by legislation, the Blue-headed Racquet-tail (an endemic parrot species), also locally known as “Kilit” to be a flagship species for Coron.
Birding Coron

Lesser Coucal at Sitio Banga, Coron Palawan. Photo by Al3Photography.

After Mr. Fernandez’s presentation, Mr. Alex Marcaida, from Palawan Sustainable Development Council (PSDC) the Workshop Facilitator had additional comments that bird watching is indeed an alternative activity to decrease pressure of tourist influx in water activities, or on a bigger scale, a tour package can be developed using the ridges to reef approach, wherein appreciation of nature may be on land and on water. He also lauded the movement of the Coron Birdwatching Society for the adoption and declaration of “Kilit” by the Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council) of Coron as its flagship species along with the underlying protection of the species and its habitat. Such movement may be adopted by other Palawan municipalities and incorporated into the Palawan Provincial Tourism Development Plan targeted for enactment on 2016. It is also beneficial that bird enthusiasts upload their photographs of birds online as a feedback system for identification and added information on its behavior, habitat, ecological/economic value and conservation measures.

Photo Expedition

Coron Photo Expedition, Birding & Nature Adventure by Coron Galeri. Photo by Al3Photography.

For more information and travel assistance about our Birdwatching in Coron, visit our Green Travel Exchange and for your Green Hotels stay , send us a message.  Join our Society of Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. SSTDI- advocating green, eco-friendly and responsible travel. Promote your eco destination,  hotel, resort, lodging, restaurant, festival, event venue or hospitality services, spa or sports, transport, real estate development or any tourism-related enterprise espousing green or sustainable practices.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs  to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Best Practices on Sustainable Reconstruction

Foreword. With the Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda that devastated the Visayas coastal regions in 2013, cities and  towns’ local government units including the national government itself were caught unprepared for the “storm surge and powerful winds which unroofed buildings and demolished houses; humans and animals drowned or flew to their deaths. The Philippine government has appointed a “Rehabilitation Czar”, former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who himself admits, it will be a tough job, but doable. We especially share and dedicate this blog to all who are working on the reconstruction, restoration and rehabilitation of the communities, towns and cities destroyed by probably the planet’s worst weather catastrophe. The message is “building back safer” – with sustainable building principles during reconstruction not only to improve resilience to natural hazards in the future, but also to ensure that the opportunity is seized to shift towards buildings and structures that are as energy efficient, low greenhouse gas emitting and climate-mitigating as possible. 

It is important to integrate the principles of sustainability strategically from the earliest stages of rebuilding in order to avoid major failures during reconstruction. The key best practices based on experience from recent disasters and catastrophes in Asia should be kept in mind at all stages of reconstruction, summarized below:

1. Learn from experiences, which dealt with effective and efficient reconstruction, and from traditional building technologies which survived disasters. Many mistakes can be avoided by observing and finding out what concepts and, in particular, what construction practices, functioned well before a natural disaster occurred. Traditional knowledge and building practices have often evolved over long periods of trial and error, and are often both practical and resource efficient.

Coron_Green Reconstruction

Green Reconstructio & Energy for Coron & the Visayas Haiyan/Yolanda devastated areas.

2. Establish and maintain a well-functioning project-management process

A well-functioning management process is the backbone for the success of any reconstruction project. Contracts,  roles and responsibilities should be clarified as early as possible.

Flood Proof Residence_ Palafox Associates

Flood Proof Residence, by Palafox Associates

3. Ensure local participation in decision-making processes

The active participation of local stakeholders in crucial decisions throughout the project process fosters a strong sense of ownership and acceptance for the project, and helps to facilitate care and maintenance of buildings following construction. This is especially true if the users are also the owners of the houses; rented-out dwellings tend to deteriorate more quickly than do owner-occupied homes.

La Jala

Climate vulnerable La Jala Community in Coron, Palawan, where informal settlers enroached mangrove areas that are buffer zones for typhoons and storm surges. Who are to blame if they are the first to suffer climate change effects?

Relevant stakeholders – future house users, community leaders, responsible public authorities, service providers, etc. – can deliver important information and provide support that may be crucial to the project’ success and sustainability.

Ideally, relevant stakeholders should be consulted during the early project-definition phase, as well as during planning and implementation phases. This can be done through a stakeholders‟ workshop”, during which invited stakeholders set project criteria and develop ideas.

At this stage, the responsible local governmental reconstruction agency can also be consulted in order to ensure their support.

4. Anchor the project in the local context

Projects should be anchored in the local context by taking any or all of the following measures:

– Exploring the availability of local know-how

– Considering traditional/cultural requirements

– Working together with and not against the local authorities

– Cooperating with local service providers

– Using high-quality local materials when possible

– Building on and optimizing local construction technologies.

La Jala native community

A typical native hut of the Tagbanua tribe of Coron, Palawan, Philippines. Eco friendly? Yes. Climate resilient? Not really. Thankfully, they are built away from the shores.

Anchoring reconstruction projects in the local context can contribute measurably to community buy-in and a project’s success and sustainability. Local institutions and organizations included in the project process are strengthened and improved.

Community Consultation Coron

Community consultation and education by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development.

5. Coordinate with other donors to identify potential synergies

Responsible local authorities should coordinate all ongoing and planned reconstruction activities, at least at community level. In addition, however, project officials should contact other development organizations (international and national) to determine jointly the geographical and social distribution of reconstruction schemes based on local needs. Identifying and monitoring the reconstruction activities of other donor organizations and ensuring your project is complementing, not duplicating, other efforts can save financial and other resources. Normally, there are reasonable opportunities to economize on costs of access roads, water and sanitation systems and other infrastructure. Donor coordination can also help to ensure the equitable distribution of reconstruction benefits to communities, especially to areas that are less politically popular.

Photo via PJ Aranador blog.

Korean donated tents in Estancia, super typhoone devastated town in Northern Iloilo.

6. Determine communication and knowledge-sharing strategy

Maintaining effective communication among all the stakeholders is crucial. Numerous sources have reported incidences of hostility towards development agencies by beneficiaries. There has been a lack of clear and regular communication between implementers and future users about options, plans, actions, responsibilities and difficulties encountered in the course of reconstruction projects. It cannot be overemphasized that all agencies owe beneficiaries the opportunity to know what is being discussed, planned, negotiated, rejected or accepted on their behalves. The internationally accepted guidelines of the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) provide successful lines of communication. (See ALNAP, 2005, An ALNAP Guide for Humanitarian Agencies, Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action, UK.)

It is also important to ensure regular reporting and documentation of positive and negative experiences. This is important not only for any necessary handing-over to future project managers, but also for the sharing of lessons learnt at international and local level.

Photo via PJ Aranador Blog.

Coordination & information dissemination post disaster in Estancia, Iloilo.

7. Develop a risk strategy

Developing a strategy for how to overcome any potential risks to the project is essential. Risk strategies safeguard the project’s continuation, completion and, ultimately, its sustainability.

Strategies should be developed with relevant local stakeholders. The strategies should define how potential obstacles – whether political, economic, security-related or from subsequent disasters – should be tackled.

8. Conduct regular monitoring and evaluation (M&E)

Regular self-monitoring and evaluation is critical for measuring the progress of reconstruction projects. M&E can be carried out in a rather simple fashion by selecting key indicators (amounts of money spent on different activities, amounts of materials used and timeliness of completion of activities) and then collecting measurements and summarizing them on a regular basis (weekly or fortnightly).

If any indicator shows a deviation from the budget or from construction plans, then the cause for the deviation should be identified, so that remedial measures can be taken. In addition, an external evaluation can assist by providing a second and independent assignment on crucial issues. M&E can be complemented with “impact monitoring”, which is used to assess the environmental and social impacts of project activities. Impact monitoring provides valuable information about whether the project is in conformance with best sustainability practices (and if not, how it can be improved). Impact monitoring is also very useful for building the project partners‟ credibility with the local community, national authorities and international donors.

Houses Mangroves_LowRes

Devastated houses of informal settlers along the mangrove area, Coron Bay, Palawan. Learn the lesson: no one should be allowed to build any structure within the buffer zone for storms and typhoons.

9. Choose the lifespan of houses to be built

Selecting temporary or permanent shelter options has a huge influence on the house design as well as the project’s implementation procedures, budget and time-frame. It is important to decide early in planning for how long the houses should last.

 

10. Provide adequate temporary shelters

Reconstruction programs that are seeking to produce quality results require time for realization. While housing projects are being developed, displaced residents need adequate temporary shelters that ensure humane living conditions and enable residents to re-establish life as quickly as possible. Program budgets should anticipate this need.

Photo via PJ Aranador blog.

Temporary tent shelters for homeless victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in Estancia, Iloilo.

11. Consider reusing and recycling temporary housing components for permanent houses to be built in the future components such as well-maintained sanitary and kitchen facilities can be reused in new reconstructed houses; good-quality materials such as steel beams can be reused also.

12. Consider the overall development concerns and priorities of your organization

Most organizations involved in reconstruction activities have internal guidelines and standards for their activities, including environmental policies. Ensuring that your organization development goals, procedures and priorities are integrated into your project from the start can help to align projects with sustainable reconstruction objectives and avoid unnecessary costs.

13. Follow principles of bio-climatic and adaptable design

Buildings should be designed to be thermally comfortable in their climate zone with no or minimal need for mechanical heating, cooling or ventilation. Buildings should also be designed to enable occupants to modify or “tune” their buildings to suit their particular functional requirements. Adaptable design enables this by, for example, promoting strong structural design with flexible interior space-planning.

Coron_Picking up the piecies

What is your local government doing about climate change? Demand good governance. LGUs must implement their Disaster Risk Reduction Management & Local Climate Change Adaptation Plan. https://sstdi.org/tag/disaster-preparedness/

 

Source: Principles of sustainable reconstruction
An excerpt from UNEP Sustainable Building & Climate Initiative
Author: Claudia Schneider
Sustainable Building and Settlement Development Specialist
Skat – Swiss Resource Centre and Consultancies for Development

 

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs  to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.  

PHOTO CREDITS: Coron photos – Al Linsangan III- Calamianes Expeditions; Estancia photos – Pj Aranador Blogspot.

Coron, a GREEN sanctuary

 

TCI CB Series IV FB Cover teaser

Foreword. The following is a re-post from an article by Ms. Chit Juan, Social Enterpreneur & Sustainability advocate Managing Partner of Echo Store (see our related blog on green products & gift ideas), one of SSTDI-The Coron Initiative Resource Experts.  

CORON A green sanctuary

MANILA, Philippines – I remember Boracay in the early 1990s when it was lights out at 9 p.m., and you needed flashlights if you wanted to stroll along the shore after sunset, and resorts had ceiling fans and no air conditioning. Coron reminds me of such a time. And how I wish it would remain this way for a long time.

For daytrippers, you can dock your banca at Smith Beach where the boatmen from Al Linsangan’s cooperative will cook up a quick healthy lunch of grilled squid and local fish, and some pork too if you wish. The boatmen come to the beach complete with reusable plates and utensils so as not to litter the beach with disposable plastic utensils. And they encourage you to take as many pictures as you wish while they fix lunch.

After lunch, you board the boat to view Kayangan Lake, a steep 70-step climb in the forest where you are gifted with beautiful postcard views of the lakes of Coron. The island has many nooks and crannies, and snorkel spots like Twin Peaks, Siete Pecados, which responsible eco guides can lead you to. Beware that there are many tricycle drivers and boatmen posing as guides. There are about 40 licensed guides in Coron, and it would be more responsible to pay the proper fees for a proper guide. I wish that the local government is able to control the number of huts situated in the lake. The lake is actually best left to be managed by its original inhabitants, the Tagbanua, because they know how to preserve their environs.

You could also go by paddle boat (I do not know how long it would take to paddle from Coron town to the island though) so as not to disturb the animals that have the island as their natural habitat. Visitors should also not use insect repellants, lotions and other chemical products that could leech into the pristine waters, which are so clear you would surely be tempted to jump in.

To keep Coron as virgin as possible, a group of eco advocates have joined together to form the movement called The Coron Initiative. The movement seeks to teach tour guides to be eco guides, to teach resort owners how to buy green and serve green products, to teach boatmen how to preserve nature and to rally everyone to help save Coron from becoming another commercial destination.

A day trip may not be enough to see Coron island as it has many beaches and snorkel sites. A few more days are needed, too, to explore the rest of the Calamianes Islands – Culion, Linapacan, Coron and Busuanga – and that is just for a quickie view. Even Coron natives still have not explored all their neighboring isles.

What is important is to be a responsible tourist if we are to keep Coron and the rest of the islands pure and green. When we go on these trips, we should not expect city life and comfort. Rather, we should live as the natives do. We should all help in maintaining the peace and quiet of these islands. And of course, help in keeping it green and unadulterated.

There are eco advocates who have joined the movement and you may be better off seeing them on your visit to make sure you are with the green people:

Al Linsangan III is the community leader and head of Calamianes Culture Conservation Network Inc. He also operates responsible and eco-friendly green tours.

Hilbert Enriquez is a locavore and restaurant owner who infuses local flavor in his cuisine at Santino’s Grill.

Ivan Fernandez operates eco-friendly Coron Village Lodge and has adopted green ways like  using used cooking oil for their candles, retrofitting their lodges with eco-friendly materials, etc.

Rene Villegas shares his knowledge about Biology with the eco tour guides, promotes closed season fishing which is three days before and after the New Moon so we can save our favorite fish made into the famous lamayo danggit.

Eric Raymundo has volunteered his personal time to teach resort owners how to be energy efficient at the lowest price possible.

Caloy Libosada teaches tour guides how to be eco-friendly and how to appreciate birds and birdwatching as a tour possibility.

Chin Fernandez, another birdwatcher and Darayonan Lodge operator, promotes birdwatching tours.

PJ Aranador shares with resort developers how to be more efficient in using native materials while keeping the Tagbanua culture in their designs, rather than taking inspiration from Bali or other cultures.

Susan Santos de Cardenas is the moving force behind Sustainable Tourism initiative and has helped CCCNI find partners in the international community despite her being Japan-based.

And the chieftain himself of the Tagbanuas, Rodolfo, who joined our conference (The Green Leaders Forum last July 1 and 2, see related story) to get everyone on the same page while guiding The Coron Initiative members in respecting the ways and customs of the indigenous tribe.

There are many more advocates who can help preserve Coron and its sister islands and many more who can join the movement even while being a tourist or an investor. There are 688 more islands available for sale or investment and we wish developers would toe the line in keeping virgin islands like Coron the way they were when we found them. Let’s make it not just more fun in the Philippines, but greener too.

Note: Original article By Ms. Chit U. Juan (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 14, 2013. Highlighting and hyperlinks by Sustainability Guru. 

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI, the Philippines’ pioneer in Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility framework is working on The Coron Initiative, implemented in Coron, Calamianes Islands, Palawan, with institutional partners Zero Carbon ResortsGreen Hotels & Green Fins. Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Take a green trip to Coron, Palawan, Philippines, site of The Coron Initiative– a UNEP APFED showcase program on Sustainable Tourism  Development & Stewardship, the Philippines’ first sustainable tourism program.  For more information and travel assistance please visit our Green Travel Exchange or contact us.   

 GREEN HOTELS ASIA PACIFIC is our network of the most reliable eco responsible hotels around the world to help the hotel industry embrace sustainability by integrating innovation and added value with environmental actions in a vibrant green global exchange of hoteliers, operators and responsible clients.

Eco-Responsible, Sustainable & innovative Green Hotels in Asia Pacific

Eco-Responsible, Sustainable & innovative Green Hotels in Asia Pacific

GREEN FINS, Sustainable Diving & Snorkeling is an innovative  onservation initiative designed around threats to coral reef biodiversity. It is a practical system to implement environmentally friendly guidelines and a robust management and assessment system to monitor success and apply lessons learned. 

Green Fins

Green Fins, Sustainable Diving & Snorkeling conserving coral reefs and marine ecosystems

 

Green reconstruction for Sustainability and Resilience

Green Power_Coron

Coron, Palawan, the Philippines’ top emerging tourism island destination and hometown of The Coron Initiative was devastated by the Typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda. In the rush to re-build it is critical to restore biodiversity, enhance  & protect Coron’s coastal marine environment for disaster risk reduction, climate mitigation & adaptation.

Local government units (LGUs) from barangays to municipalities and cities must think & do eco towns & smart villages that integrate the Four C’s: Climate, Connectivity, Community and Character. 

The focus is on Climate-proofing communities, ensuring that they can cope and adapt to the impacts of climate change as well as ensuring eco-friendly, low-carbon designs and utilities.

Connectivity is about low carbon public transport to enable access to livelihoods.

Community focuses on a balanced social mix – ensure a place for the most vulnerable of our grassroots and

Character is about new high design standards and maintaining  the natural sense of place.

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CORON TO HAVE GREEN POWER
You can support grassroots families to meet climate challenge. Read this article about Re-energizing the Future by Ben Kritz in The Manila Times

The community-based Coron Sustainable Tourism Cooperative with support from The Coron Initiative & our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.  campaigned for Relief Program with the Gracetoration Christian Fellowship for the victims of this disaster, mostly the grassroots members in coastal villages, as grassroots partners on the ground also struggle to recover, try to operate back to almost normal and move forward, for a sustainable re-build and resilience.

The first priority was to seek support for Solar Power or Renewable Energy as  there is no electricity-power in Coron now and in the next months! Even before the super typhoon, Coron has an unstable power supply and Solar Power or other efficient energy source will allow the locals to recuperate the daily livelihoods of the community based tourism operations to a semblance of normal. As Coron’s Green Leader & Sustainable Tourism operator, the Coron Sustainable Tourism Cooperative together with The Coron Initiative & the Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. – SSTDI can only practice what we preach: green energy! The town and nearby villages need a minimum of clean energy supply for basic needs: communication, food supply and storage, charge LED lamps and mobile phones; provide electricity at night, pump water supply, and help us in repairs of destroyed homes and boats.

The second priority was to seek Handheld radios with Base to be distributed to boats, tricycles, vans, office and village outreach. This practical communication means will ensure savings on exorbitant cellular phone costs and faster coordination for ground logistical support of these community based tourism operations needed to survive . With these two essentials provided, we can help our fellow Coron citizens and grassroots operate normally and sustain services for tourists who continue to arrive in Coron.

To have their homes repaired, boats safely secured, and the Coron people ready to serve is the best primary assistance we can extend to the grassroots community towards recovery and resilience.

Third but not the least, they sought help re-build one of the schools in order to continue the work on Education the children about Ecological Conservation, Sustainability & Resilience to meet Climate Challenge.

Coron_Typhoon Campaign1

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Ecotourism 101. Ecotourism Essentials

In 1975 Inkaterra built a lodge for scientists long before ecotourism was trendy

In 1975 Inkaterra, sustainable tourism pioneer and conservation leader, built a lodge for scientists long before ecotourism was trendy. 

Along with other resource persons, namely Harro Boekhold of Contour Projects and Mr. Joselito Bernardo of the Asian Productivity Organization, we conducted the Train the Trainers in Ecotourism Planning & Management Course at the International School of Sustainable Tourism, in Subic Bay, Philippines. Apparently, among the Asia Pacific participants, there is still much confusion and ambiguities of the term “Ecotourism”.

Ecological Research and Conservation Funded By Tourism

Inkaterra: ECOlogical research and conservation funded by TOURISM. Scientific research for biodiversity is the baseline of profitable conservation, education and economic growth of local communities. 

 

Not surprisingly, more so for the travel and tourism suppliers and market. Unfortunately the “eco” trend in the past years has triggered the travel industry to inundate the market with misused and misunderstoodeco -labeled tourism products, from hotel accommodations to tours, from lodges to excursions, causing misrepresentation and misunderstandingamong travelers from the tourism industry as to what the term “ecotourism” genuinely embodies.

Danjugan Island Marine Biodiversity - all researched and recorded.

Danjugan Island Marine Biodiversity – all researched recorded, and protected to let others learn from it. 

So once and for all, we are clarifying the essence and emphasizing thebasic elements of Ecotourism.

  • Aims to conserve biodiversity
  • Sustains the well being of local people
  • Includes a learning experience
  • Requires lowest possible consumption of non-renewable resources
  • Stresses local participation, ownership and business opportunities, particularly for rural people

If your destination, property or activities does not have ALL of the above essential elements, then it is NOT “ecotourism”. In addition to these ecological essentials, Ecotourism has also these fundamental nature, no pun intended:

  • A greater focus on authenticity in terms of destinations, products and experiences
  • It is “Green consumerism” – increased environmental awarenessand concern about issues such as climate change and global warming
  • Sustainability should be at the heart of every tourism business and tourism product
  • Every tourism component- transport, accommodation, activities – should be ‘eco-friendly’
  • Ecotourism suppliers must keep it simple and sincere – genuine “green”!

Common ‘Eco confusion’:

  • “Green washing”: doing green vs. being green: just because you plant a tree, does not mean yours is already an ecotourism company. Must always have all the FIVE elements: not 4, 3,  2 or 1 only!
  • Must not be confused with Community-based tourism, Pro-poor tourism, Nature tourism, Adventure travel. As mentioned, all thefive eco essentials must be in place. ‘Nuff said.

Third Lagoon, Danjugan Island. “We saved an island. Now we invite you to explore it!”  Photo via Liwanag Aristoza San Miguel.

To date, Ecotourism is just tiny niche of the global tourism market, has no traction yet and has just started to be mainstreamed. Tourism has an enormous potential, but without principles that fosters responsibility and sustainability it can harm our planet and wreck havoc to the fragile or climate vulnerable tourism destinations.

So no more confusions, no doubt about it. Don’t be misled by all the “eco-ish” labels. Just memorize the 5 ECO elements; YOU cannot go wrong. Go green!

Take a PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange and Green Hotels stay, contact us.

Machu PicchuRe-visted in 2008

Travel with a difference in our green getaways  such as our Negros Agri-Tours, discover Danjugan Island, a true ecotourism destination, Don Salvador Benedicto’ (DSB) for a health and wellness break, and Care for Coron Island-  all meaningful journeys that touches the soul!

Iconic Kayangan Cove. Photo taken from Kayangan View Point, Coron Island

Iconic Kayangan Cove. Photo taken from Kayangan View Point, Coron Island

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

SSTDI is proud to be part of the Founding Board of the ASIAN ECOTOURISM NETWORKAEN LOGO

 

Photo credits: Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Conservation Leader since 1975, PRRCFI for Danjugan Island & Al Linsangan III for Coron photo.


Green Travel Tips

How to travel GREEN! Travel responsibly. Build lasting memories while protecting the communities/ regions you will travel to! These sustainable tourismtips will enhance your trip—and help you make a positive difference in the places you visit.

Isla Dibatoc, Coron, Palawan

Isla Dibatoc, Coron, Palawan

Before you travel

Find out as much as possible. The more you know about a World Heritage Site or Marine Protected Area, the more the site will come alive. Look into the site’s history, culture, natural environment, customs, legends, advisory notices, and more.

Learn a few words in the local language. Make an effort to speak the local language. Simple words like “Hello,” “Please,” and “Thank you” can go a long way to help you communicate with the people who know the site best—they’ll appreciate your efforts and your interest in learning.

Pack light. It’s tempting to pack everything you think you might need, but remember to be smart about your necessities.Packaging items like the plastic wrapping of your new toothbrush simply consume space in your bag and can create excess trash for the fragile sites.

Stay green. Shangrila Hotel Boracay with CSR & green initiatives.

Choose lodging thoughtfully. Look for eco-friendly hotelsthat have written procedures for environmental impact, employment, and cultural policies.

Explore transportation options. Traveling affects the environment. Wherever possible, try to minimize your impact by looking to alternative transportation and off-setting your carbon emissions.

Calamianes Group of Islands Palawan

The Coron Initiative by CCCNI. Do green. Stay green for the future generations.

During your trip

Engage in local culture. The saying, “When in Rome do as the Romans” still applies today. Your trip provides a unique opportunity to explore a new culture and to see the world through a different perspective. Enjoying local foods, shopping in local markets, and attending local festivals are all part ofexperiencing the culture.

Handmade Gallery Useful Gifts

Shop Local. Eat local. Spend local. Enjoy local. It takes you to start the trend. Photo: export-quality products fromHandmade Gallery, Negros Occidental

Buy local products and services. Choosing to supportlocally-owned businesses, community tour operators, and artisans means that you’ll have a one-of-a-kind experience and your money will go directly to the community. Before purchasing goods, ask about their origin. Avoid buying products made from threatened natural resources and report poaching and other illegal activities to the local authorities.

Refrain from aggressive bargaining. It’s often difficult to know your limits in bargaining, so if you’re not sure, ask your hotel for tips. Remember that the purchases you make directly affect vendors’ livelihoods, so decide if you really need to hang onto that extra dollar.

Hire local guides. Enrich your experience by choosing local guides who are knowledgeable about the destination. Ask local tour operators and hotels for recommendations.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Step forward without footprints. Tourism for the people, planet, profit.

Tread lightly. Some destinations are World Heritage sites or Marine Protected Areas because of their exceptional natural or cultural splendor. Do your part to keep them that way by following designated trails, respecting caretakers, and not removing archaeological or biological treasures from sites.

Respect the natural environment. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Even though you are just visiting and not paying the utility bill, disposing of your garbage properly and minimizing your consumption of water and energy will benefit the overall destination.

Think of the Big Picture. While it is important to support local economy, certain tourist activities and souvenirs can damage a fragile World Heritage site. Say “no” to a souvenir that’s a piece of the site itself, and to tourist activities that may be harmful to a site’s longevity.

Say “no” to a souvenir that's a piece of the site itself!

Say “no” to a souvenir that’s a piece of the site itself! ~ Sustainable Beach Management by The Clean Blue.

After returning home

Share tips about responsible travel. In addition to telling family and friends about the wonderful memories you made, also consider sharing tipson how they too can positively impact these destinations while having an amazing journey.

Explore more. Travel is just the start of learning. Once you return home, continue exploring and being involved with the issues or region that captured your attention. Build your knowledge.

Give back. Traveling often opens our eyes and our hearts. Help to preserve these inspirational destinations for generations to come by making a donation to programs that give back and benefit the local community.

Adopted_a_village_Coron Ecotours

Support or donate to The Coron Initiative Environmental Conservation & Educational programs to benefit the grassroots of Coron & Calamianes.

GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE is taking its toll on the planet, wrecking havoc and destruction to our natural environment, rural communities and even big cities! We have to do our part in leaving less impact to the environment. The message is RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL: let us protect the environment, care about local communities and respect their culture as we explore, experience and enjoy.

Join our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. SSTDI- advocating green, eco-friendly and responsible travel. Learn more about greening your destination and how to make your home community sustainable. Promote your eco destination,  hotel, resort, lodging, restaurant, festival, event venue or hospitality services, spa or sports, transport, real estate development or any tourism-related enterprise espousing green or sustainable practices through our Green Travel Exchange.  Travel with a difference in Green Getaways  such as our Negros Agri-Tours, discover Danjugan Island, a true ecotourism destination, Don Salvador Benedicto’ (DSB) for a health and wellness getaway, and Care for Coron Island-  meaningful journeys that touches the soul!

Take a PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange and Green Hotels stay, contact us.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.

SSTDI is proud to be part of the Founding Board of the ASIAN ECOTOURISM NETWORK and

The International Ecotourism Society

Source: Expedia Travel World Heritage tips. Photo credits: Al3 Photography for Coron photo.  

Sustainable seas, green economy in a blue world

TCI CB Series IV -Green Leaders Conference Workshop

 

Green economy in a blue world. Greening our ocean economies is a challenge that needs commitment from each of us – as the individual consumer, investor, entrepreneur or politician.  A less energy-intensive, more labor-intensive,  less destructive, more sustainable, less exclusive, more integrative approach will lead to more jobs, strengthen intra-and inter-generational equity and empower people to economic participation and greater self-determination. For the Philippines’ 7,107 islands archipelago , greening our coastal and marine resources means sustainable  management, conservation and protection, stronger resilience to economic or environmental shocks and social equity.” ~ The Coron Initiative (source: UNEP).

 

Boracay’s White Beach then and now.

I have been working for beaches most of my tourism career for almost three decades in various resorts in the Philippines. I pioneered in Boracay Island managing small resorts when there were only less than dozen in those days. Then, rapid, unsustainable development and environmental degradation just burgeoned. It was fate that brought me back full circle to the eco-depleted island after twenty years and I decided to do my part to form The Boracay Initiative, if only to enlighten public and private stakeholders to preserve their invaluable source of tourism livelihood.

The Coron Initiative, towards Sustainable Coron & Calamianes in the next millenium

The Coron Initiative, towards Sustainable Coron & Calamianes in the next millenium

I also had a chance to visit Coron, Palawan an emerging tourist destination, and I foresaw that without a Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility framework, it will suffer the same destruction as Boracay. Thus, we also organized The Coron Initiative with Lead Advocate-NGO, Calamianes Cultural Conservation Network and in 2013, co-organized with our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI.

In 2010, I was also invited to home-province Negros Occidental, and visited marine conservation sites in Sagay’s Carbin Reef as well as Danjugan Island, where illegal fishing is rampant aside from mining threat. From then, I proposed The Negros Initiative, to set up a similar greening guideline for the province.

SSTDI leads Negros Occidental in sustainable tourism and development stewardship.

With my hands-on knowledge and experience at Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer, Carbon Negative and Conservation Leader, I shared the best practices in ecological conservation funded by tourism, the preservation of culture and heritage, while sharing it with the world.

At a recent UNEP conference (January 2012), 65 countries adopted the“Manila Declaration – Global Protection Agreement (GPA)” – to strengthen the protection of global marine environment from land-based activities, emphasizing coastal eco resources as a key factor in the shift to a green economy.  This GPA made in the Philippines is very relevant as its 7,107 islands are rapidly losing rich natural resources due to marine-related commercial activities, such as fisheries, inter-island transport, tourism, mining, etc. These massive businesses leave destruction and escalate environmental degradation, loss of vital coastal habitats, marine biodiversity and shore water quality as it did to Boracay Island, the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs for Philippine Tourism. If not sustainably planned, Coron, Palawan, the next vulnerable tourism hot-spot will follow suit.

Coastal and Mangroves Destruction, Coron, Palawan, Philippines

Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal. ~ Edward Wilson

The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources has implemented an Integrated Coastal Resource Management Program (ICRMP) and the Coral Triangle Initiative  (CTI) to “promote the sustainable development and ensure the long term productivity of coastal resources while providing social services, lessening poverty in coastal communities as well as delivering basic infrastructure.”

SSTDI’Sustainable Tourism frameworks are being implemented in Coron and West Visayas with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and Clean Blue Asia Sustainable Beach Management. These “Triple Bottom Line” initiatives are crucial for destination planning and development strategies towards the greening of tourism.  With the Manila Declaration’s commitment to develop policies to reduce and control wastewater, marine litter and pollution, the ICMP and CTI as guidelines, we will work towards a green economy for the Philippines, seeking green investments in tourism that can contribute to economically viable and robust growth, provide decent jobs, poverty alleviation and reduced environmental impacts.

SSTDI’s  Capacity Building programs for cities and communities include Good Governance, Climate Change, Resilience, and Disaster Prevention & Management among others to implement green solutions to global issues for grassroots growth, from policies to practices.

Coron Environmental Forum by The Coron Initiative, a public-private sector cooperation

The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones with the concern. ~ Max Lacado

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

SSTDI is proud to be part of the Founding Board of the ASIAN ECOTOURISM NETWORK and 

The International Ecotourism Society

Sustainable Tourism, the way forward

Foreword. Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs  to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

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

Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and an important source of foreign exchange and employment for many developing countries. Since the mid 90’s we have heard of the term “Sustainable Tourism” and thought of it vaguely as something good for the planetand for the future of tourism but most of us do not really know what it is and its value.

Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer since 1975, Carbon Neutral & Conservation Leader

Sustainable is Explainable. Here, we will try to explain what is meant by Sustainable Tourism according to the World Tourism Organization(WTO). Sustainable Tourism is “satisfying current tourist and host community needs, while protecting and improving future opportunities.” Put simply, Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In ecology the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time with due consideration for carrying capacity. Forhumanity, it is the continuing maintenance of its well-being, as it depends on the natural resources’ benefits and its responsible use.

In the Philippines, the 7107 islands archipelago is blessed with a wealth of natural resources: verdant tropical forest and a stunning range of marine biodiversity, even declared in one region as a Natural World Heritage site. However through the years, ignorance, recklessness, lack of education or awareness, poverty, deforestation and destruction of marine eco systems has damaged some of theislands’ beauty and assets, the very same source that provide livelihood for millions of citizens. More so for its top beach attractions, where stakeholders and travelers alike are unaware of their responsibility to conserve and avoid damage to the places they develop or visit, now vulnerable and threatened, and worse in some, endangered. This is not withstanding the fact that global climate change has fast-tracked the destruction.

“Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.” ~ Edward Wilson

According to UNEP, Sustainable Tourism describes policies, practices and programs that take into account not only the expectations of tourists regarding responsible natural resource management (demand), but also the needs of communities that support or are affected by tourism projects and the environment (supply) 2. Sustainable tourism thus aspires to be more energy efficient and more “climate sound” (e.g. by using renewable energy, minimize waste); consume less water;  conserve biodiversity, cultural heritage and traditional values;support intercultural understanding and tolerance; generate local income and integrate host communities with a view to improving livelihoods and reducing poverty.

Photo of Boracay's White Beach courtesy of Rene Thalman.

Can we still protect & conserve Boracay for the future generations? ~ The Boracay Initiative

Local cultures, values and traditions are affected adversely from the profusion of massive expansion without any regard for eco balance. One major loss is authenticity, a major pillar in the principle of sustainable tourism, which should maintain the geographical character of a place, its environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture and well-being of its residents.

The Coron Initiative Sustainable Tourism Development & Stewardship co-organized by SSTDI.

Sustainable Tourism: benefits local communities & raises awareness, support for sustainable use of natural resources

Sustainable is Attainable. According to the WTO guidelines, “Sustainable tourism development requires the informed participationof all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure wide participation and consensus building.” To achieve Sustainable Tourism, all sectors have to follow a continuous process which requires constant monitoring of impacts and implement the necessarypreventive and/or corrective measures at all times.

In summary WTO’s Sustainable Tourism is:

  • Making optimal use of environmental resources that form a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity to meet climate challenge 

    Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

    Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

  • Respecting the sociocultural authenticity of host communities,conserving their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contributing to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.

“The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones with the concern.” ~ Max Lacado

  • Ensuring viable, long-term economic operations, providing equal socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders, including stable employment, income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities and contributing to poverty alleviation.

Luxury lodgings at jungle’s best: exquisite regional cuisine, guests learning about rainforest, biodiversity AND conservation.

Sustainable tourism should not only satisfy the travelers’ needs of pleasure and relaxation but also ensure a meaningful experience that raises their awareness about preserving and conserving nature and culture while contributing to the local community as a lasting legacy.

TCI CBSeriesII Teaser

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs  to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

SSTDI is proud to be part of the Founding Board of the ASIAN ECOTOURISM NETWORK and a member of:

The International Ecotourism Society

References: UNEP, UN- WTO, National Geographic, Wikepedia 
Photos credits: Al3 Photography for Coron, Palawan, Inkaterra for Peru

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