The Department of Tourism (DOT) has released the Health and Safety Guidelines Governing the Operations of Accommodation Establishments under the New Normal, indicating quite a number of significant changes in the country’s frontline tourist services.
DOT Memorandum Circular No. 2020-002 signed by Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Friday, pursuant to Republic Act 11469 or Bayanihan to Heal As One Act and RA 6593 or Tourism Act of 2009, cites the need to provide guidelines to institutionalize updated health and safety protocols in the operations of accommodation establishments under the New Normal Scenario.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases defines the “New Normal” as emerging behaviors, situations, and minimum public health standards that will be institutionalized in common or routine practices and remain even after the pandemic while the disease is not totally eradicated.
The comprehensive Guidelines provide for the operations of accommodation establishments (AEs) in the areas of Guest Handling; Reception and Concierge; Rooms and Housekeeping; Food and Beverage Service; Kitchen Sanitation and Disinfection; Public Areas; Hotel and Transport Service; Engineering and Maintenance Service; Business Practices and Management; and Suppliers of Goods and Services.
Under Section 5, Guest Handling Policy, the establishment is required: 1) To have the guests complete a Health Declaration Form upon check-in; 2) to encourage online payment upon booking; and 3) to conduct body temperature checking using a thermal scanner at the hotel entrances shall be undertaken for all guests by qualified health or medical staff or trained hotel personnel.
Only guests cleared during screening shall be allowed to enter the hotel perimeter to check-in.
Section 5 further states that guests must be provided with reminder cards, which may include the following: 1) No sharing of food or any personal or non-personal belongings; 2) Proper disposal of used PPE; 3) Mingling with occupants of other rooms are not encouraged; 4) Practice of proper handwashing etiquette/hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and proper use of face mask; and 5) Strict observance of Physical Distancing.
Among the other highlights of the Guidelines include: Precautionary measures on physical distancing, hand cleaning, and respiratory etiquette must be strictly observed; wearing of masks by front desk personnel attending to guests; use of disposable gloves when handling cash or documents, and/or materials that are passed from person to person.
For the reception or front desk officer, hand-shaking is not advised instead the practice of the Filipino Brand of Service (FBS) or the “Mabuhay” gesture in greeting guests, as well as other forms of contactless greeting, is encouraged.
Only single up to double room occupancy is allowed. Couples or family members who share the same household may be allowed in double or twin occupancy rooms. A distance of 1-2 meters between the beds is highly encouraged.
Section 15 of the Guidelines also lists the measures that must be complied within the management of symptomatic guests, among them: 1) Create a holding area for symptomatic guests; 2) Immediately refer symptomatic guests to the nearest hospital; 3) Assure guests of assistance in case they begin to manifest symptoms such as fever and/or cough; 4) Keep the symptomatic guest confined in the room originally used until trained transport providers are available to transport him or her to designated referral hospital.
The staff must immediately inform the doctor on duty or the emergency response team for assistance for coordination to the referral hospital or the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) for assessment if any staff is concerned about the condition of a guest, or if a guest requests access to medical services.
The Section also reminds the staff and personnel to avoid employing any discriminatory action against any sick person with high fever and cough for fear of contracting or spreading the disease.
For Accommodation Establishments in areas declared to be under a Community Quarantine, Administrative Order No. 2020-002 or the Community Quarantine Guidelines for Hotel Operations shall primarily govern, and the New Normal Health and Safety Guidelines shall apply in a suppletory character.
Please click here for the full text of the Health and Safety Guidelines Governing the Operations of Accommodation Establishments under the New Normal (https://tinyurl.com/y8w2cqxg).
Peru is host to APEC 2016 and other key international events that started with EITI 2016, the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves, among others. In order to make the most of your visit to this empire of hidden treasure and to prepare for probably the most incredible trip of a lifetime, here’s a compilation of useful guide and insider’s tips for you! Know and share.
Watch Peru, Empire of Hidden Treasures. Don’t just watch the movie, live it for real!“Enjoy the highest level of comfort, the most exquisite cuisine, breathtaking landscape filled with magic and fantasy and the entertainment you can only find here. Only in Peru. Empire of the hidden treasures.”
If Peru didn’t exist, travel guide books would have to invent it. It’s a land of lost cities and ancient ruins, brooding Andean peaks, dense jungles, quaint cities, festivals con-celebrating Roman Catholic masses with mysterious Incan rites. It’s like a whole world in a snow dome.- from the Travel Book.
Rich with majestic natural beauty, gracious people, and the legacy of great ancient civilizations, Peru is a country that touches the soul.
The multifarious faces of Peru, from its three major geographical zones- Pacific Coast, the Andes mountains and the Amazon Rainforest – are some of the friendliest people on earth.
When planning to travel to Peru, in order to fully capture its magic and mystique, you need to understand what to expect. Prepare wisely with these important information for what will be one of the most amazing trips of your life.
Amazon River, one of the World’s New Seven Wonders of Nature.
PERU FAST FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)
Acclimatization is the process of the body adjusting to the decreased oxygen at high altitudes. Considering varying altitudes of the Andean mountain region destinations (Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca), try to go first to the lower ones before ascending to higher altitude cities. It is a slow process that could take place over a couple of days. Given enough time, your body will adapt to the decrease in oxygen at a specific altitude.
Multi-civilizations, scenes from Lake Titicaca, world’s highest navigable lake at 3,800 meters (17,000 feet) above sea level.
Altitude Sickness Prevention
Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS) or soroche is a pathological condition that is caused by acute exposure to low air pressure usually above 2,400 meters (approximately 8,000 feet). The main cause of altitude sickness is going too high too quickly. When you travel to a high altitude destination, do these to avoid altitude sickness: rest upon arrival, limit any walking or touring activity on your first day, drink plenty of water (or tea – they usually serve mate de coca – coca tea, for soroche), avoid taking alcoholic beverages and only eat light soup for your meal.
Connectivity / Communication
Peru is well connected with telephone landlines and mobile phones, as well as internet/ WiFi connections in most hotels and internet shops (cabinas de internet) in smaller cities and towns.
Seven Wonders: Peru has an archealogical motley of at least seven civilizations before the Incas.
Currency/Credit Cards/ Foreign Exchange
Peru’s currency is the Nuevo Sol(S/.) or Soles (plural). Peru is typical of many South American countries that operates a dual currency system; US$ American Dollar and the local Sol. In the provinces, credit card facilities may be limited only to major establishments. Travelers’ cheques are not common, so have cash preferably in Soles on hand as foreign currency exchange is limited. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are mostly available only in the main cities.
As varied as the multi-cultures, wide array of exquisite cuisines awaits you at the Gastronomy capital of Latin America!
Health/ Medical/Travelers Common Illness
To avoid any illnesses or travelers’ diarrhea, take care when eating raw or exotic foods. Drink bottled or boiled water and take precautions when buying/eating street food/beverages. Hospitals and clinics provide adequate services, especially in Lima and the other main cities and can contact health care insurance directly.
The official languages are Spanish (80% of the population), Quechua(Andean and highland regions), and Aymara (in the region of Puno high plateaus). It is generally easy to communicate in English with tourist service workers such as tour guides, travel agency employees and hotel staff in general, however it is very handy to know and practice a few basic phrases in Spanish. Besides, it also projects you as a savvy traveler, not to mention an educated one!
Please know the baggage limit, number of pieces and weight allowed by domestic airline to your destination. Most domestic airlines have lesser baggage allowance (usually max. 10 kilos) than the international airlines (usually max. 23 kilos). In case of multiple destinations, it is advisable to travel light and bring only the essentials.
From the Amazon to the Andes and many cities in between there’s an outdoor thrill for everyone.
If you are going to Machu Picchu, please take note that Peru Rail has imposed luggage limitation on the train to Aguas Calientes. Peru Rail Luggage Transport is a maximum hand-carried allowance of only 5 kilos/11 lbs. and measuring not more than 62 inches/157 cm (height, length & width) per passenger. Your heavier and bigger baggage may be transported in another train at an extra cost (US$1.80/kilo, one way, maximum 10 kilos) or may be left for storage at Peru Rail’s Luggage Storage only in Ollantaytambo Train Station at US$5.00/day.
It is important that you take common sense precautions when visiting Peru, just like in any major destination in the world, such as taking extra care of your belongings in public places or avoiding deserted places at night. The following are recommended as precautionary measures:
Secure electronic copies of your passport, airplane tickets and credit cards. Leave all your travel documents (passport, tickets, hotel vouchers etc) in the hotel safety deposit box and take only electronic copies with you.
Know the unsafe areas of the city/destination and avoid visiting them, especially at night. If you must exchange money, do so authorized money changers and exchange bureaus, or in banks. Avoid doing this in plain sight.It may not necessarily an immediate threat to you, but you should always be extra careful in crowded places such as busy avenues, airports, markets and tourist sites.
Try to learn a few key phrases in Spanish before you go, if not to help yourself get by, then at least to make the locals think you can speak the language and thus make you a more conscientious traveler who is careful and prepared.
With over 3,000 festivals, how many native dances shall there be?
It is recommended to buy a travel insurance to provide you general coverage in case of emergency or medical expenses, trip cancellation/interruption, lost tickets, baggage or damage, etc. This way, for any unforeseen event or circumstances, you have an insurance to fall back on.
Vaccinations and/or Medications
It is recommended that you take the proper measures to protect yourself, specially from mosquito bites, in order to prevent infection from, among other diseases, yellow fever (vaccination) and malaria (repellant and medication). Consult your doctor before traveling.
Potable water is limited in some areas. It is recommended to drink bottled water only and do not buy from street vendors or hawkers.
Conserved handicrafts, a living and thriving culture through centuries.
Weather/What to Wear
The Peruvian Coast is hot and sunny (northern area) or very humid (raw or damp, in Lima). Generally light comfortable clothing and footwear during the day and a light jacket for cooler nights.
At the Peruvian Andes, rainy season is between November and March, so best to bring water proof windbreaker or parkas. Temperatures drop dramatically at night, thus one should always prepare warmer clothes to layer. The Peruvian Jungle is hot, with a tropical climate, so we suggest light, (neutral-colored, khakis or forest green) cotton to wear; however certain times of the year, the jungle experiences “friaje” or cold front. It has daily temperatures averaging the 30°C and night temperatures could drop to cold 15°C so bring warmer clothes to layer. For more accurate information, please check your favorite destination weather website for forecast prior to travel.
High in the Peruvian Andes, a verdant valley cuts a pathway between the imperial Inca city of Cusco and the dramatic peaks that protect the citadel of Machu Picchu. This is the Sacred Valley of the Inca, once the heartland of the Inca Empire and still shrouded in the mysteries of their great civilization. Perched on a slope overlooking the valley floor, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba reflects the region’s Andean and Spanish-colonial influences, capturing the essence of a destination with many cultural layers.
Upon arrival at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, you might first be struck by the spectacular vistas—in a lodge where nearly every window shows a panoramic view of the Andes, it can be difficult to look away. Each excursion provides cultural insights into the storied Sacred Valley—opportunities to uncover the secrets of the Inca and the vibrant traditions of their descendants. ~ National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.
Bespoke Design, Owner’s Suite.Stay in a stunning countryside spanning 10 acres (4.05 has) at the property with 12 rooms including a three-room ‘Owners Suite’. Enjoy the panoramic views of the valley as well as the astounding Andes around you and be completely immersed in the overwhelming scenery. An additional 24 casitas will be opening the summer of 2015, offering a private and bespoke accommodation choice.
For your comfort, relax at exclusively designed custom made interiors and framed pre-Columbian textiles that accent the walls carefully picked by Denise Guislain-Koechlin, with help from her husband, Inkaterra’s founder and CEO Jose Koechlin.
Earth to Plate Experience. With the Inca history being so deeply engrained in the local region, it is no surprise that the new Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas takes inspiration from this ancient civilisation with 10 acres of farmland, the new hacienda uses some of the same methods that the Incas used centuries ago. The property is surrounded by an organic plantation, where you can pick your own produce from quinoa and artichokes to Urubamba giant corn. Guests are encouraged to get involved in the natural farming methods used to maintain the land, including ”tacllas” – a hand plough, pulled by an oxen.
Crops such as Quinoa, Potato and Corn are resilient, ideal for the Peruvian climates thanks to how the Incas farmed them all those years ago. At Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, they have recreated and solely use the traditional methods of the Incas to grow these crops.
They use tacllas, a foot plough, developed by traditional farmers to prepare the soil for planting by using human weight to turn up the ground.
Oxen and llamas are also used on the farm and they also only use traditional oxen carts, instead of modern farming such as machinery and tractors to transport crops, thus it’s low impact and zero carbon emision.
These farming methods have helped the lodge develop its exclusive ‘Earth to Plate’ concept, giving guests a completely unique taste and food experience.
Spotlight on Sustainability
The lodge works closely with the National Geographic-sponsored Inkaterra Asociación, a nonprofit organization that develops scientific, technological, and cultural research projects geared at managing and protecting the biodiversity and local communities of the Peruvian Andes. Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba purchases produce from the association’s Andean Farm Project, which has gardens in the nearby town of Huayoccari. Here, cutting-edge agro-ecological techniques are applied to the growth of organic produce and medicinal plants. The cultivation techniques were carefully selected for their ease of replication, with the initiative’s long-term objective being to establish an agricultural training center for local farming communities. – National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.
See this traditional farming at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba as part of your Inkaterra Experiences. Enjoy a range of in-house activities such as bird watching (over 30 species of birds on the grounds) and horseback riding. Excursions can also be taken to the surrounding areas to ensure you have a truly authentic Inkaterra holiday.
Why We Love This Lodge
Many visitors to Peru’s southern highlands treat the Sacred Valley as the road to Machu Picchu, and some bypass it altogether by boarding a train in Cusco bound for the legendary Inca citadel. Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba invites guests to stay awhile and soak up the spirit of the valley—an enigmatic place where ancient fortresses mark Inca-Spanish battlegrounds, traditional weaving still lives on in hillside hamlets, and the majesty of the surrounding mountains inspires awe in onlookers.
The lodge helps tell a different part of the Inca story: one of life in the empire’s heartland. Guests can spend time in local farming communities and attend spiritual services to hear Quechua, the language of the Inca; walk through the surrounding hills to see evidence of Inca agriculture and architecture; and sit on the lodge terrace to gaze at the same celestial bodies that inspired the building of Inca temples. Here, traces of the empire are everywhere, and Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba strives to help guests discover them. ~ National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World
Learn more about Peru by checking our blog posts Take a PERU DREAM TRIP by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975 with 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay – any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, contact us.
The Inkaterra Hacienda Urubama experience:
Sources: Inkaterra and National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. Photo credits: Inkaterra blog.
“Peru is often called the quintessential South American destination evoking images of Andean mountains, fabled lost cities, panpipe players, llamas and, of course, the ever-fashionable and functional poncho.” – Blue List, Lonely Planet.
High fashion inspired by Cusco. Photo via Visit Peru.
Peru is everything unexpected: from its vast sandy dunes and deserts all throughout its coasts, stunning uplands in the Andes home to the country’s greatest attraction: the Inca city of Machu Picchu and beyond the intimidating heights, the astounding lush jungles with meandering rivers and vast waterways, one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, the Amazon River and Basin.
Viewing Nazca Lines – “Candelabro” on the desert.
However, there’s more to Peru than Machu Picchu: this immense wealth of sights and experiences has its roots in one of the world’s richest heritages, with its fabulous archeological gems of six Pre-Inca civilizations, the monumental adobe temples and ruins along the desert coast and mysterious Nazca Lines which can only be viewed best from the sky. Enjoy city life in Spanish-influenced cosmopolitan capitals, with their colonial-era mansions, churches, monasteries, and museums.
Cindy Crawford selfie in Machu Picchu, photo via her Instagram.
Lima’s city center – UNESCO World Heritage Site -highlights include balconies & the Plaza de Armas.
LIMA – CULTURE, CRAFTS & CULINARY CAPITAL
Called Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings) by the Spanish conquerors, the capital city of Lima is much more than the gateway to Peru. With the country’s best museums – more than 20 of them, plus striking baroque and renaissance churches, colonial mansions and palaces, world-class restaurants and amazing shopping, Lima deserves more than a quick stopover.
DID YOU KNOW? You can also see Lima from the sky through paragliding! Photo via Visit Peru.
Visit remarkable cathedrals, cloisters and monasteries, appreciate some of Peru’s best archeological and art museums, and feel a sense of awe in the city’s elegant old colonial center.
Savor exquisite Peruvian cuisine in the “Gastronomy Capital of Latin America,” with varied influences from the coast, mountains and the Amazon.
Experience Lima’s incredibly varied shopping, from exclusive factory visits, to artisan and antique shops, souvenir and handicraft markets offering an endless selection of handmade alpaca clothes and accessories, silver jewelry and decorative pieces, pottery, colonial religious art and wood carvings.
SACRED VALLEY – VALLE SAGRADO – EXPERIENCE LIVING CULTURE
Sacred Valley of the Incas – Valle Sagrado, Urubamba.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas, home of the finest Inca sites offers a glorious beginning to your Cusco visit. The Valley’s sublime climate, overwhelmingly beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, colorful folk arts and crafts and warm, friendly local people all reflect the Peru that visitors travel thousands of miles to see. The valley is also a haven for eco sports adventure such as trekking, horseback riding, mountain biking and river rafting.
Ancient Incan sites: Maras Salt Mines & Moray Rice Terraces.
Start your Cusco discovery to acclimatize in glorious sunny weather, either before or after your Machu Picchu visit.
Perfect base to myriad activities in the Valley: visits to Inca ruins and archaeological sites and gourmet picnics.
Spectacular location for outdoor adventures such as horseback riding, mountain biking, river rafting or trekking.
Interactive and socially responsible excursion in a visit to a workshop or community of weavers, pottery, ceramics, among others.
MACHU PICCHU – THE ROYAL INCA RETREAT
Who wouldn’t want to visit Machu Picchu?
“Machu Picchu was… the favored country retreat for the royal family and Inca nobility.” – The New York Times
Machu Picchu Historical Reserve is a magical place that fascinates through its vast archaeological remains, geological formations, unique flora and fauna, and spectacular cloud forest. The most remarkable part of the reserve is the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, one of the world’s New Seven Wonders. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, is considered “the Garden of Eden” by Condé Nast Traveller where you will experience life at an exclusive royal Inca retreat for your stay.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner
Explore the wonder of Machu Picchu and discover the essence of a Royal Inca retreat.
Authentic barefoot luxury in whitewashed casitas and villas in a private 5 hectare Andean Garden of Eden, teeming with orchids and hummingbirds.
Visit the ancient Machu Picchu Citadel in company of a certified English-speaking guide, as well as other attractions in the Natural Reserve.
At Inkaterra Hotels, included in house excursions such as Bird Watching, Orchid walk, Tea Plantation Visit, Nature Talks, among others, offered on 12-acre grounds.
CUSCO -ENDURING FUSION OF INCA MYSTIQUE AND SPANISH SPLENDOR
Cusco, ancient capital of the Incan empire (that’s South America, folks).
Vibrant is the word which best describes Cusco, capital of the vast Inca Empire some six hundred years ago, now transformed as themost important colonial center in the Andes, an axis of exploration and favorite destination for today’s international traveler. Inkaterra La Casona Cusco, an exquisite 16th century colonialmansion, is an exquisite and exclusivemanor, carefully restored to retain its historical heritage. It offers guests contemporary luxury without sacrificing authenticity with the privacy and privilege experienced by those who once lived there.
Inti Raymi, Cusco’s foremost festival. Photo via Visit Peru.
Discover a four-century fusion of Spanish colonial and Inca culture, both in Cusco and at Inkaterra La Casona, Hot Listed Best New Hotel by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine U.S., U.K. and Travel+Leisure.
Enjoy contemporary luxury without sacrificing authenticity, in an exclusive privilege and privacy experienced by those who once lived at the fully restored 16th century manor.
Explore from Inkaterra La Casona, a destination as well as a hub from which to begin your discovery of the Andes, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu as well as Lake Titicaca.
Visit Cusco’s landmarks, impressive churches, museums, quaint neighborhoods, artisan workshops and other remarkable Incan archaeological sites.
Inkaterra La Casona, former Incan Royal residence & Peru’s conquerors’ quarters, now Cusco’s foremost luxury boutique hotel.
Suggested Itinerary in Brief:
Day 1 – Arrival in Lima; Overnight
Day 2 – Full Day in Lima
Half-Day City Tour – Peruvian Welcome Lunch; Rest of Afternoon Free
Day 3 – Lima – Cusco- Sacred Valley; Check in at hotel & Acclimatize
Day 4 – Full Day in Sacred Valley – Pisac & Ollantaytambo Tour
Day 5- Fully Day 2 Sacred Valley –Chinchero, Maras & Moray
Late afternoon – Train to Machu Picchu Pueblo – overnight;
Day 6- Full day in Machu Picchu; Overnight in Machu Picchu
Day 7 -After lunch, train ride to Cusco; Acclimatize; Overnight
Day 8 – Full Day Tour & Shopping in Cusco
Day 9 – Depart Cusco for Lima; Overnight Lima
Day 10 – Departure from Lima
For more information on Peru, check out our blogs on Peru. 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, contact us.
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!”
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.
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!
Coron: A birdwatching paradise!
Kayangan Lake Wedding & Coron Honeymoon.
Eco Friendly Escapade
Nature & Wildlife Photo Expiditions
In order to make the most of your visit and trip, you deserve to stay at least 4 Days & 3 Nights, no less!
“We saved an island…now we invite you to EXPLORE it.”
It was in 1974 when Gerry Ledesma, first visited Danjugan Island with some of his diving mates. Its thick limestone forests hosted many different kinds of birds and bats; its underwater was so clear with schools of fish and magnificent, intact coral reefs. Scuba diving became popular and most divers then were spear fishers—and at the end of each dive day, tall stories were told about the sharks seen —there were tigers in the outer reefs surrounding the island and white/black tipped in the nearby reefs– and the big fish that got away.
Photo credits Danjugan Island Facebook Page
The early 1980s saw the decline of scuba diving due to the economic crisis brought upon by the government’s mismanagement of the sugar industry that most of the divers in Negros depended on. 1984 was a bad year too for Danjugan Island as Maricalum Mining Corp (MMC) stopped operations and its displaced workers started destructive fishing with blasting caps and cyanide from MMC. The year also brought Typhoon Nitang that destroyed the shallow reefs of the island as well as in the entire foreshore of municipalities of Cauayan, Sipalay, and Hinobaan. The years of early to mid 90s emphasized the need for Danjugan’s conservation with episodes of logging and poaching and this finally provoked the offer to buy the island but Gerry didn’t have money. William Oliver, a British zoologist working on Negros endangered wildlife species, suggested contacting John Burton of the World Land Trust (WLT) whose thrust is the purchase of important biodiversity sites for conservation. Soon, a noted marine scientist from the UK, Sue Wells, came to visit and not long after, Peter Raines of Coral Cay Conservation (CCC). Then, an invitation to England for the launch of the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Project (PRRP) and within a month, a fund was transferred to PRRP for the down payment of Danjugan Island.
Danjugan Island Marine & Wildlife Camp led by Gerry Ledesma, PRRCFI founder. (right)
The Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PRRCFI) was established to manage and operate the PRRP, as well as the conservation program based on Danjugan Island that was expanded to include Southern Negros Occidental. Due to the ignorance of marine and wildlife conservation, the group piloted the 1st Youth Marine Camp in 1991 with their children and children of friends and relatives. The camp had pleasing results and children from the village of Bulata were included in the subsequent camps. Presently, the camps are conducted each summer as the Youth Marine and Wildlife Camp and with the Philippine Department of Education as the Danjugan Environment Education Project (DEEP).
Location & Biodiversity
Resting 3 kilometers southwest off the coast of Negros Occidental, Danjugan is a lush, 43-hectare island rich in marine and terrestrial biodiversity. This island, about 1.5 kilometers long and 0.5 kilometers at its widest point, has 5 lagoons and is covered with limestone forests providing asylum to many wildlife species that struggle to exist in the mainland.
Together with Sipalay City and the Municipality of Hinobaan, it forms the southern border of the province and is situated in the Sulu Sea, an important eco-region for marine biodiversity. The island’s surrounding reef is under the Danjugan Island Marine Reserve and Sanctuaries with three Special Management Areas or No Take Zones established in 2000 through Cauayan Municipal Ordinance 99-52.
Danjugan Island protects three major! marine ecosystems: sea grass, coral reefs and mangroves! Photo via Danjugan Facebook Page.
It holds an incredible biodiversity given its small size. At least 72 bird species have been recorded on the island, including a nesting pair of White- breasted Sea Eagles Heliatus leucogaster that have been breeding atop Typhoon Beach Camp since 1974 and Tabon scrub fowls Megapodius cumingi which are common around the island.
Danjugan Island “DEEP Camp”. Photo via Danjugan Facebook Page.
Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program
Increasing environmental awareness in the youth has been one of the major priorities of PRRCFI. The Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program (DEEP), funded by the Foundation of the Philippine Environment (FPE), endeavors to teach Biodiversity Conservation, Sustainable Development, Climate Change Issues and Values to teachers and elementary/highschool students of Cauayan, Sipalay and Hinobaan municipalities in Southern Negros. These are where the last remaining good coral reefs in Negros Occidental remain. DEEP attempts to inspire to teach students to be stewards of the environment.
Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program
The DEEP was implemented starting June 2011. In the two years that it was executed, it aimed to address the shortcomings of environment education by delivering modules on biodiversity, marine and terrestrial wildlife awareness, climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainability, and principles of responsible ecological stewardship to select public school teachers, students, barangay councils, and LGUs.
“We saved an island…now we invite you to EXPLORE it.”
Danjugan Island is now open on a limited capacity basis for visitors, to experience ecotourism at its purest: learn about the biodiversity within the area, its conservation efforts, eco-friendly facilities to include eco cabanas, solar powered electricity, communal served meals based on native cuisine and seasonally-available local produce and services offered by the locals within.
Make a difference and travel green to Danjugan!
You may also support its programs in environmental conservation and education when you visit. For more information and and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, contact us.