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Sustainable ecotourism in Cebu’s midwest pushed

| by: Cris Lanie Delos Reyes

Ecotourism is now building a buzz in the diverse provinces of the country where deposits of natural resources are abundant.

Since Cebu has a bunch to offer when it comes to tourism, it has become one of the top destinations for foreign and local travelers.

_MG_9857With that, Governor Hilario P. Davide III and the Cebu Provincial Government want to highlight the strength of the natural areas of the province as well as keep its original state.

Representatives, tourism officers and private sector members from eight towns midwest of Cebu gathered for a four-day Ecotourism Management Planning Workshop for Midwest Cebu initiated by the Cebu Provincial Government through its Investment and Promotions Office held at Batong Malunhaw Beach Resort, Alegria last Oct. 4-8.

Aloguinsan, Barili, Pinamungajan, Balamban, Asturias, Tuburan, Tabuelan and Toledo City comprise Midwest Cebu.

The planning workshop aims to develop and enhance community-driven ecotourism and build resilient destination sites using the principles of authenticity, creativity and sustainability.

_MG_9880According to the Ecotourism International Society, ecotourism is universally defined as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of the local people.

One of the speakers during the activity, Myrissa Lepiten-Tabao, manager of Visayas Regional Unit of the Foundation for the Philippine Environment, promotes the genuine sense of ecotourism which she defines as being able to enjoy, learn and come to a better knowledge about the place but does not alter the natural ecosystem.

The activity was anchored on building sustainable and resilient communities that align with three of the key development agenda of the province, including countryside development, environmental protection and infrastructure development and private sector cooperation.

The goal to build ecotourism facility using modern but environmental-friendly innovation is what environment architect and green design professional Joy Martinez-Onozawa introduced to the delegates, especially to the private sector.

_MG_9890“Let us design and build according to what we have. We have bountiful deposits of natural resources that promote conservation like our rattan, bamboo trees, and even our very soil,” Onozawa said.

Meanwhile, the birthing concept of having an integrated ecotourism tour package in the midwest is one of the most important points that the activity has formulated.

“We at Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association or Baetas is very happy about this project. We hope that it will push through so that Midwest Cebu can be an example of what ecotourism should look like,” Rudney Carcuevas, president of Baetas said.

Other resource speakers include Atty. Benjamin Cabrido who talked about zoning in protected areas and application of environmental laws, landscape architect Socorro Atega on visitor site planning, Atty. Maria Jane Paredes and Lourdes Gocotano on digital and wireless innovations in tourism, and Joselito Costas, consultant of IPC, on visitor management, interpretation and revenue generation.