In celebration of ecotourism month in the northern Philippines province of Davao del Norte, MyNatour wanted to acknowledge the excellent efforts of the National Greening Program, and highlight some of the progress made towards a strong Philippines ecotourism industry. (Read more about the ecotourism month)
National Greening Program
Under the guidance of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the Philippines are striving to re-green approximately 1.5 billion hectares of the country's depleting forests by planting roughly 1.5 billion trees by 2016. The program is operating throughout the Philippines, and demonstrates the nation's commitment to combating the effects of climate change and global warming. The National Greening Program is also playing a fundamental role in community-based environmental and tourism initiatives, such as Davao del Norte's Dacudao Ecotourism Park.
Dakudao Ecotourism Park
Spanning eighteen hectares of land in San Isidro town, Dacudao Ecotourism Park is an example of what can be done when the government is able to mobilise local communities and provide access to resources and opportunities. Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario launched the ecotourism park in order to "showcase community-based ecological conservation and sustainable ecotourism".
The park features the Kabyawan Cave, Datu Kugsing Cave, Sayaw Bat Cave, and the Tugtuganan Falls, many of which can be explored on an ecotour with the Davao Speleological and Conservation Society, who began leading ecotours to the caves and local farms this year.
There's no better way to see a place than to have a local as your guide, and in Boracay, that would be Urban Adventures. With two tours on offer, you can escape the tourists and spend the day off the beaten track, visiting secluded beaches, local communities, and even get an inside look at the Municipal Recycling Facility. Why is that interesting? Well, because it shows you how the island manages the heavy impact tourism has there, and provides you with knowledge on how to minimise your environmental impact when travelling not only in the Philippines, but elsewhere in the world. A tour operator that teaches responsible tourism? Can't get much better than that.
For some of the best of ecotourism in the Philippines, head out to the beautiful little islands of Cebu and Palawan provinces, where you can island hop to your heart's content. You could take an ecotour of Olango island that includes a visit to the protected site of Olango Wildlife Sanctuary, snorkelling, and some fresh coconut in the Coconut Village, all facilitated by local guides, or head to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and longest navigable underground river in the world. The Underground River Tour takes you through 1.5 kilometres of the 8.2 kilometre trail, guided along in a canoe.
If you'd prefer to stay above ground, Palawan's Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour will take you through charming islands like Starfish Island, aptly named, with crystalline waters filled with beautiful starfish.
For a cultural experience, Cebu's Jungle Restaurant and Entertainment Centre showcases three integral parts of Filipino culture - song, dance, and food - in an evening performance and feast that will impress and delight you. The songs and dances all represent folklore and stories from Filipino history, and the vibrant, unique costumes complete the experience.
Ecotourism in the Philippines
Now is an exciting time for the Philippines, as ecotourism, responsible and local travel, and community-based tourism initiatives are becoming more prevalent. As this month of ecotourism celebration draws to a close, the people of the Philippines, both at a government and community level, are eagerly anticipating what the future will bring for ecotourism in the Philippines.