Posted by: ecodestination | January 28, 2009

Ecotourism in the Philippines?

The Philippines, where almost 26 million people (30%) currently live in poverty, has been brewing up big, green plans to help boost its economy. Its goals are to instill socially and environmentally responsible, ecologically sustainable, and community-friendly methods and projects to create more jobs and draw in tourism.

As Ecotourism Philippines tells us, the following statement by the National Ecotourism Congress in Bohol got the ball rolling: “The State shall develop and promote ecotourism as a tool for sustainable development to support the development, management, protection and conservation of the country’s environment, natural resources and cultural heritage. The state shall establish an integrating system to focus greater efforts to sustain the viability of ecotourism development in the country.”

The Philippines provides many options for eco activities: trekking/hiking/mountaineering, bird and other wildlife watching, diving and snorkeling, caving, kayaking/canoeing/rafting, and surfing.

By exploring the jungles you will find the kinds of tribesmen you see on National Geographic documentaries, waterfalls, cliffs, pure forests-a lot of unharmed nature lays in the Philippines. For example, Lake Danao in Leyte has been “the cleanest body of water” in the area for three years now.

Another example is Olango Island (located 5 km. east of Mactan Island) becomes the home of thousands of migratory birds from February to April each year. The Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary is a 920-hectare area composed of “extensive coralline sandflats, mangroves, seagrass beds, and offshore coral reefs.” It’s a universally recognized wetland known for its unique faunal and floral biodiversity.

And as far as eco hotels in the Philippines, I found a few. Many participate in green activities, but not many are green themselves, offering constant AC and other traditional amenities.

One that I found is located in Manila, Edsa Shangri-la Manila, but only got 2 out of 5 eco-friendly branches ($169+). It is the only eco hotel listed in Green Travel Hub. A high-end, eco-hotel is Cacao Pearl Island in Palawan.

Another place to search for travel ideas, packages, and hotels is Responsible Travel.

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