Local and foreign visitors in the province of Capiz instantly became volunteers to help in rehabilitating the ruined tourist destinations of the province and in easing the lives of affected residents.
Records from the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office (PTCAO) showed that since its launch on December 6, registered visitors came from Muntinlupa City, Davao City and some areas in Visayas. The records also included visitors from London, United Kingdom, and Hawaii, USA.
In exchange for their participation, up to 20-percent discount in hotel and restaurant rates would be given to interested individuals or groups, once registered through PTCAO.
Tindog Capiz (which literally means ‘Stand up, Capiz’), aims to encourage potential visitors—local and foreign tourists, employees of government and private companies, religious groups, and students—to help in rehabilitating some of the province’s ruined tourist sites and in easing the lives of the residents.
The provincial government, through PTCAO, came up with the said program after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the world’s most powerful cyclone on record, ravaged the province. It was then finalized in partnership with the Department of Tourism of Region VI.
Alphonsus Tesoro, PTCAO chief, told The Manila Times last week that this is their way of strengthening the spirit of volunteerism of Filipinos amidst the tragedy while spending vacation, hence the coined term “voluntourism.”
Activities include planting of mangroves and trees, coastal cleanups, rebuilding efforts in ruined areas, feeding programs and livelihood training for affected residents, among others.
PTCAO envisions that in one year, the campaign will reach a higher paradigm, where the so-called responsible tourism—including the conservation of the natural, cultural and heritage assets, promoting sectoral development and welfare of children, etc.—is already promoted and sustained.
Several tourist destinations of the province were damaged by the powerful typhoon. Most of them were river tours managed by locals, centuries-old churches and buildings, and pilgrimage sites.
So far, the province has lost about P3.7 billion in infrastructure, P1.03 billion in agriculture and P676 million in fisheries because of Yolanda.