I had one of the best summer outings in Coron, Palawan this year courtesy of De La Salle University. It was made more memorable not only because it was done with the Lasallian community, but also because the choice of locale was a great one and the trip to and from Coron was through To Go Travel. It was the closest to a cruise one can get in these islands.
I find it quite odd that—considering that we have more than 7,000 islands—we hardly have any cruise facilities available. But that is another story.
Coron as a destination is one of the best that Palawan, the last frontier, can offer. Pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, hidden lagoons, hot springs, mountain trails, among others, greet visitors to the place. What impressed me other than the sites was the organized way the community has put together activities to make the visit of tourists pleasurable. What is also noticeable is the care with which the local government, tour operators, and workers treat the destinations, knowing that doing so is beneficial to the stakeholders.
Of course, the tourist spots themselves must be protected from the onslaught of human presence and regular visits to give them a chance to be sustainable so that they can be enjoyed not only by this generation but by future generation as well. Hence, there is particular emphasis in protecting the sea, the coral reefs and other marine resources and eco-systems by managing tourist activities, limiting access to certain areas, and being mindful of garbage and other human refuse.
Among the key stakeholders are the tour operators and workers and the community at large, who benefit from the tourist spots as primary source of their income and livelihood. Taking care and looking after the natural resources they have access to ensure they can have continuing livelihood opportunities.
Another stakeholder group are the tourists themselves, both local and foreign, who get to experience rejuvenating and relaxing interaction with nature. Travel and tours are two activities people enjoy doing, but travellers and tourists should realize that they have responsibilities as well to help preserve the places they visit for other visitors and for future generations. It has been shown that tourists are the biggest bane to tourist spots principally due to their intrusive activities.
The main offense of tourists is the incessant throwing of garbage in eco-spots. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, suffers from the tons of garbage left by climbers and trekkers. Philippine authorities have closed Mt. Banahaw for more than 10 years now to allow it to recover following the grave abuse by its visitors.
The government, both local and national, is a significant stakeholder, and is expected to come up with laws and policies for the proper utilization of natural resources to ensure the continuity and preservation of these assets.
Since our tourism campaign is anchored on the slogan, “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” part of the fun experience should be to help ensure that our eco-tourism spots are developed in a sustainable manner for the enjoyment of this and the next generation.
The author teaches at the Decision Sciences and Innovation Department of the Ramon del V. Del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.