Ecotourism is a trend that is slowly picking up speed. Instead of merely attracting people to see the beauty of a place, ecotourism entices tourists to experience and nurture the said beauty. This is done through many ways, often by education and first-hand experience. This is the type of tourism that not only leaves you feeling refreshed and energized after your visit, but also gives you the feeling of fulfillment knowing you’ve learned something you can use, or you’ve contributed something to nature and society!
The good thing is you don’t have to go far to feel the magic of ecotourism. Here are some of the top ways you can experience it!
1. MAD Travel
“MAD” stands for “make a difference” and it’s the motto that drives MAD Travel forward. This company is bent on creating unique travel experiences that not only take the tourist away from the well-trodden paths, but also promote social tourism. Seeking to educate people from all over the world, they put the spotlight on the Philippines as a country that not only has beautiful sights but also one with a keen sense of social responsibility.
One of the topmost destinations of MAD is the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm in Bulacan and the GK Silver Heights Village in Caloocan. The company works closer with this NGO to make sure that each trip brings out the philanthropist in everyone! For those who prefer more traditional destinations, MAD also organizes treks through the rainforests of San Felipe and Zambales, as well as trips to Bohol, Cebu, and Aurora.
2. Romblon Plastic Library
Romblon is known as an environmentally-focused province, and perhaps the bulk of its efforts go to the Plastic Library located in the beautiful beach island of Cobrador. In case you were wondering, it isn’t a library that contains plastic decorations—it’s a full-size library building inside the island’s local elementary school, built almost entirely from plastic bottles!
I say almost, but the only parts not made of plastic bottles here are the foundations and the pillars, as well as the roof. The building was the brainchild of the Bayanihan Plastic Bottle Library Project. By visiting the building and aiding the project in any way they can, tourists not only see the amazing sands and waters of Cobrador but also help save the world while building more hubs of knowledge for children, one bottle at a time.
3. Bataan Pawikan Conservation Center
Turtles are known to be endangered creatures, and yet there are still so many poachers catching and killing their kind all year. Thankfully, there are places and organizations that help preserve the species. What’s even better is the fact that some of these conservation projects are great tourist spots, too! The Pawikan Conservation Center in Morong, Bataan is the perfect example.
Here, tourists are informed about the important aspects of turtle breeding and survival and they also get to watch turtles hatching and swimming out to sea! But if you can’t visit during hatching season, you can still learn a lot from the facility. Plus, there’s a child-friendly beach with fine gray sand! If you’re lucky, you can also see little turtles being nurtured before their release. It’s truly an eye-opening experience.
Pawikan Conservation Center can be found at Nagbalayong, Morong, Bataan.
4. Lio Estate
This Palawan destination is proof that it’s not just small groups who are getting involved in the ecotourism movement. And things are much better now that the big guns are pulling their weight, too. Lio Estate is owned and developed by Ayala Land, and aims to be a fully ecologically sustainable destination.
The estate, flanked by beautiful beaches and mountains, was made in such a way that it impacts the environment as little as possible, through sustainable energy schemes and recycling techniques. Lio also helps nurture the local area by forming a bond with the community. Here, hotels, resorts, the local community, and nature itself all coexist and thrive harmoniously.
This is a travel and tour agency that emphasizes the undersea beauty of Calatagan, Batangas. If you want to spend a fun day in the water while appreciating and learning more about marine life, this is your best bet. As a plus, you don’t have to go too far from the metro!
Calatagan is famous for its beach resorts. One of CalataGanda’s goals is also to shed light on the diversity and importance of the municipality’s marine ecosystem. Their marine ecosystem tour consists of a trip through mangroves, and a snorkeling session above coral reefs! The fee covers everything from the boat to the gear rental. If you want to go back to dry land, a part of the tour also takes you sandbar hopping and eating a buffet lunch in a floating house!
Ecotourism is really something that our country should be getting more into. Rampant commercialism has spoiled many of our natural resources, and yet the examples above prove that you do not need to exploit nature just to attract people. By nurturing our resources instead of expending them, we can get more people to enjoy the sights and activities as well as understand the importance of an ecologically-sustainable lifestyle. Bit by bit, this outlook could change the world.