Thursday, July 03, 2008

Eco-Tourism in the Philippines

The Philippines is a beautiful country. or at least that's how I wish it would be. We still have undiscovered beaches, and virgin forests, and spectacular marine life in some uninhabited area. But, maybe due to development and the need to address poverty, our natural resources suffer as a consequence. Yes, we do attract tourists and our economy grows simultaneously with it. But we should be able to realize that these tourists are attracted more to the natural set up of the place rather than the presence of commercial spaces that sprout because of the influx of visitors. If we continue to permit the alteration of the environment, will we still attract those who originally wish to come?

By being advocates of ecotourism, the Philippines may be able to sustain its economic growth and protect its natural resources. This way we are able to encourage people to come back because what we have now will still be here in the future. We Filipinos should remember that eco-tourism generates gainful work which acts like a catalyst. Let me explain this. Take for instance the case of Coron in Palawan. The famed Kayangan mountain-lake is visited because it showcases a beautiful body of water that is set atop a hill. It is well maintained by the indigenous tribe that inhabit the area. Even they themselves are part of the attraction. To get to the Lake, one has to take a boat. To enjoy the lake is to stay there and pay the entrance fee. Not just that, one has to stay at the coron town in one of the inns around. You have to eat there, sleep there, and buy from the market area.

Coron is made up mostly of soil that is hardly tillable. Thus, farm crops are limited to mostly the cashew trees that can withstand the stony earth. The town relies mostly on the influx of tourists. Without them, Coron would hardly thrive. Imagine if the natural resources of this Island and town are depleted. I can only picture the worst scenario.

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