Ecotourism Philippines is working with communities in these provinces to create viable ecotourism projects that will eventually be listed under the brand. For inquiries on how you can help, contact Chen Reyes-Mencias at firstname.lastname@example.org. Partners are welcome to adopt a community that is currently in its journey towards self-sufficiency and empowerment. CSR initiatives are most welcome.
Palaui Island is located at the northeastern tip of Luzon, 642 kms. from Manila. It is blessed with several ecosystems that serve as venues for hiking, snorkelling, camping, photography and wildlife observation or birding. Recently declared by CNN as the 10th among top 100 beaches in the world, Palaui aims to be a model for community-based ecotourism development, a framework that is suitable for most protected areas in the country. Palaui is the benchmark for the other 21 sites under the project.
The San Jose marine protected area is know for its caves, underwater chimneys, swim holes and shallow coral gardens. The fisher folks who volunteer as stewards of this reef had been trained as Reef Rangers and can now facilitate snorkeling activities for visitors.
Portabaga Falls is knowns for a forest area where trained guides bring visitors to see age old trees and hidden waterfalls. It is located in the town of Sta. Praxedes, famous for its native crafts and weaving.
Taggat is a protected lagoon that is characterised by legendary rock formations, a long stretch of golden sandy beach, a small waterfalls and segrass meadows and coral gardens. Snorkeling activities are facilitated by certified Reef Rangers.
Cabicungan River is a major landmark in the town of Claveria. The river is many things to many people - source of food, transport lane, venue for recreation and as part of history and culture. The river will soon be the venue of paddling and cruising experiences.
San Salvador Island in the town of Masinloc is the birthplace of coastal resource management in Luzon. This is where community champions lobbied for stronger protection and active participation of local fisher folks in the management of marine sanctuaries. Known as the source of the sweetest mangoes in Luzon, San Salvador is proud of their culture of stewardship which they have successfully promoted to other communities in the country.
Panglit Island is known for the Yaha Mangrove Forest where new species of mangrove had been discovered. Among the shallow seagrass meadows are seahorses that may be seen by visitors who go snorkeling with trained Reef Rangers or snorkeling guides.
Hermana Menor Island boasts of outstanding coral cover and giant clams. The golden white beach was formed by coral reefs that fringe the island. The surrounding water is abundant with flying fish or locally called burador. Dolphin fish is also abundant during the season.
Dawey-dawey in Botolan is a river delta that has an old growth mangrove forest. Here members of the community provide paddling experiences. Part of the experience is to learn the many local fishing practices that may be seen during low tide when people glean and collect food from the river and tidal flat.
Buntod Reef is a shoal with a sand bar and a beautiful coral garden where "budyong" or helmet shells thrive. Seldom seen alive on the reef the presence of these shells provide delightful in-water experiences that are facilitated by trained Reef Rangers or snorkeling guides. Buntod is being managed by a group of fisher folks who are also involved in the rehabilitation of the mangrove forest on the island.
Tigbao is a small coastal barangay in Aroroy where mangroves thrive. Residents who are both farmers and fisher folks provide paddling tours in the mangroves and guided visits to their organic farms. A side trip to the centuries-old lighthouse is also worth considering after a day with nature.
Matalang-talang marine protected area in Aroroy is being cared for by a group of fisher folks who take turns patrolling and monitoring the well defined boundaries of the fish sanctuary. Trained as Reef Rangers these fisher folks facilitate snorkeling activities to visitors who wish to enjoy the wonders of the underwater environment.
The Pawa mangrove forest features a boardwalk that connects the barangay to the next. The mangrove is managed by a group of women who are also trained paddling guides. They take people on tours in the mangrove and provide meals.
Bojo River in the town of Aloguinsan is known for its emerald green water due to more than 100 springs that feed into it. Here visitors can experience the personalised service of paddling guides who are well versed in the river's history and ecology. A board walk winds up to the peak of a hill where one can see the beautiful river below.
Cambais Falls in Alegria is being cared for by two groups of farmers who are concerned about the integrity of the falls when tourist traffic was diverted to it upon the closure of a famous waterfalls in a nearby town. In order to control the impact the farmers decided to venture into micro enterprises and impose rules and protocols. Trained guides facilitate hiking activities while women cook food for the visitors.
Olango Island in Lapu-lapu City is a sanctuary for birds. Thousands of birds migrate to the island between December to February making it an ideal site for birding. The surrounding reefs however, also provide opportunities for in-water activities such as snorkeling and glass bottom boats tours. Trained reef rangers bring tourists from Mactan to explore the coral gardens and learn about the culture of the people on the island.
Siquijor is known as the land of enchantment and mystique due to the deep healing cultures, that unfortunately has been branded as something negative. The island however is not only blessed culturally but is also rich in natural heritage. The mangrove forest at the Guiwanon Eco-park was a result of years of involvement and vigilance of the community who rehabilited it. Today, the community plans to establish an Island Spa to capitalise on the healing culture of the people and to highlight the spring and the natural attributes of the mangrove forest.
Gorgeous Davao Oriental
Dahican Beach in Mati City is a long stretch of beautiful beach area that is the home of the Amihan Boys, a group of young surfers headed by Hero for Today awardee Jun Plaza. Jun taught the young boys how to surf and while hanging out on the beach discovered turtles nesting on a regular basis. Today the Amihan boys are stewards of the beach and the reef that serve as habitat for many charismatic mega fauna including dolphins, whale sharks an dugongs.
Tamisan in Mati City is known for Waniban Island. It is fringed by white sand beach, seagrass meadows, coral gardens and is blessed with crystal clear water. Dugongs are occasionally sighted here foraging in the seagrass.
Mantunao Eco-Park in Cateel is a highland destination that features several waterfalls hidden in the forests. A group of farmers are managing the area and are engaged in various enterprises including provision of accommodation and meals to visitors. Trained Trek Guides take guest hiking in established trails.
Banao in Bagangga is known for a group of fisher folks who provide paddling experiences in the salt water lake where mangroves, corals and seagrass grow side by side. Dubbed as "Three in One" the experience allows visitors to see a unique natural occurrence, even considered rare by scientists.
Luban is one of those well kept secrets that very few visitors have seen. It has an island that features hiking areas, paddling and snorkeling sites. Very rustic but beautiful this island is suitable for adventure seekers and trail blazers.
Photos on this page copyrighted by Chen Reyes-Mencias, Iona Lacson-Dy, Charisse Macalalag, Robert Francisco and DENR Region XI.