The North Vista

Eco-tourism on the rise in Hundred Islands

 

By @SiRVis

A travel journal that will give you a pleasant view of people, places, food, culture, history and events from a refreshing perspective

THERE is a rising trend in sustainable tourism in the Philippines. It is an offshoot of the higher demand for eco-tourism as environmental awareness increases and the tourists’ penchant for “close to nature” or “the road less traveled” adventure grows. Tourists are now conscious about not leaving carbon footprints behind as they travel. In fact, the UN World Tourism Organization has designated 2017 as the “international year of sustainability tourism for development.” As defined by the UN WTO, sustainable tourism is taking “full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”. Sustainable tourism or eco-tourism’s growing popularity comes with the “feel good” factor of giving back.

In Hundred Island National Park, Alaminos City, eco-tourism is significantly rising. A very popular summer spot in Pangasinan, HINP is now being known as an eco-adventure destination for the whole year round.

Paraws

You could now experience an eco-friendly island-hopping adventure in the Hundred Islands via the paraw.  Paraw is a Pangasinan word for sailboat. Paraws which are non-motorized and won’t pollute the sea and air, will be a regular sight at the islands not just near the Lucap Wharf. More or less 50 paraws will be hauled to the islands to be used for island-hopping, fishing and paraw sailing. This is in preparation of the World Tourism Month on September 2017 as well as a prelude to the 2nd Hundred Islands Paraw Festival celebration next year. A school for “paraw sailing” will soon be established as Hundred Islands is envisioned to be the paraw sailing capital of the Philippines according to Information Officer IV Toots Orfinada of the Alaminos City Tourism. Rental rate for a maximum of 2 passengers is P150 for 30 minutes and P250 for a hour. A “Sumakay na sa Paraw Dance” was even conceptualized for the promotion of the paraw. Hopefully, this would be viral in social media soon!

The Pilgrimage island

The Pilgrimage island which features the 56-ft statue of Christ the Savior is now adorned with landscaped flowering bushes. At the top, one can contemplate and be one with nature as you will enjoy the fresh air and breathtaking view of the sea and the islands. The beautification and concreting of the island is a product of Alaminians’ community service dubbed “Bayanihang Alaminians sa Pilgrimage Island.” Spearheaded by Mayor Arthur F. Celeste, it is an act of unity through labor of love which brought together the efforts of the local and national government officials, private entrepreneurs, civic organizations, schools, students, city folks, the PNP and even drug surrenderees.

Bird Watching

Hundred Islands is mentioned in the book Birdwatching in the Philippines as one of 13 best bird watching sites in the Philippines. It was launched at the World Trade Mart in London a few years ago. The Philippines hosts some 600 bird species, 200 of them endemic or found only in the Philippines. Fifty-seven species of birds were identified in Hundred Islands which is comprised of eight (8) endemic species, one 1 near-endemic species, 36 resident species and 12 migrant species. Two of these bird species, the Philippine Duck Anas luzonica and the Java Sparrow Lonchura oryzivora were classified as Vulnerable under the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The area with the most number of species was the Pandan- Camantiles Island Wetlands followed by Century, Governor and Monkey islands.

More sustainable tourism activities in HINP to be featured in the next issue!

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