With the temporary closure of the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the public may consider visiting other local ecotourism sites in the country for relaxation.
“Those living in nearby provinces who wish to rejuvenate their minds and bodies need not go to Manila just to see the dolomite beach. There are many ecotourism sites available in your localities for your enjoyment,” Cimatu said, as he encouraged the public to explore and discover these areas.
According to Cimatu, there are equally captivating ecotourism sites located in protected areas (PAs) established under the National Integrated Protected Areas System through Republic Act (RA) 7586, as amended by RA 11038 or the Expanded NIPAS Act of 2018.
The DENR chief reiterated that “health protocols must be observed while visiting these sites to ensure the safety of the visitors while enjoying the tours.”
“Those visiting PAs should expect to undergo the screening process and adhere to existing COVID-19 safety guidelines,” Cimatu added.
PAs are managed by their respective Protected Area Management Boards (PAMB) through the PA Management Offices (PAMO).
The rules and regulations issued by the concerned local government units for the safety of the tourists are also implemented in ecotourism sites within the PAs.
With the enactment of RA 11038, 94 protected areas (PAs) were added to the roster of legislated PAs, bringing the number to a total of 107.
This means prospective travelers have “a vast array of places to choose from,” according to the DENR chief.
In September and October 2021, the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), United Nations Development Fund-Biodiversity Finance Project (BIOFIN), and Department of Tourism have conducted a three-part webinar series dubbed “Ecotourism in Protected Areas: Towards Green Recovery.”
The webinar discussed the impacts of the global pandemic on ecotourism, lessons on post-pandemic ecotourism recovery strategies, and how to encourage the participants to be responsible travelers.
DENR-BMB Director Datu Tungko Saikol also invited the public to join the “Virtual Travels to Protected Areas,” a video contest for travelers of legal age and residing in the Philippines.
The contest aims to generate content featuring the country’s PAs. The deadline for submission of entries is on November 30, 2021.
“After two years of being confined in the comfort of our homes and localities, we can take this opportunity to explore nearby protected areas and capture their beauty and values through videos,” Saikol said.
“Hopefully, the videos from the contest will encourage the viewers to visit our country’s PAs and help our tourism sector recuperate,” he added.
The winners of the contest will each receive an all-expense-paid trip to selected PAs in the country.
For more information on the contest, details are posted on the DENR-BMB website at bmb.gov.ph/index.php/virtual-travels-to-protected-areas-video-contest.