The celebration of World Wetlands Day is an ideal venue for communicating this year’s theme Wetland Tourism: A Great Experience. In partnership with the College of Human Ecology of the University of the Philippines – Los Baños, thru its Department of Social Development and Services, the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Inc. (SCPW) celebrated the World Wetlands Day around the concept of Wetlands Caravan, the evolving CEPA Programme of SCPW for wetland conservation. more about Wetlands Caravan >>
The Wetlands Caravan in Laguna aimed to promote wetland conservation and protection, highlight sustainable wetland tourism, and feature best management practices in eco-tourism programs in the province. The celebration has three components: a Wetlands Forum, the Viaje Kalikasan, and the Community Leaders Forum.
Wetlands Forum: Launching of Wetlands Caravan in Laguna
To launch the Wetlands Caravan in Laguna, a Wetlands Forum was held on 02 February 2012 at the CHE Research and Extension Center of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna. The event was attended by college students of the University of the Philippines – Los Baños.
Taking turns in sharing knowledge about wetlands and tourism were Dr. Filiberto A. Pollisco, Jr. of the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity; Ms. Amy M. Lecciones of the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands; and Director Juliet Villegas of the National Parks Development Committee.
Viaje Kalikasan: Kabataan, Kalikasan, Kalinangan sa Turismo
The Civic Welfare Training Service students of the University of the Philippines – Los Baños had an educational tour exchange with the members of the CLEAR Youth Network (CYN) in San Pablo City. The same educational tour exchange was conducted with the CYN members in Lumban and Pangil. The tour exchange were done in all Saturdays during the period of 02 February to 14 March 2012 in San Pablo City and the towns of Los Baños, Lumban and Pangil in Laguna.
The Viaje Kalikasan aimed to increase the awareness of the youth on the importance of wetlands and promote appreciation of its functions. It was also a good opportunity for the youth to exchange ideas, practices and activities on lake conservation by doing actual visits and observation in various tourism sites.
CLEAR (Conservation of Laguna de Bay’s Environment and Resources) is a tripartite partnership of Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Inc. (non-government organization), Laguna Lake Development Authority (government agency) and Unilever – Philippines (business corporation).
Community Leaders Forum
Sustainable Wetlands Tourism: The Laguna Experience
As a culminating activity of the Wetlands Caravan, a Forum on Sustainable Wetland Tourism in Laguna was held for the Community Leaders of the province. The forum, which was held on 14 March 2012 at the ERDB Auditorium in Los Baños, Laguna, was attended by local government officials, tourism and development planning officers, representatives from the business sector, academe and civil society. It aimed to, among others, create awareness among the local government units and all sectors of society on how they can incorporate the concept of sustainability within the context of eco-tourism.
Various topics were discussed by the following resource persons –
1. Dr. Donna Reyes of the Environmental Studies Institute laid down the context of the forum by talking about “Wetlands Tourism”
2. Dr. Lope Calanog of Ecosystems Research Development Bureau, on “Tourism and Carrying Capacity of Mt. Banahaw- San Cristobal Protected Landscape”
3. Dr. Joselito Baril of the University of the Philippines – Los Baños, on “The Role of Academe in Wetlands Eco-tourism”
4. Mr. Ricardo Sandalo of the Human Ecology Institute of the Philippines, on “Developing a Sustainable Wetlands Eco-tourism Vision and Concept: Synthesis”
5. Ms. Dolora Nepomuceno, the Assistant General Manager of Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), who discussed the Draft Eco-tourism framework as well as the existing LLDA projects that are related to eco-tourism.