The Emerging Ecotourism in The Philippines for Your Alternative Travel Experience!
Ecotourism is an increasingly popular way to explore the world while making a positive impact on the environment. More than just a laid-back or party beach destination, the Philippines is one of the leading ASEAN countries for those looking for an alternative that is both a form of sustainable tourism and an exciting experience.
From pristine beaches to lush rainforests, the Philippines offers a variety of unique experiences that you have to explore once in your lifetime. Lub d comes up with a guide for the best ecotourism destinations in the Philippines, tips that ensure you will make the most of your adventure!
What is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is a form of tourism that focuses on responsible travel and sustainability. It encourages travelers to visit natural areas and learn about the environment and local culture. Additionally, sustainable tourism aims to minimize the negative impacts of the traditional tourism industry on the environment while maximizing the positive economic and social benefits for local communities.
The main activities of ecotourism practices typically include wildlife viewing, national park visiting, hiking, camping, and kayaking while ensuring the balance between the conservation of natural resources, community development, and economic growth.
Ecotourism in The Philippines
Being one of the world’s 18 countries with a multitude of biodiversity and is home to 70-80% of the world’s plant and animal species, The Philippines has been expediting its ecotourism and environmental awareness.
The nation also boasts 15.8 million hectares of tropical forests and diverse geography, including perfectly shaped volcanoes and emerald-green islands with new species discovered in the country annually.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has taken steps to reduce the ecological impact of tourism by launching an ecotourism tracking tool (ETT), which assesses sustainability in resorts, natural parks, villages, and other tourism sites across the country.
Various regions of the Philippines have already established themselves as emerging centers for ecotourism, implementing policies that change how locals perceive tourism. From Batanes to Palawan and beyond, the country is actively practicing ecotourism.
Eco Tourism Sites in The Philippines That You Must Visit Natural Sites and Protected Areas
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
The Tubbataha Reefs in the Philippines are renowned as one of the world’s finest diving spots. The reefs are home to hundreds of rare and exotic sea marines and birds, hawksbills, and green sea turtles.
In 1993, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Due to its remote location, the journey takes 10-12 hours to get there, and the site is only available from mid-March to mid-June. Despite the complication of traveling, the experience will definitely be worthwhile!
Cuatro Islas Protected Areas
Cuatro Islas, located in the western part of Leyte, is a collection of islands and a conservation area with stunning white-sand beaches and vibrant coral gardens. These islands, which are aptly named ‘Four Islands’, are Apid, Digyo, Himokilan, and Mahaba, each with its own unique characteristics.
The marine ecosystem surrounding the islands is diverse and flourishing, making Cuatro Islas a prime destination for recreational diving. The responsible maintenance of the environment contributes to the development of Cuatro Islas as a top diving location, providing tourists with the opportunity to observe and interact with the diverse marine sanctuary.
The Biri-Larosa Protected Landscape/Seascape is a stunning natural wonder situated in Northern Samar, renowned for its magnificent rock formations and picturesque vistas. The region boasts seven enormous rock formations: Magasang, Magsapad, Macadlaw, Puhunan, Bel-at, Caranas, and Pinanahawan.
It’s thought these structures were shaped by the movements of tectonic plates and the constant pounding of waves over time. Adventurers will love this place, with its natural saltwater pools to swim in and all the wildlife and marine species to meet.
Cultural and Historical Heritage Sites
Batad is a small village located in Ifugao province’s Banaue region in the Philippines. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in ’95. Batad is where you can find ancient rice terraces that were carved by hand by farmers over 2000 years ago as part of their agricultural practice.
Visitors to Batad can stay in one of the village’s homestays and learn about Batad’s culture and history. They also have the option of hiring a local guide to explore and trek through the rice terraces. In addition to the rice terraces, popular tourist destinations in Batad include the Tappiya Falls and the Awa View Deck located up in the mountains.
Lake Sebu spans an area of 354 hectares and has 11 small islands. It is a very popular eco-cultural destination in the Philippines, having been nominated for the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations award in 2016, along with Lake Holon in North Cotabato.
While Lake Sebu is undoubtedly picturesque and serene, it also boasts several protected wildlife species and natural wonders, including three lakes, seven waterfalls, and a rainforest. Additionally, guests can immerse themselves in the local culture by engaging with the indigenous tribes in the area, such as the T’Boli, Ubo, Tiruray, and Manobo. A must-try activity is learning their traditional arts and crafts, such as the making of t’nalak weaves and brassware.
Eco-Friendly And Ecotourism Activities
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2012, has become a hugely popular tourist destination in Palawan. To get to the park from the city center, visitors need to travel approximately 80 kilometers north to the town of Sabang. Once there, they can access the Underground River by boat or hiking.
Tourists can take a trip along the 8 kilometer river, one of the longest navigable river caves in the world. The tour is guided by a small paddle boat and explores a cave boasting amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Apo Reef Snorkel
Don’t miss out on visiting Apo Reef Natural Park, especially divers. It is the second largest contiguous reef in the world, with a length of over 600 kilometers, falling short of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The park is a sprawling 17 square miles of untouched waters, boasting three islands as part of its geography.
Paddle Through Hundred Islands
With over 7000 islands, visiting the Hundred Island National Park is a fantastic way to make the most of your trip to the Philippines.
The park consists of 123 islands, some of which are just large rocks and others have unique mushroom-shaped tops due to years of erosion. Kayaking is the ideal way to explore these impressive formations, but visitors should bring their own food and water since only a few of the islands are populated.
Explore Through The Mangroves
Bakhawan Eco Park is a large forest area spanning 543 acres that were created through a mangrove reforestation initiative in the late 1980s. It was initially only 123 acres but has since expanded.
The park, whose name means “mangrove” in the local language (Aklanon), is home to more than 20 different types of mangroves, as well as a wide variety of birds and marine life. Guests can stroll along a short bamboo boardwalk that winds through the forest to reach a lagoon where the Kailbo River meets the Sibuyan Sea.
Discover Active Volcanoes
The Philippines boasts a large number of volcanoes – with around 300 being dormant and 25 active. Despite this, the volcanoes are regularly monitored to ensure safety. It’s recommended to check with local guides or tourism offices before setting out on any volcano explorations.
Mount Pinatubo is situated just a few hours from Manila and is a popular day-trip destination for hikers. Despite causing widespread damage during its last eruption in 1991, it now offers stunning views of its crater lake (swimming is prohibited due to high sulfur levels) and the moon-like lahar canyon, formed from volcanic debris flow.
Visitors will enjoy a thrilling jeep ride before hiking to the crater. Be sure to bring a scarf or mask as the drive and winds can be dusty.
Iloilo City Carbon Offset Tour
The Iloilo City Carbon Offset Tour offers an adventure that showcases the top attractions in Iloilo, such as the renowned heritage street, Calle Real, while simultaneously counterbalancing the carbon emissions generated during the journey.
Iloilo City, celebrated for its abundant cultural history and scenic landscapes, serves as a perfect location for carbon offset tours. These excursions enable tourists to discover the region while reducing their environmental footprint.
Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort, Palawan
The resort’s sustainable design includes preserving the natural terrain and vegetation during construction. Being off-grid necessitated a sustainable electricity source, leading the resort to become a founding member of the Zero Carbon Resorts project, which started in 2010 and was funded by the EU.
The project’s 3R approach – Reduce, Replace, and Redesign – was implemented to decrease the resort’s carbon footprint as close to zero as possible. The resort utilized eco-friendly practices, such as solar and heat exchange technology, redesigned villas for better natural ventilation, and installed energy-efficient air-conditioners and lights.
Amarela Resort, Bohol
Amarela Resort employs solar panel systems on their rooftops to keep the air carbon-free, although it may take some time for the showers to heat up.
The resort aims to minimize energy usage, and pollution, and maximize resource reuse and recycling to maintain a low environmental impact.
To reduce food waste, the restaurant collects leftovers and donates them to farmers in exchange for a roast pig to be served at the staff Christmas party. The resort also uses ceramic soap dispensers made by local artisans, eliminating the need for disposable shampoo sachets and soap bottles.
The Circle Hostel
The Circle Hostel is a place to stay in San Juan, La Union that is environmentally friendly. This coastal province is situated in the northern area of the Luzon region and is known as the “Surfing Capital of the North” because it has consistent waves all year round.
Additionally, it is a well-liked destination for weekend getaways since it is 270 kilometers away from Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.
Bohol Coco Farm
The Bohol Coco Farm Hostel is managed by a family from the local community, who employ other locals to work on their 2.5-hectare property. The atmosphere at the hostel is laid-back and amiable, allowing guests to socialize in the common area, which also doubles as the reception and dining area.
Guests can take some time out in the hammocks and get a complimentary organic breakfast with coconut dishes. Furthermore, the hostel offers guided tours to some of the island’s top eco-adventures. Shared dorms are available if you’re on a budget – they start at £5 a night. Private huts will give you that extra something, £15 or more a night.
How Can My Trip Be Greener?
Embarking on an eco-friendly adventure is an excellent way to minimize your environmental impact. There are several simple steps you can take to make your journey more sustainable.
Begin by considering environmentally friendly transportation options, such as public transit, carpooling, or cycling. Moreover, search for eco-conscious accommodations like green hotels or eco-hostels to further support sustainability.
While traveling, make an effort to buy goods and services from local businesses to support the community’s economy. When packing for your trip, remember to include reusable items like water bottles, bags, and utensils. By adhering to these suggestions, you can effectively reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to the preservation of our planet’s environment.
Lub d Makati As A Base For Island Hopping Experience
Lub d Makati is a great base for an island hopping experience due to its convenient location in the heart of the Philippine capital. It is just a short drive from the city center to the nearby coastal areas and islands, making it easy to explore the many attractions the region has to offer.
From the stunning beaches of Boracay to the lush green forests of Palawan, Lub d Makati has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventurous escape, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. From snorkeling and scuba diving to kayaking and hiking, you can make the most of your island hopping experience from this convenient location.