05 June 2017

Importance of environment in tourism stressed in Subic forum

Senator Cynthia Villar and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Wilma Eisma both expounded on the importance of protecting the environment to sustain the growth of the tourism industry in the country, as the three-day 2017 Subic Ecotourism Festival opened here on Monday at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center.

The two women leaders told festival participants that tourism cannot be sustained without caring for the environment, and that sustainable development needs commitment from the people.

According to Villar, protection of the environment is at the heart of sustainable tourism. Without environmental preservation and protection, tourism is not sustainable.

She cited her project, the Las PiƱas-Zapote River Rehabilitation Program, which gave birth to several livelihood projects where water lilies, plastics and other used materials that clogged rivers were turned into handicrafts pieces and even furniture.

Meanwhile, SBMA Administrator Eisma recalled how the more than 8,000 volunteers of the Subic Bay Freeport cleaned up and safeguarded the former Subic Naval Base after the US Navy left in 1992.

Calling them heroes of local ecotourism, Eisma said the volunteers showed their “malasakit” (caring) and “kusang-loob” (initiative) without being paid for their work, thus helping in transforming Subic into what it is today.

She said that malasakit and kusang-loob are the benchmark of ecotourism in Subic Freeport. Like when you put your foot forward without expecting any in return, because at the end of the day, this is your home.

The 2017 Subic Ecotourism Festival was organized by Subic International School for Sustainable Tourism headed by Dr. Mina Gabor, in celebration of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

Clockwise from top: [1] Dr. Mina Gabor, president of the Subic-based International School of Sustainable Tourism, sounds a native gong to formally open the 2017 Ecotourism Festival at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center; [2] SBMA Administrator Wilma T. Eisma welcomes participants to the 2017 Ecotourism Festival; [3] SBMA Administrator Wilma T. Eisma chats with Senator Cynthia Villar during the opening of the 2017 Ecotourism Festival at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)