Palawan Ecotourism

Palawan Ecotourism Makes a Lasting Impact on Your Vacation in Palawan Island

Ecotourism focuses on socially responsible travel, personal growth, and environmental sustainability. Wikipedia

Palawan ecotourism brings you face to face with the real actors of community-based development, conservation, and tourism initiatives. The women, fisherfolks, farmers, indigenous people, and youths in the communities.

I used to work as a Community Organizer here in Palawan. A requires living with the people in the communities. I grew up in the suburbs in one of the major cities in Mindanao, the time when the hydro-electric plant there was working well. My mention of that means I just want to tell you that I don’t like it when there’s no light in the evening. The communities we work with don’t have electricity. Even then I find the job a worthwhile experience. It was my Palawan ecotourism in progress.

Living with people made me experience awesome moments. With our fast-paced city lives, virtual social networks, we don’t have much real community life anymore. It is time to re-experience them now and contribute to the preservation and conservation of our natural resources.

A Farmer/Fisherfolk in Sowangan, Quezon, Palawan finds this sunset an ordinary sight

This Is What It’s Like in the Communities

I like fishing but not sports fishing. I like to experience how it is to catch fish for dinner. And you really have to get one or there’s no dinner. Or pound the rice because if not, again, there’s no dinner. Challenges like that make one a bit wiser. To look for alternatives just to skip the hassle of drying and pounding rice. The cooking banana or Saba works for me. Until now, it is still my favorite. If there’s no catch, we open up a can of sardines and cook it with banana blossom or the very young banana leaves. The leaves tasted like cabbage.

And truly, planting rice is never fun. And so is harvesting, if you’re not careful you’ll be itching all over. But the thought that all of us depend so much on the farmers for our food, I must at least experience its difficulty.

On coconut harvesting? I stayed on the ground. They brought down some buko (young coconut) for me and sometimes some tuba (coconut wine). So it’s either I get so full drinking the fresh buko juice or get drunk with tuba with the coconut farmers. So then I’d be able to generate community concerns along the process. It’s called generative themes in the language of community organizing. In other terms, the “issues” that the people are wanting to solve but don’t have the capacity yet.

The Eco-Tourist That You Are

So are you one of the tourists that demands an alternative form of tourism? Experience reality TV of the SURVIVOR kind? The community immersion type of thing? Or, experience old-growth forest tours, help community people clean up their tourist sites, and/or share your expertise relevant to community development.

In Puerto Princesa City, the Palawan NGO Network, Inc. (PNNI) through its enterprise program PASYAR (to travel leisurely) and their member NGOs offer some of that alternative tourism. Pasyar, for one, showcases community efforts towards environmental protection like mangrove conservation, a marine sanctuary, and other developmental projects.

IDEAS (Institute for the Development of Educational and Ecological Alternatives, Inc.) on the other hand promotes Indigenous Knowledge and Practices on Health. Live with the people there and experience the healing powers of the five kinds of vegetables. Namely, leafy veggies, root crops, seeds and beans, sprouts, and fruit vegetables. Those and other community farming and or fishing activities.

PCART (Palawan Center for Appropriate Rural Technology, Inc.) does mostly the same as IDEAS in terms of health-related programs/projects. Read about PCART’s Loan Project in Port Barton Palawan.

Palawan ecotourism is all about interaction with the real actors of rural community development. Experience it. Live with them. Let the community-based tour guides tour you around their immediate environment. And, consider your expenses as your tax directly paid to the main stewards of nature. Because when the community folks stop producing and stop protecting our environment, we are screwed. WE must at least share some efforts of protecting our environment.

Support community-based eco-tourism. Tour through Palawan alternative tourism packages. It’s your chance to make a lasting impact in your life, to the communities, the environment, and to your offspring as well.