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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, October 12, 2017
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More eco-tourism
sites eyed in Sagay

More community-led eco-tourism sites are eyed to be established in Sagay City, Negros Occidental, to help empower various communities through enterprises and tourism, Information and Tourism head Helen Cutillar said.

Cutillar said in an interview Monday that the city government is being encouraged to help more communities in the city, making their own Suyac Island as a benchmark to this kind of community-led and sustainable eco-tourism.

“We are working to help more people by engaging in this type of tourism activities,” she said.

Suyac Island in Brgy.Taba-ao was recently hailed as champion of Best Practices in the Community-based Responsible Tourism Category at the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines and the Department of Tourism's Pearl Awards this year.

This is the second time that the community got the award and Cutillar said this is a proof that community-based eco-tourism has the power to transform communities and help them improve their situation.

“The people of Suyac became champions of the environment and the community through this project where they got to protect it and promote it as well,” Cutillar said, adding that the process of community development took time until they opened the island to tourists.

Suyac is part of one of the Old Sagay- Suyac-Carbin Reef tourism loops of Sagaythat is situated in the Sagay Marine Reserve, the largest marine reserve in the country that is about 32,000 hectares wide.

Cutillar said they are now working on the development of two additional tourism loops in the city, the Vito-Molocaboc-Bulanon loop and Himoga-an Eco-Cultural Loop, that will involve the communities of barangays. Molocaboc, Vito, Bulanon, Fabrica, Paraiso and Himoga-anBaybay.

Apart from the Suyac community, a coastal purok in Brgy. Old Sagay is also being developed to engage in culture, arts, eco-tourism and environment protection through SyanoArtlink led by artist Nunelucio Alvarado with the Barangay Council of Old Sagay, PurokBoungainvillea and NONESCOST Extension Services and HRM Department, she said.

The project aims to help transform the community where environment, community, arts and culture and eco-tourism blend harmoniously, she said.

They are now in the community development stage where they train the community and starting to put up some infrastructures needed for opening these tourism loops, she said.

“The dream of Mayor Alfredo Marañon III is to create more eco-tourism projects to have more nature-based destinations in Sagay and the community to have the opportunity to earn and help protect the environment,” Cutillar added. * MLG



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