Bago City was awarded as one of the 2022 Green Destination Top 100 Stories List during the Green Destinations and Future of Tourism Summit held in Athens, Greece, September 27.
The city was able to clinch the award for its efforts towards responsible tourism and distinctive appeal in its “Reviving the Majestic Diversity of the Bago Watershed” project.
The award was given by Green Destinations [GD], a nonprofit organization based in Netherlands after a month- long evaluation.
The unveiling ceremony which was attended by 250 delegates from 43 countries took place at the Kypseli Municipal Market Fokionos Negri 42, City of Athens.
City Councilor Ma. Josefa Matti, chair of the Tourism Committee and Senior Tourism Operations Officer Mae Ann Furtos accepted the award from Green Destination President Albert Salman and Board Member Hugo de Jong.
In a statement, Mayor Nicholas Yulo said that the recognition given to Bago will continue to motivate the city to do more in sustaining the preservation and conservation of the Bago Watershed.
For the mayor, he considered this international recognition as inspiring as he paid tribute to the strong collaboration among various stakeholders.
Green Destinations supports sustainable destinations, their businesses and their communities. Its core programs, the Awards and Certification Program for destinations, the Good Travel Program for businesses, and the Top 100 Sustainability Stories are the main pillars of a countrywide stewardship approach that they have developed and piloted in Slovenia, Estonia, Australia, Brazil, and Guyana.
WATERSHED PROGRAM REVIVAL
Bago City, the “Home of Historical and Natural Treasures” in the Philippines and the Rice Granary of Negros Occidental has been recently prioritizing the “Revival of the Majestic Diversity of Bago Watershed”.
With the foresight and political will of its leaders, Mayor Nicholas M. Yulo and Vice Mayor Ramon D. Torres and the innovative sustainable environmental programs of the LGU led by its City Environment Management Office and supported by various agencies, the destination was able to establish concrete actions that are proactively answering and giving solutions to challenges in environment and climate.
This is the good practice story that placed Bago City in the Green Destinations 2022 Top 100.
Bago Watershed plays a vital role in steering the wheel of the economy of the City in particular and the entire province of Negros Occidental. It provides water for about 19,000 hectares of agricultural areas to include irrigated rice lands and sugarcane plantation and other agricultural farms in Bago and serves as the recharge area of underground aquifers which is also tapped to support more than 10,000 households for domestic and industrial water usage.
Besides from its institutionalized environment and Ecotourism programs, Bago was further primed to the global standards of sustainability in destination management through Madame Susan Santos de Cardenas, the President and CEO of the Society of Sustainable Tourism, Southeast Asia Partner & Representative of Green Destinations and the Co- founder and Vice Chair of Asian Ecotourism Network.
She has been working with the Sustainability Team of the LGU since 2018, to push forth more efforts for Ecotourism and Sustainable Destination Management and Tourism Development.
The city’s team was admitted to a Waiver Free Training Program of the Green Destinations with Madame de Cardenas’ nomination.
The revival of Bago Watershed is not only a timely solution for climate change but it is the core of Bago City’s preservation efforts being the last frontier of the Negros forests, a part of the 7th Ramsar Site and Negros Occidental Wetland of International Importance and home to the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins.*