Dr. Venus C. Ibarra, Ateneo de Manila University Maria Donnalyn E. Briñas, San Pablo Colleges
SUSTAINING ECOTOURISM ENVIRONMENT AT MTS. BANAHAW-SAN CRISTOBAL PROTECTED LANDSCAPE: ALIGNMENT TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
This study was undertaken to determine the extent of influence of climate change (viewed in terms of environmental problems and natural calamities) in designing ecotourism program for Mount Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape (MBSCPL), specifically in Barangay Kinabuhayan, Dolores, Quezon, a popular tourist destination during Lenten season. Existing tourism/ecotourism activities are: visit to pilgrim/sacred places, camping, bathing in the miraculous river, trekking to Durungawan, doing nature walk, and enjoying the scenic view of the forests. This study is generally descriptive in nature and utilized only simple statistical tools like frequency counts, percentages, and ranking in analyzing the data and information generated from interviews among 70 randomly selected respondents. Among the environmental problems identified are illegal logging, improper waste segregation, uncollected garbage, improper sewerage system, informal settlers, use of destructive pesticides and insecticides, and illegal entry of mountaineers in areas banned for recreational and religious use. Natural calamities experienced are uprooting of trees due to typhoon and flooding of low-lying areas of the Barangay. To address these problems, temporary closure of adversely affected areas from visitation is recommended, including strict implementation of Mount Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape Act (RA 9847). Existing management scheme, like reforestation, patrol activities, and provision of livelihood are regularly undertaken to protect the area from further destruction. For ecotourism development the following management strategies are recommended: strengthen community participation; apply environmental protection and rehabilitation scheme, like agro-forestry, reforestation to help mitigate adverse impact of climate change; install warning devices for landslide and flash flood prone areas; conduct intensive environmental campaign and strict enforcement; encourage green tourism and diversify ecotourism activities; install effective visitor management schemes; and implement a monitoring and evaluation scheme.