||Philippine National Ecotourism Programme Phase II (PNEPII)
1. Norther Luzon Cluster - Hundred Island National Park, Alaminos Pangasinan
2. Southern Luzon Cluster - Mayon Volcano natural Park in Legazpi, Bicol
3. Visayas Cluster - Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape in Bilar Bohol
4. Lake Sebu in South Cotabato
||Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Tourism (DOT)
This final report documents the major achievements and development impacts of the New Zealand Agency for International Development-funded Philippine National Ecotourism Programme Phase II (PNEPII) implemented in 2004-2009. It is prepared for the National Ecotourism Steering Committee (NESC) and the NZAID-Philippines. The project is jointly implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Tourism (DOT).
The goal of the Project is to mainstream ecotourism in community-based resource management as a means to improve livelihood and manage natural and cultural resources in a sustainable manner. The Project budget is NZ$1.5 million over four years, including a Continuing Link Programme and Project Monitoring Review.
The objectives of the project include establishment of ecotourism businesses and visitor services in four natural protected areas, advocacy and coordination of the National Ecotourism Strategy within the DENR and DOT, and marketing ecotourism products at site, regional and national levels.
Phase II Project sites included Hundred Island National Park in Alaminos, Pangasinan; Mayon Volcano Natural Park, Legaspi City; Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape, Bohol; and Lake Sebu Protected Landscape, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. Continuing support was also extended to the Phase 1 pilot areas namely: 1) Sapang-Bato-Mt Pinatubo (trekking near the base of Mt. Pinatubo) in Pampanga; Ifugao Rice Terraces (trekking through the rice terraces and villages of Ifugao Province) and Pamilacan Island (dolphin watching in the sea of Bohol) in Baclayon, Bohol.
A Continuing Link Program (CLP)) was established at the start of Phase II (July 2004) to provide technical advice, mentoring support and monitoring of progress for Philippine counterparts. The CLP consultants (Mr. Ross Corbett and Mr. Celestino B. Ulep) worked within a terms of reference. They stayed alongside the National Ecotourism Project Office and banner site teams to provide technical advice in planning their work program/activities monitoring of project progress as well as provide the NESC technical advice in the implementation of the National Ecotourism Strategy and the NEP2 project.
In addition to the CLP, there were eight local technical experts contracted to achieve the specific goals and objectives and specific needs on product development, business planning and capacity building for stakeholders among others, at the banner sites.
In terms of outputs, the major milestone indicators of NEP II included the following:
1.Establishment of income generating projects and creation of employment among disadvantaged groups through ecotourism businesses and visitor services in two protected areas (Sea kayaking in Hundred Islands National Park and Handicraft enhancement and revitalization of TBoli products by the Lake Sebu Kenhulung Federation);
2.Expansion of employment opportunities and community income generation in two of the three Phase I banner sites (Pamilacan and Sapang-Bato);
3.Improvement in sustainable resource management and reduction in unsustainable activities in a number of banner sites
4.Improvement in the overall management and planning of the Phase II banner sites;
5.Development of training modules on ecotourism planning and development and incorporation of the same in relevant national training programs;
6.Development of key policy initiatives ( Ecotourism standards);
7.Implementation of ecotourism focused marketing initiatives;
8.Development of monitoring scheme on NECP training programs;
9.Continuing education and benchmarking for ecotourism assessors;
10.Formulation of rules and regulations to govern the accreditation of ecotourism products and services;
11.Development of Monitoring system to track the overall implementation of the NES formulated;
12.Establishment of product development and marketing at site, regional and national level. This include marketing development for both the Phase 1 and Phase 2 sites, as well as national marketing work and capacity building of concerned stakeholders in the project sites.
Generally, the development outcomes of the Programme are manifested in various ways.
During the early stage of Phase 2, a 10-day study tour was conducted by the Tourism Resource Consultants (TRC) in New Zealand. This was participated in by 10 members of the NESC, Regional Directors of the DOT and DENR, and project staff. They were exposed to a mix of successful ecotourism sites. The group also met with tour operators, regional park staff and senior officials from central government (Department of Conservation, Ministry of Tourism and Tourism New Zealand) and local government (Kaikoura District Council).
Relative to the implementation of the National Ecotourism Certification Program (NECP), the DOT /DENR assessors undergo a continuing education. About 22 participants coming from DOT and PAWB-DENR region visited Kota Kinabalu to enhance understanding of the ecotourism models and learn practical experiences. The ecotourism assessors were trained in the application of ecotourism standards and certification scheme for ecoguide, ecotour, ecolodge and ecotourism facility. The 5-day trip was considered fruitful and productive as the lessons learned has enhanced the outlook of the assessors on what to look for and consider in applying the guidelines on accreditation under the Philippine setting.
In Phase 2, the project intervention enabled the establishment of ecotourism businesses and visitor services in the project sites (Sea Kayaking in Hundred Islands National Park run by the Hundred Islands EcoTour Association (HIETA); and handicraft enhancement of indigenous arts and crafts by the Kenhulung Federation.
Technical experts were engaged to assist in the development of viable ecotourism products, preparation of business plans as well as capacity building for the organized entities to operate said businesses. The HIETA was guided by the NatureSpecs while the Lake Sebu Kenhulung Federation members received intensive mentoring from a Product Development and Marketing Specialist. The hands-on trainings on various aspects of ecotourism businesses and services provided opportunities to project beneficiaries to gain skills and increase livelihood opportunities which made them more self-confident. They were able to participate in local, regional national travel fairs and exhibits, travel marts, festivals and events thus generating greater income. Also, a business plan for Lake Sebu ecotourism development was developed.
For Mayon Volcano Natural Park (MVNP) and Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape, facilities for camping were given priority attention. A master plan was developed and facilities built at Lidong campsite of MVNP. For Rajah Sikatuna, the DOT funded the engagement of a local consultant in Developing an Ecotourism Masterplan specifically for Camp Magsaysay and Logarita Swimming Pool.
For Phase 1 sites, continuing assistance was extended to Pamilacan Island Marine Life Tour enhancement by way of revisiting the business plan, refresher training courses on tour guiding for PIDWWO members as well as for new interested local guides in Pamilacan and vicinities, drafting of municipal ordinance on dolphin watching procedures and user fee policy. Mr. Stuart Greene, USAID Marine Biologist who was also involved during Phase 1 continued his technical assistance. His community immersion and good public relation facilitated consultation workshops and coordination with local government stakeholders.
The PIDWWO business had experienced downturn brought about by unforeseen events such as gap in leadership when the chairman of the organization left the country leading to some confusion and misunderstanding on the financial and management status of Pamilacan Marine Life Tour. However, with the intervention of Mr. Stuart Greene, issues and problems were identified and resolved so a new leader take over and link up with LGU. The business is again thriving. With further strengthening of the organization, the members of the Marine Life Tour is still intact and cooperating with each other. The PIDWWO is already regaining due respect in terms of quality tours conducted and the operations manager (Ms. Saturnina “Turning” Quilas) is now being tapped as resource person by those interested to venture into dolphin watching guide/tour operation.
The Sapang-Bato trek guides (Aetas) also were also given refresher training on nature trek at Mt.Pinatubo. The Sapang-Bato visitor center was expanded to provide space for souvenirs.
The members of the Banaue Travel Guides and Tour Organization was also given refresher course on Mountain Guiding and Mabuhay Seminar and First Aid. They continue to become better mountain guides with their continuing exposure to tour guiding activities. A strong linkage was established with the Banaue Tourism Council which manage and tap the services of tour guides in a systematic scheme. They have demonstrated their guiding skills to several NZAID missions during the Phases 1 and II project.
With the intensive trainings received by the project site beneficiaries particularly the local communities actively involved in the project, more and more opportunities provide potential livelihood income through product sales, higher quality of products and services are being rendered, self confidence has also improved.
There is some evidence that the Project has mobilized additional investment at some sites: private sector investment in Sapang-Bato (Korean) and Pamilacan (Ayala Foundation); Local Government Unit (LGU) investment/support in Hundred Island, Lake Sebu, and Mayon Volcano as well as national government support (DOT) to Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape. Working relationships between and among partners at majority of project sites were strengthened.
- It is good practice to establish a continuing consultation with the DOT and DENR national and regional office stakeholders on the implementation of project activities to avoid complication of sensitive issues which needs immediate intervention by management.
- Good working relationships by stakeholders established encourage commitment and support even beyond the project assistance
- Serious conflicts between stakeholders surely hamper project progress
- Capacity building of stakeholders is good investment
- Partnerships between government, communities and tourism industry is further strengthened from the start to completion of project. The NESC, ETWG continue providing direction and support to further the interest in of ecotourism development.
- Committed LGUs can be strong partners
- Hiring of technical consultants who have good track record on special fields facilitate appropriate direction, project management, product development, business enterepreneurship skills.
- Guided implementation of small scale and doable ecotourism projects by organized local community stakeholders can showcase the positive social, economic and environmental impacts as indicators of poverty alleviation in the community.
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