Bohol launches new eco-tours

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Mangrove planting. One of the new eco-tourism packages of Bohol will let guests experience mangrove planting and catching “takla” and “imbao” in the Savima Mangrove Adventure in Maribojoc. (Contributed Foto)


BOHOL is an ideal destination for people looking for eco-tourism experiences, its officials said.

Recently, the province launched its ecotourism program to re-introduce Bohol as a prime mover in ecotourism development.

And while eco-tourism destinations have sprouted everywhere, the province of 47 towns hopes its new destinations will keep them in the radar of local and foreign tourists.

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Bohol is now offering three new whole-day tour packages or “surprise tours,” a clustered tour itinerary of new tourism sites in the countryside.

Bohol Surprise Tour 1 will take guests to the Tubigon Loom Weaving, where they can watch and learn the raffia loom weaving from local weavers, after which, they will proceed to Loon Coral Stairs, where they will see the ruins of Loon church and take a walk on the “Inang-angan” stairs, which was built from 1847-1849.

Organic farm

Guests will take their lunch in an organic farm in Maribojoc, where they will also have a tour and taste the farm’s organic produce. The tour will also let the guests experience mangrove planting and catching “takla” and “imbao” in Savima Mangrove Adventure also in Maribojoc. The tour caps with a visit of the Punta Cruz Watch Tower ruins and a walk around the uplifted ridge.

A tour of Lamanoc Island in Anda is the first highlight of Bohol’s Surprise Tour 2. The whole day tour starts at 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and covers the Anda Beach, calamay cooking in Jagna and a tour around the Clarin Ancestral House in Loay, where guests can see a glimpse of Boholano vernacular architecture design.

Guests will also get to experience Bohol’s famous Calamay in Alburquerque if they avail themselves of the Bohol Surprise Tour 3. It will also take them to Loay’s Ironsmith Workshop where they will see and experience how local craftsmen make “bolo” and machete.

The tour will also bring the guests to Balay sa Humay in Batuan where they can learn the process of how organic rice is produced, after which, they will proceed to Bohol Biodiversity Complex in Bilar where they can see the different types of trees and participate in Bohol’s greening program by planting trees. The tour ends with a visit to Clarin Ancestral House in Loay.

The Ecotourism Bohol Program was developed through the collaboration of the Provincial Government of Bohol, Bohol Tourism Office, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica)- Sustainable Environment Protection Program (Sepp).

Kuniomi Hirano, deputy leader of the Jica Expert Team, said the program is meant to encourage a well-balanced development for the entire province, make a new branding for Bohol, contribute to the local economy and community income and attract more tourists by offering new tourism destinations and packages and products.

New sites

“Our target of the eco-tour development is that by August 2015 (completion of the Sepp) we will be able to develop 100 eco-tour sites and come up with 10 new package tours and day-trip clustered eco-tours. After Sepp, we expect the development to continue,” said Hirano during his presentation of the Ecotourism Bohol Program launching last March 21.

The event was attended by the local government units (LGU) municipal tourism officers, ecotourism sites representatives, tour operators, tour guides, transport group representatives and other tourism stakeholders.

Bohol embarked on a three-week campaign tour which covered a total of 242 participants.

Nonet Madriñan-Bolo, chair of the Ecotourism Promotion Committee-Bohol, said that based on their survey, guests gave “high satisfaction rating” for all three new ecotours. She said guests are willing to pay for the price of the tours which they described as “fairly-priced.”

The Bohol Surprise Tour 1 is priced P3,200 (minimum of two persons); Tour 2 is at P 3,900 (minimum of two persons); and Tour 3 at P2,900 (minimum of two persons).

Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto expressed his support for the Ecotourism Bohol Commitment—to value and preserve Bohol’s nature, culture, food and livelihood, introduce local resources and way of life, empower local communities for sustainability and establish a sense of mutual responsibility with the tourist as caretakers of the community.

He also underscored LGU’s commitment to enact policies conducive to the holistic and balanced growth of Bohol.

More than usual

“With the launching of the ecotourism program we are giving tourists more sites to see instead of just the usual Chocolate Hills, tarsier or Loboc River cruise.

There are a lot to explore and enjoy what is in Bohol in terms of ecotourism. Expect more to come as we develop further more sites to explore,” said Rommel Gonzales, president of Bohol’s Association of Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants and general manager of Bellevue Resort Bohol, in a text message yesterday.

Last year the province logged 438,908 total arrivals, according to the initial reports of the DOT 7.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 31, 2015.

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