A ‘Local Tour Guiding Training’ was recently organized last May 18, 2017 to capacitate twenty three (23) members of the People’s Organizations (POs) in Olango Island, Lapulapu City, Cebu particularly, the San Vicente Fisherfolks Association (SVFAI); the Olango Island Eco-Tour Association (OIETA); and the San Vicente Kapunungan sa mga Kababaihan (SVK). The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 7 facilitated the said training which was held at the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary (OIWS) Nature Center in Lapulapu City. The activity primarily aimed to enhance the capability of the People’s Organization (POs) in the conduct of ecotourism activities for its sustainability development and livelihood community in the sanctuary.

Dr. Alicia L. Lustica, Center Head of the Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC) served as resource person. She discussed the importance of ecotourism and the role of the community in promoting key ecotourism sites. The DENR thru Assistant Protected Area Superintendent (APASu), Forester Luther V. Dejadena specially requested the support of the BCWERC in providing technical assistance to the stakeholders in OIWS. Other topics shared by Dr. Lustica were on Ecotourism in the Philippines and Overview of Philippine Tourism, Dos and Don’ts in Tour Guiding, Duties and Responsibilities of a Tour Guide, and the Practical Tour Guiding Techniques.

The OIWS, a major tourist attraction in the Philippines is one of the seven best-known flyways in the Philippines and in the world for migratory birds. The ‘Training for Local Tour Guides’ provided OIWS staff and the People Organizations (POs) in Olango an opportunity to build and enhance the capacities of the community on ecotourism tour guiding with emphasis on showing their local culture. Participants were grateful since they were able to share experiences and identify strategies towards a common vision for sustainable ecotourism activities in the OIWS. They assured DENR and BCWERC that they intend to share to other PO members their learnings from said orientation and training. Lyndisa Quiachon, BCWERC