The Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. (SSTDI) is a newly formed not-for-profit, non-government organization (NGO) to lead & implement the Negros Occidental’s Sustainable Tourism capacity building and training, promoting green travel experiences of culture, cuisine, conservation and meaningful visits to local communities.
Last October 2011, while working on The Boracay & Coron Initiatives I took a side trip to my home province sugar land Negros Occidental in southern Philippines. Upon request of Tita Sonia Sarrosa, energetic CEO of 2010 ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee Nature’s Village Resort, I did a stopover to give a talk and presentation on Conservation, Social Responsibility and Sustainable Tourism. I was happy to learn that in fact, Negros Occidental became the first organic province and aims to be the organic bowl of Asia.
A select group of Provincial officials and private tourism stakeholders were waiting patiently for my delayed flight to listen to my presentation, gleaned from my first hand experience with Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975.
Next day, we visited Sagay City, south of the province, home of Museo sang Bata Sa Negros (Children’s Interactive Marine Museum). The Museum size, design and exhibits were originally intended for children but it is an attraction for visitors of all ages, too. Its focus is to educate primarily, children on Coastal Marine resources especially of nearby Carbin Reef Marine Reserve. However the Museum also serves as a Welcome Center for all guests, offering a brief intro about Sagay’s marine biodiversity, conservation programs and a small hall dedicated to Sagay’s son, the late Governor Joseph Maranon. Several children act as guides in each mini-exhibit and their spiels are heartwarming and interesting not only for kids but also for adults
Just a quick motor boat ride from the pier across the water, we island-hopped to Carbin Reef Sandbar, the visitors’ base to the 200 hectare Marine Sanctuary. The tongue shaped white sand bar is open for day visitors on a limited capacity for swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving.From Carbin Reef, we took a brief ride to Barangay Vito, where we took the motorboat to Molocaboc Island. We were graciously welcomed by the Barangay Captain and residents who offered us an exquisite lunch of native seafood, proudly produced by the island. Molocaboc has no fresh water resource, thus all residents make use of large earthen jars for rain water catchment to have water supply.
Japanese NGO’s visit the island yearly to do their outreach programs to include mangrove reforestation and sea ranching (a sustainable way of aquaculture & fishing). We then took a quick visit to the farm of college-friend, Jojo Bonnin in Barangay Alangilan, a mini green-hideaway, just 15 minutes from the city.
From this visit, The Negros Initiative was born, to develop responsible travel to Negros with proponents to include: Eco Agri Sustainable Agri Farm showcase, Don Salvador Benedicto, the next emerging eco hot spot in the Philippines, and Fresh Start Organic Sustainable Agri tours.
The Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. (SSTDI) is formed to lead The Negros Initiative in the Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility development for Negros with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & Clean Blue. Sustainability
Capacity Building and Training programs for cities, municipalities and communities include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Prevention and Management. Educational programs will be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the grassroots community in general.
ZERO CARBON RESORTS is our joint project with GrAt for the SMEs in the Tourism Industry to reduce carbon footprint by switching from use of fossil fuel to renewable energy sources especially solar energy and green technologies.
GREEN HOTELS ASIA PACIFIC is our network of the most reliable eco responsible hotels around the world. It works to help the hotel industry embrace sustainability by integrating innovation and added value with environmental actions in a vibrant global exchange of green hoteliers, operators and responsible clients.
CLEAN BLUE ASIA is thenew industry standard for beach management and safety – ISO 13009 - the “Clean Blue Industry Standard” CBIS – to help provide beach operators with the information and guidance to effectively manage the beaches of Asia – Pacific.
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