Archive for the Ecotourism Category

Rapha Valley, your health and wellness destiny

Posted in Agri Tourism, Ecotourism, Environment, Green Hotels, Negros Occidental, Sustainable Living, Travel with tags , , , , , , on January 19, 2014 by Sustainability Guru

Rapha Valley Farm, Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental

Step back to nature and wellness country in Rapha Valley. Located amidst the unspoiled (well, almost) verdant highlands of Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) in Philippine’s southern province of Negros Occidental, but for some spatter of garish, contrasting houses, visit this organic farm and return home a health and fitness buff! After a few hours of organic plants & garden orientation,  wholesome food talk and tasting with no less than its owners, medical doctor-turned-organic chef health guru, Dr. Albert Jo and wife Marilou (a Pharmacy Degree holder herself) regaling you with stories on toxic, GMO filled crappy cooking, you will swear off all processed and artificially enhanced supermarket and fast food!

 Getting there.It is a smooth, well-paved countryside, 75-minute drive from Bacolod City up to Barangay Kaliskis,  DSB Highway. A few meters past KM 48, you have to turn to an “off-road” drive (about two kilometers) as organic farms should be located away from the main road. Then after some almost interminable minutes wondering if you’ll ever get there, you reach the gate to paradise on this part of the planet!

 Rapha Valley Welcome

Organic Welcome. You will be met with hearty reception by shorts-and- apron clad waiters, with a fresh organic welcome drink along with Citronella infused ice-cold towels. Well thought out detail, especially after a long drive and to ward off mosquitoes. Sit back and soak in the natural beauty and greenery, as you will be offered cordial snacks of Black Rice Cakes with native and organic dips.

 Dr. Albert Jo, Proprietor, Health & Wellness Guru

Crops and herbs. Dr. Jo starts by giving a pre-farm tour talk on the basics of healthy eating as opposed to toxic, GMO-filled and artificially enhanced everyday food we buy from supermarkets, fast food and convenience stores. It was shocking to know that some foods that we eat can be downright horrifyingly deadly. Then we proceed with the personalized tour by Dr. Jo himself, first going down the valley as he points out the different crops, herbs and vegetables that can be grown at such an elevation. He shows, cuts some pieces and lets you smell or taste the different flowers, herbs and crops. Most important of all he explains the nutritional and/or medicinal value of each plant.

Rapha Valley Healthy Cuisine 

The Cuisine is medicine.  As your appetite is whetted up again with all the uphill and downhill exercise, you will be ready to relish the food served directly from their vast garden. This is no pig-out for typical freeloading foodies. This is a real deal, hale and hearty, mostly vegetarian, honey-sweetened (sugar free), low salt, low fat (even fat free) and no MSG gastronomy. At its healthiest & most original locavorism.   One of its culinary “open” secret is that they are cooked in clay pots, the old fashioned way, slow and correctly prepared. Another attention to detail is their menu system for first time visitors and fare choices for second or multi-visiting guests! Scrumptious pesco vegan and vegan choices include Herbs & Flowers Salad with choice of Dressing. We’ll reserve the rest of the gastronomy fare for you to discover!

Rapha Valley Casita 

Your casita in the Valley. Rapha Valley now boasts of simple cottages for an overnight or extended getaway from the city. Log cabin or country style casitas, landscaped for serenity and solitude, your comfy abode overlooks the southern country side and possibly even Guimaras Island across which can be seen on a clear day. The casitas offers you a relaxing space for retreat and repose atop the hinterlands of haciendas and sugarcane plantations!

RaphaValley DSB Repose 

Word of MouthRapha Valley is fast gaining popularity, not only for its scenic, cool location, lush greenery, and organic gardens, but also for its unique nutritious and all natural cuisine. It is an exquisite surprise not only for the senses and palate but also for your well-being!  On the Valley grounds, soak in the organic garden trails winding past water irrigations and humming birds; your Health & Wellness Guru will explain the fascinating unaffected garden ecosystem. Learn old world remedies and discover an all natural pharmacy (take note, the root word is “farm-acy”) within the gardens. What could be more delightful than relishing colorful edible flowers and vibrant pink hibiscus for a refreshing drink?

 Don Salvador Benedicto Waterfalls

Visit DSB nowRest and relax for a serene retreat in DSB or wander off to a nature adventure and exploration, before it’s proliferated with utterly hideous structures of vacation houses with no respect for character or sense of place. In our Sustainable Tourism advocacy for this town, we urge everyone who is going to build or develop a house or lodging facility to maintain the geographical character of the mountainous ecosystems, its natural topography, heritage, aesthetics and culture. By all means, we highly recommend observing our Green Hotels & Zero Carbon Resorts best practices!

Keep DSB green as Rapha Valley does to keep all guests hale and hearty! It’s not only for our good but also for our future generations’!

 For more information and Green Travel tips, visit our Green Travel Exchange. 

 

World Travel and Tourism Council -WTTC Global Summit 2012

Posted in Conventions & Exhibitions, Ecotourism, Events, News, Lifestyle, Good Governance, Inkaterra, MICE Meetings, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Events, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on March 24, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

WTTC Global Summit in Sendai & Tokyo Japan

Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is honored to be invited to the WTTC Global Summit, with Inkaterra, Peru’s leading provider of luxury and sustainable hospitality. Inkaterra has been recognized for the second time since 2010 by Tourism for Tomorrow as one of the three finalists in the “Conservation” category. The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are organized by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the winner will be announced at the WTTC’s Global Summit in Tokyo from April 16-19, 2012.

WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow awards at the Global Summit

This is the most influential Travel & Tourism event of the year, bringing together almost 1000 industry leaders, to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing Travel & Tourism today.

Attendance at the Global Summit is by invitation of the World Travel & Tourism Council and the Global Summit Host Committee only, and is reserved for those who lead Travel & Tourism enterprises and organisations in the private sector, or participate in public sector policy and support of the sector.

Atsutoshi Nishida, Chairman of the Board, Toshiba Corporation, and Chairman of the WTTC Global Summit 2012 Host Committee, welcomes delegates to Japan:

WTTC Global Summit Japan 2012

“Japan has developed a distinct travel culture that is permeated with the spirit of hospitality. I want to make this year’s WTTC Global Summit a fusion of this unique culture and Japan’s cutting edge technology. The Global Summit will take place in April – a wonderful time of year in which spring can be enjoyed to the full, and the cherry blossoms – the symbol of Japan – are in full bloom. I look forward to hosting you all during the time of year in which the heart dances its most. You are all very welcome to Japan. ”

The 12th annual WTTC Global Summit will be held in two locations:

WTTC Global Summit Plenary

Sendai City (16-17 April 2012). A year after the Tohoku region was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011, the Global Summit commences with the Sendai Recovery and Asia Outlook Forum (in association with PATA) to be held in Sendai City, the provincial capital of the Miyagi Prefecture and a focal point of last year’s disaster recovery efforts. It is the largest city in the Tohoku Region of Japan, is situated in the center of Miyagi Prefecture. It has prospered as the capital of the Date” feudal clan’s territories since Date Masamune reigned over this district and built Aoba Castle at the beginning of the 17th century. Explore the site of Sendai Castle ( or Aoba Castle) or rest and relax in the neighborhood of Mt. Aoba-yama, which has been transformed into a gracious public park. Sendai is known as “The City of Trees.” The main streets, Aoba-dori and Jozenji-dori, are lined with rows of beautiful zelkova trees, Ichiban-cho-dori Street, which crosses Chuo-dori Street and runs parallel to Aoba-dori Street, is a shopping area. A local market, with many smaller stores lining the side streets, make for a delightful shopping excursion.

WTTC Global Summit Tokyo 2012

Tokyo (17-19 April 2012). The plenary session of the 12th Global Summit will then be held in Tokyo and will examine, amongst other subjects, the role of Travel & Tourism as a driver of economic and social advancement at a time of global turbulence. The Global Summit will take place at International Convention Centre Pamir, Tokyo. As one of the great world cities, Tokyo offers everything a visitor can dream of, ranging from modern skyscrapers to traditional temples, 5-star restaurants and numerous bars and restaurants serving cuisine from every corner of Japan and the world. Whether you are enjoying the springtime display of cherry blossom, shopping for cutting edge consumer electronics or following the latest Tokyo fashions in the many department stores – Tokyo has something for everyone. The Global Summit will be held in Shinagawa district in the southern part of Tokyo, conveniently located to all major attractions of  Tokyo.

For more information on the Speakers line-up, click here.

Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific supports the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Environment Initiative, with its Sustainable Tourism programs and projects in the Philippines –The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative . Environmental, Social,  Good Governance & Resilience Capacity building programs  & training include Disaster Preparedness & Management for both public and private local stakeholders/proponents. Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is working towards green economy for the grass roots, in cooperation with Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and The Clean Blue Asia Pacific. For more info, please visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI.

Photos & text source: WTTC Global Summit 2012.

Green Travel Tips

Posted in Agri Tourism, Boracay, Clean Blue Asia, Coron, Ecotourism, Green Hotels, Negros Occidental, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel, Western Visayas, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

Isla Dibatoc, Coron, Palawan

How to travel GREEN! Build lasting memories while protecting the communities/regions you’ve traveled to! These green travel tips will enhance your trip—and help you make a positive difference in the places you visit.

Before you travel

Find out as much as possible. The more you know about a World Heritage Site or Marine Protected Area, the more the site will come alive. Look into the site’s history, culture, natural environment, customs, legends, advisory notices, and more.

Learn a few words in the local language. Make an effort to speak the local language. Simple words like “Hello,” “Please,” and “Thank you” can go a long way to help you communicate with the people who know the site best—they’ll appreciate your efforts and your interest in learning.

Pack light. It’s tempting to pack everything you think you might need, but remember to be smart about your necessities.Packaging items like the plastic wrapping of your new toothbrush simply consume space in your bag and can create excess trash for the fragile sites.

Shangrila Hotel Boracay with CSR & green initiatives

Shangrila Hotel Boracay with CSR & green initiatives

Choose lodging thoughtfully. Look for hotels that have written procedures for environmental impact, employment, and cultural policies.

Explore transportation options. Traveling affects the environment. Wherever possible, try to minimize your impact by looking to alternative transportation and off-setting your carbon emissions.

Calamianes Group of Islands Palawan

Calamianes Group of Islands Palawan

During your trip

Engage in local culture. The saying, “When in Rome do as the Romans” still applies today. Your trip provides a unique opportunity to explore a new culture and to see the world through a different perspective. Enjoying local foods, shopping in local markets, and attending local festivals are all part of experiencing the culture.

Buy local products and services. Choosing to support locally-owned businesses, community tour operators, and artisans means that you’ll have a one-of-a-kind experience and your money will go directly to the community. Before purchasing goods, ask about their origin. Avoid buying products made from threatened natural resources and report poaching and other illegal activities to the local authorities.

Mercado Indio, Lima -Peruvian Arts & Crafts

Mercado Indio, Lima -Peruvian Arts & Crafts

Refrain from aggressive bargaining. It’s often difficult to know your limits in bargaining, so if you’re not sure, ask your hotel for tips. Remember that the purchases you make directly affect vendors’ livelihoods, so decide if you really need to hang onto that extra dollar.

Hire local guides. Enrich your experience by choosing local guides who are knowledgeable about the destination. Ask local tour operators and hotels for recommendations.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Tread lightly. These destinations are World Heritage sites because of their exceptional natural or cultural splendor. Do your part to keep them that way by following designated trails, respecting caretakers, and not removing archaeological or biological treasures from sites.

Respect the natural environment. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Even though you are just visiting and not paying the utility bill, disposing of your garbage properly and minimizing your consumption of water and energy will benefit the overall destination.

Think of the Big Picture. While it is important to support local economy, certain tourist activities and souvenirs can damage a fragile World Heritage site. Say “no” to a souvenir that’s a piece of the site itself, and to tourist activities that may be harmful to a site’s longevity.

Say “no” to a souvenir that's a piece of the site itself!

Say “no” to a souvenir that’s a piece of the site itself!

After returning home

Share tips about responsible travel. In addition to telling family and friends about the wonderful memories you made, also consider sharing tips on how they too can positively impact these destinations while having an amazing journey.

Explore more. Travel is just the start of learning. Once you return home, continue exploring and being involved with the issues or region that captured your attention. Build your knowledge.

Give back. Traveling often opens our eyes and our hearts. Help to preserve these inspirational destinations for generations to come by making a donation to programs that give back and benefit the local community.

Adopted_a_village_Coron Ecotours

Adopt a village by Coron Ecotours

Source: http://www.expedia.com/daily/sustainable_travel/world_heritage/tips.asp

GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE is taking its toll on the planet, wrecking havoc and destruction to our natural environment, rural communities and even big cities! We have to do our part in leaving less impact to the environment. The message is RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL: let us protect the environment, care about local communities and respect their culture as we explore, experience and enjoy.

Zero Carbon Resorts, helping SMEs in the Tourism Industry to reduce carbon footprint

 The Coron Initiative, The Negros Initiative & The Boracay Initiative are Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks being implemented in Coron, Negros Occidental & Boracay with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & Clean Blue. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs for cities, communities and destinations include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Preparedness and Management. Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

Photos of Coron by Al Linsangan of Al3Photography.

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Ecotourism 101. Ecotourism essentials

Posted in Ecotourism, Environment, Green Hotels, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , on August 8, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

In 1975 Inkaterra built a lodge for scientists long before ecotourism was trendy

Along with other resource persons, namely Harro Boekhold of Contour Projects and Mr. Joselito Bernardo of the Asian Productivity Organization, we conducted the Train the Trainers in Ecotourism Planning & Management Course at the International School of Sustainable Tourism, in Subic Bay, Philippines. Apparently, among the Asia Pacific participants, there is still much confusion and ambiguities of the term “Ecotourism”.

Ecotourism: conservation and local community participation is essential

Not surprisingly, more so for the travel and tourism suppliers and market. Unfortunately the “eco” trend in the past years has triggered the travel industry to inundate the market with misused and misunderstood eco -labeled tourism products, from hotel accommodations to tours, from lodges to excursions, causing misrepresentation and misunderstanding among travelers from the tourism industry as to what the term “ecotourism” genuinely embodies.

Inkaterra’s Andean Pueblo experience at the foot of Machu Picchu citadel

So once and for all, we are clarifying the essence and emphasizing the basic elements of Ecotourism.

If your destination, property or activities does not have ALL of the above essential elements, then it is NOT “ecotourism”. In addition to these ecological essentials, Ecotourism has also these fundamental nature, no pun intended:

Common ‘Eco confusion’:

Nature Learning Experiences at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

To date, Ecotourism is just tiny niche of the global tourism market, has no traction yet and has just started to be mainstreamed. Tourism has an enormous potential, but without principles that fosters responsibility and sustainability it can harm our planet and wreck havoc to fragile or endangered tourism destinations. So no more confusions, no doubt about it. Don’t be misled by all the “eco-ish” labels. Just memorize the 5 ECO elements; YOU cannot go wrong. Go green!

Photos courtesy of Inkaterra, Peru’s eco pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975.

The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative are Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks being implemented with institutional partners Green Hotels, The Clean Blue & Zero Carbon Resorts. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs towards a green economy for cities, communities and destinations include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Prevention and Management. Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

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Green Getaways – travel and stay green!

Posted in Agri Tourism, Coron, Ecotourism, Green Hotels, Negros Occidental, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , , on December 19, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

WHY GO GREEN?

Minimize impact, raise sensitivity

It is high time for savvy travelers and globe trotters to re-focus our travel and holiday mindset to SUSTAINABLE TOURISM: satisfying current tourist and host community needs, while protecting and improving future opportunities.

GOING BEYOND GREEN

Tourism for people, planet & profit.

It is enjoying our rich natural resources, while maintaining essential ecological processes, cultural integrity and biological diversity of beach destinations and cultural heritage sights, with lesser impact to community and environment.

Fight global climate change

GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE is taking its toll on the planet, wrecking havoc and destruction to our natural environment, rural communities and even big cities! We have to do our part in leaving less impact to the environment.

The message is RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL: let us protect the environment, care about local communities and culture as we explore, experience and enjoy. It’s travelling without a trace, stepping without footprints!

To know more about Sustainable Tourism, read our SSTDI blog posts: click here.

Stepping forward without footprints, embracing sustainability ethos.

Travel with a difference in these genuine GREEN GETAWAYS  such as our Negros Agri-tours, discover Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) and Care for Coron‘s Tagbanua tribes-  meaningful journeys that touches the soul!

Coron Nature Experience: respect and protect nature

Coron Nature Experience: respect and protect nature

JOIN PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure. For more information and travel assistance to Peru, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI.

The Coron Initiative, The Negros Initiative & The Boracay Initiative are Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks being implemented in Coron, Negros Occidental & Boracay with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & Clean Blue promoting green, eco-friendly and responsible travel.

Travel and stay green at our Green Hotels Asia Pacific member hotels!

Travel and stay green at our Green Hotels Asia Pacific member hotels!

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 green global exchange of hoteliers, operators and responsible clients.

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Inkaterra – Sustainable Tourism and Conservation since 1975

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Ecotourism, Environment, Green Hotels, Inkaterra, Luxury resorts, hotels, travel, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

In 1975, a Peruvian company called Inkaterra opened a lodge for scientists who came to study Peru’s rainforest, long before eco-tourism was trendy. Inkaterra’s proud legacy of conservation, social responsibility and geo tourism has created an international model, recognized by the World Bank and the United Nations, by providing the sophisticated international traveler with a luxurious, gracious and authentic exposure coupled with social responsibility initiatives for over 30 years now.

Inkaterra through its NGO Inkaterra Foundation (Inka Terra Asociacion –ITA) carried out ecological endeavors at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, on the Tambopata National Reserve in Peru’s Southern Amazon rainforest and at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel, in the Machu Picchu National Reserve in the Southern Andes. ITA was founded to conserve the environment, ecosystems, cultural and archaeological natural resources, Peru’s cultural identity and apply sustainable development.

Through ITA, Inkaterra’s ongoing programs include Research, such as sponsoring international scientists and local experts who conduct ecosystem studies, biodiversity, flora and fauna inventory and conservation status, etc.  This has resulted in the identification of 372 species and the discovery of 8 new species in the Machu Picchu cloud forest, as well as several publications and field guides.

Inkaterra Conservation Projects include the Inkaterra Canopy & Anaconda Walk at Reserva Amazonica, with constant monitoring of wildlife assessments and endangered eco systems, as well as the Rolin Island Fauna Rescue Center and the Butterfly House in Puerto Maldonado. Likewise, the Spectacled Bear Rescue Project in Machu Picchu provides vital support for protection of the endangered Andean bear species. Natural corridors and carbon fixing along the Madre de Dios River of the Southern Amazon rainforest and the Andean cloud forest in Machu Picchu are carried out in a total of 17,000 hectares of reforestation projects.

Environmental and eco best practices include evaluating surrounding landscapes, flora, fauna, water, air, sounds and solid waste. Infrastructure was constructed in keeping with the local nature in both Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica’s Ese-Eja styled cabañas and Inkaterra Machu Picchu Andean casitas. Quality assurance along with ecological safety measures are ensured with the proper use of water resources, water waste management, air quality maintenance through proper utilization of gas stoves, non usage of aerosols and ground keeping in general. All Inkaterra eco-excursions such as Bird watching, Orchid Trail, Nature Walks, among others, are led by highly trained, knowledgeable and conscientious expert eco guides-interpreters.

Cooperative projects with the local community includes the Gamitana Farm, a comprehensive model farmhouse for self-generating eco-agro business. It also operates Concepcion, a community house restored for volunteers, local and international researchers and a national volunteer and education program.

In April 2007, Inkaterra became Peru’s first carbon-neutral travel organization in conjunction with Sustainable Travel International (STI) by integrating renewable energy onsite, and then offsetting emissions from all of its accommodation and tour related activities, including fuel use and electricity generation.  Inkaterra acknowledges that all travel generates unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions that affect global warming.  Inkaterra actively educates their clients and guests to do so as well with the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions of their flights through STI’s carbon calculator (online at the Inkaterra website).

Best of all, Inkaterra’s accommodations in the Andes and the Amazon, offer a wonder experience for the conscientious traveler.  For more information visit www.inkaterra.com or use contact form to join our responsible travel programs to Peru.

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