Archive for the Travel Category

Why You Shouldn’t Visit Oslob

Posted in Travel on August 4, 2015 by Sustainability Guru

We said it before, we say it again. You Shouldn’t Swim With Baited Whale Sharks in the Philippines. Here’s why.

Journey to Patagonia

There’s only one thing I can tell you about the town of Oslob in the Philippines: don’t go. There is a tendency amongst travel bloggers to over romanticise, but I wouldn’t want to lie to you. I’m taking inspiration from Paul Theroux, whose The Great Railway Bazaar might just qualify him as grumpiest travel writer ever, and telling you the honest truth not to bother.

Oslob is situated on the south west coast of the island of Cebu. We approached it by boat from Panglao Island and it loomed magnificently on the horizon until it towered over us. A mountainous body expelled from the sea, it is the geological formation that makes Oslob the perfect site for ‘whale shark watching’ and this is what it is famous for. Fine white pebble beaches descend into crisp clear water in a dramatic incline that leaves you waist deep almost as soon as…

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Sustainability meets splendor at the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Posted in Travel on July 24, 2015 by Sustainability Guru

Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. (SSTDI)

Living culture at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
inka cover

High in the Peruvian Andes, a verdant valley cuts a pathway between the imperial Inca city of Cusco and the dramatic peaks that protect the citadel of Machu Picchu. This is the Sacred Valley of the Inca, once the heartland of the Inca Empire and still shrouded in the mysteries of their great civilization. Perched on a slope overlooking the valley floor, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba reflects the region’s Andean and Spanish-colonial influences, capturing the essence of a destination with many cultural layers.

Upon arrival at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, you might first be struck by the spectacular vistas—in a lodge where nearly every window shows a panoramic view of the Andes, it can be difficult to look away. But once you start exploring the beckoning slopes, it quickly becomes apparent that this is much more than a mountain hideaway. Each excursion provides cultural insights into the…

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Peru: come, live the legend!

Posted in Travel on January 6, 2015 by Sustainability Guru

Watch “Peru, Live the Legend” video:

“Peru is often called the quintessential South American destination evoking images of Andean mountains, fabled lost cities, panpipe players, llamas and, of course, the ever-fashionable and functional poncho.” – Blue List, Lonely Planet.

High fashion inspired by Cusco. Photo via Visit Peru.

High fashion inspired by Cusco. Photo via Visit Peru.

Peru is everything unexpected: from its vast sandy dunes and deserts all throughout its coasts, stunning uplands in the Andes home to the country’s greatest attraction: the Inca city of Machu Picchu and beyond the intimidating heights, the astounding lush jungles with meandering rivers and vast waterways, one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, the Amazon River and Basin.

Viewing Nazca Lines - "Candelabro" on the desert. Photo via Visit Peru.

Viewing Nazca Lines – “Candelabro” on the desert.

However, there’s more to Peru than Machu Picchu: this immense wealth of sights and experiences has its roots in one of the world’s richest heritages, with its fabulous archeological gems of six Pre-Inca civilizations, the monumental adobe temples and ruins along the desert coast and mysterious Nazca Lines which can only be viewed best from the sky. Enjoy city life in Spanish-influenced cosmopolitan capitals, with their colonial-era mansions, churches, monasteries, and museums.

Cindy Crawford selfie in Machu Picchu, photo via her Instagram.

Cindy Crawford selfie in Machu Picchu, photo via her Instagram.

The Destinations

Lima’s city center – UNESCO World Heritage Site -highlights include balconies & the Plaza de Armas.

 LIMA – CULTURE, CRAFTS & CULINARY CAPITAL 

Called Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings) by the Spanish conquerors, the capital city of Lima is much more than the gateway to Peru. With the country’s best museums – more than 20 of them, plus striking baroque and renaissance churches, colonial mansions and palaces, world-class restaurants and amazing shopping, Lima deserves more than a quick stopover.

You can also Lima from the sky through paragliding! Photo via Visit Peru.

You can also see Lima from the sky through paragliding! Photo via Visit Peru.

Experience highlights

  • Visit remarkable cathedrals, cloisters and monasteries, appreciate some of Peru’s best archeological and art museums, and feel a sense of awe in the city’s elegant old colonial center.
  • Savor exquisite Peruvian cuisine in the “Gastronomy Capital of Latin America,” with varied influences from the coast, mountains and the Amazon.
  • Experience Lima’s incredibly varied shopping, from exclusive factory visits, to artisan and antique shops, souvenir and handicraft markets offering an endless selection of handmade alpaca clothes and accessories, silver jewelry and decorative pieces, pottery, colonial religious art and wood carvings.

SACRED VALLEY – EXPERIENCE LIVING CULTURE

Sacred Valley of the Incas - Valle Sagrado, Urubamba. Photo via Visit Peryu

Sacred Valley of the Incas – Valle Sagrado, Urubamba.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas, home of the finest Inca sites offers a glorious beginning to your Cusco visit. The Valley’s sublime climate, overwhelmingly beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, colorful folk arts and crafts and warm, friendly local people all reflect the Peru that visitors travel thousands of miles to see. The valley is also a haven for eco sports adventure such as trekking, horseback riding, mountain biking and river rafting.

Ancient Incan sites: Maras Salt Mines & Moray Rice Terraces.

Ancient Incan sites: Maras Salt Mines & Moray Rice Terraces.

Experience highlights

  • Start your Cusco discovery to acclimatize in glorious sunny weather, either before or after your Machu Picchu visit.
  • Perfect base to myriad activities in the Valley: visits to Inca ruins and archaeological sites and gourmet picnics.
  • Spectacular location for outdoor adventures such as horseback riding, mountain biking, river rafting or trekking.
  • Interactive and socially responsible excursion in a visit to a workshop or community of weavers, pottery, ceramics, among others.

MACHU PICCHU – THE ROYAL INCA RETREAT 

Who wouldn't want to visit Machu Picchu?

Who wouldn’t want to visit Machu Picchu?

“Machu Picchu was… the favored country retreat for the royal family and Inca nobility.” – The New York Times

Machu Picchu Historical Reserve is a magical place that fascinates through its vast archaeological remains, geological formations, unique flora and fauna, and spectacular cloud forest. The most remarkable part of the reserve is the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, one of the world’s New Seven Wonders. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, is considered “the Garden of Eden” by Condé Nast Traveller where you will experience life at an exclusive royal Inca retreat for your stay.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner

Experience highlights

  • Explore the wonder of Machu Picchu and discover the essence of a Royal Inca retreat.
  • Authentic barefoot luxury in whitewashed casitas and villas in a private 5 hectare Andean Garden of Eden, teeming with orchids and hummingbirds.
  • Visit the ancient Machu Picchu Citadel in company of a certified English-speaking guide, as well as other attractions in the Natural Reserve.
  • At Inkaterra Hotels, included in house excursions such as Bird Watching, Orchid walk, Tea Plantation Visit, Nature Talks, among others, offered on 12-acre grounds.
  • UNU Spa

CUSCO – ENDURING FUSION OF INCA MYSTIQUE & SPANISH SPLENDOR

Cusco, ancient capital of the Incan empire (that's South America, folks).

Cusco, ancient capital of the Incan empire (that’s South America, folks).

Vibrant is the word which best describes Cusco, capital of the vast Inca Empire some six hundred years ago, now transformed as themost important colonial center in the Andes, an axis of exploration and favorite destination for today’s international traveler. Inkaterra La Casona Cusco, an exquisite 16th century colonialmansion, is an exquisite and exclusivemanor, carefully restored to retain its historical heritage. It offers guests contemporary luxury without sacrificing authenticity with the privacy and privilege experienced by those who once lived there.

Inti Raymi, Cusco's foremost festival.

Inti Raymi, Cusco’s foremost festival. Photo via Visit Peru.

Experience highlights

  • Discover a four-century fusion of Spanish colonial and Inca culture, both in Cusco and at Inkaterra La Casona, Hot Listed Best New Hotel by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine U.S., U.K. and Travel+Leisure.
  • Enjoy contemporary luxury without sacrificing authenticity, in an exclusive privilege and privacy experienced by those who once lived at the fully restored 16th century manor.
  • Explore from Inkaterra La Casona, a destination as well as a hub from which to begin your discovery of the Andes, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu as well as Lake Titicaca.
  • Visit Cusco’s landmarks, impressive churches, museums, quaint neighborhoods, artisan workshops and other remarkable Incan archaeological sites.
Inkaterra La Casona,  former Incan Royal & Peru's conquerors' residence, now Cusco's foremost luxury boutique hotel.

Inkaterra La Casona, former Incan Royal  residence & Peru’s conquerors’ quarters, now Cusco’s foremost luxury boutique hotel.

Suggested Itinerary in Brief:

Day 1 – Arrival in Lima

Day 2 – Full Day in Lima

Day 3 – Lima – Cusco- Sacred Valley

Day 4 – Full Day in Sacred Valley

Day 5- Sacred Valley – Machu Picchu Pueblo – overnight;

Day 6- Full day in Machu Picchu; late afternoon train to Cusco

Day 7 – Full Day in Cusco

Day 8 – Cusco- Lima – Departure from Lima

For more information on Peru, check out our blogs on Peru. Take a 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 about our Green Travel Exchange, contact us.

Photo credits: Visit Peru & Inkaterra.

Discover Danjugan Island- the Philippines’ conservation pioneer

Posted in Travel on November 23, 2014 by Sustainability Guru

We saved an island…now we invite you to EXPLORE it.”

Photo via Danjugan Island Facebook page.

Danjugan Island, Negros Occidental. It’s like a mini Galapagos of Negros.

History

It was in 1974 when Gerry Ledesma, first visited Danjugan Island with some of his diving mates. Its thick limestone forests hosted many different kinds of birds and bats; its underwater was so clear with schools of fish and magnificent, intact coral reefs.  Scuba diving became popular and most divers then were spear fishers—and at the end of each dive day, tall stories were told about the sharks seen —there were tigers in the outer reefs surrounding the island and white/black tipped in the nearby reefs– and the big fish that got away.

Gerry Ledesma, Founder & President, Philippine Reef & Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc. -PRRCFI

The early 1980s saw the decline of scuba diving due to the economic crisis brought upon by the government’s mismanagement of the sugar industry that most of the divers in Negros depended on.  1984 was a bad year too for Danjugan Island as Maricalum Mining Corp (MMC) stopped operations and its displaced workers started destructive fishing with blasting caps and cyanide from MMC.  The year also brought Typhoon Nitang that destroyed the shallow reefs of the island as well as in the entire foreshore of municipalities of Cauayan, Sipalay, and Hinobaan. The years of early to mid 90s emphasized the need for Danjugan’s conservation with episodes of logging and poaching and this finally provoked the offer to buy the island but Gerry didn’t have money. William Oliver, a British zoologist working on Negros endangered wildlife species, suggested contacting John Burton of the World Land Trust (WLT) whose thrust is the purchase of important biodiversity sites for conservation.  Soon, a noted marine scientist from the UK, Sue Wells, came to visit and not long after, Peter Raines of Coral Cay Conservation (CCC).  Then, an invitation to England for the launch of the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Project (PRRP) and within a month, a fund was transferred to PRRP for the down payment of Danjugan Island.

Third Lagoon, Danjugan Island. Photo via Liwanag Aristoza San Miguel.

The Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PRRCFI) was established to manage and operate the PRRP, as well as the conservation program based on Danjugan Island that was expanded to include Southern Negros Occidental.  Due to the ignorance of marine and wildlife conservation, the group piloted the 1st Youth Marine Camp in 1991 with their children and children of friends and relatives.  The camp had pleasing results and children from the village of Bulata were included in the subsequent camps.  Presently, the camps are conducted each summer as the Youth Marine and Wildlife Camp and with the Philippine Department of Education as the Danjugan Environment Education Project (DEEP).

Location & Biodiversity

Resting 3 kilometers southwest off the coast of Negros Occidental, Danjugan is a lush, 43-hectare island rich in marine and terrestrial biodiversity. This island, about 1.5 kilometers long and 0.5 kilometers at its widest point, has 5 lagoons and is covered with limestone forests providing asylum to many wildlife species that struggle to exist in the mainland.

Together with Sipalay City and the Municipality of Hinobaan, it forms the southern border of the province and is situated in the Sulu Sea, an important eco-region for marine biodiversity.  The island’s surrounding reef is under the Danjugan Island Marine Reserve and Sanctuaries with three Special Management Areas or No Take Zones established in 2000 through Cauayan Municipal Ordinance 99-52.

Photo via Liwanag Aristoza San Miguel.

Mangroves, a marine biodiveristy sanctuary in Danjugan Island.

It holds an incredible biodiversity given its small size. At least 72 bird species have been recorded on the island, including a nesting pair of White- breasted Sea Eagles Heliatus leucogaster that have been breeding atop Typhoon Beach Camp since 1974 and  Tabon scrub fowls Megapodius cumingi which are common around the island.

Lizard Fish (Synodus variegatus)

Commercially important marine invertebrates such as the giant clams (Tridacna crocea, T. squamosa and Hippopus hippopus) are observed in the reefs. A restocking program for the endangered Tridacna gigas is being implemented in collaboration with UP-MSI. Other commercially important invertebrates observed are Abalone (Haliotis asinine) and Spiny lobster (Panulirus spp.) The endangered coconut crab (Birgus latro) still occur in the coastal and mangrove forests of the island. The western beaches of Danjugan Island are known nesting sites of the Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Green Sea Chelonia Mydas Turtles. There was one sighting of a Dugong in the past while sightings of dolphins are common within the municipal waters of Cauayan which is a migration path of some larger marine mammal species.

Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

Increasing environmental awareness in the youth has been one of the major priorities of PRRCFI. The Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program (DEEP), funded by the Foundation of the Philippine Environment (FPE), endeavors to teach Biodiversity Conservation, Sustainable Development, Climate Change Issues and Values to teachers and elementary/highschool students of Cauayan, Sipalay and Hinobaan municipalities in Southern Negros. These are where the last remaining good coral reefs in Negros Occidental remain. DEEP attempts to inspire to teach students to be stewards of the environment.

Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

The DEEP was implemented starting June 2011. In the two years that it was executed, it aimed to address the shortcomings of environment education by delivering modules on biodiversity, marine and terrestrial wildlife awareness, climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainability, and principles of responsible ecological stewardship to select public school teachers, students, barangay councils, and BLGUs.

To date the program has reached out to at least 14 schools in the project sites, over 800 elementary and high school students, and over 50 barangay officials from 3 BLGUs. Members of the LGUs that were participants of the program also developed work plans to implement marine protected areas and more effective solid waste management plans in their communities. The success of DEEP is evident in the greatly positive response and continued support of the Department of Education in Region VI, which has also recognized DEEP as an official co-curricular program for schools in the SNCDP area.

Genuine green ecotourism

“We saved an island…now we invite you to EXPLORE it.”

Danjugan Island is now open on a limited capacity basis for visitors, to experience ecotourism at its purest: learn about the biodiversity within the area, its conservation efforts, eco-friendly facilities to include eco cabanas, solar powered electricity, communal served meals based on native cuisine and seasonally-available local produce and services offered by the locals within.

Typhoon Beach House. Photo via Liwanag Aristoza San Miguel.

Make a difference and travel green to Danjugan!

You may also support its programs in environmental conservation and education when you visit. For more information and and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange and Green Hotels stay, contact us.

The Danjugan Island is part of our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDINegros Occidental initiative, the sustainable tourism development & stewardship program for the province.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs  to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

SSTDI is proud to be part of the Founding Board of the ASIAN ECOTOURISM NETWORK and 

The International Ecotourism Society

Photo Credits: Photos of Danjugan via its Facebook Page & Liwanag Aristoza San Miguel as captioned.

Peru, host of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Americas Summit 2014

Posted in Conventions & Exhibitions, Events, News, Lifestyle, Lima, Lima, Peru, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on August 26, 2014 by Sustainability Guru

WTTC IS headed to Peru in September for its second Americas Summit. You can watch liveat http://www.wttc.org and join the live debates on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/wttc

“Facing Challenges – Finding Opportunities”

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) second Americas Summit, which will once again unite Travel & Tourism leaders from across the whole region, bringing together top representatives from the public and private sectors, NGOs and the media in a unique networking and discussion forum. Building on the success of the first Americas Summit in Riviera Maya in 2012, this Summit in Lima, Peru will attract an audience of private and public sector tourism leaders from across South America, Central America, The Caribbean, and North America.

Travel & Tourism plays a very important role in economies across the Americas. Regionally, the industry generates US$269 billion in exports, contributes 8.5% of GDP and supports 1 in 11 jobs. The agenda of the Americas Summit will focus not only on the traditional intra-regional flows of business in the Americas – but also on the robust recovery of the inbound market, fuelled by the growth of BRIC nations. Speakers will include Chief Executives from regional and global hotel companies, airlines, tour operators and online travel agencies; regional and G20 Ministers of Tourism; high level representatives from the NGO sector and opinion-formers from academia and the media.

Presentations of best practice from inside and outside the region will be combined with lively debates around future trends and current policies. The profound words of President Bill Clinton at an earlier WTTC Summit resonate through our industry: “At a time of continued economic uncertainty and geopolitical instability somewhere in the world, Travel & Tourism has emerged as not only an engine of job creation and economic prosperity but also as a force for good – bringing peace and understanding to the world”.

 

The Second World Travel & Tourism Council Americas Summit will be held at the Westin Lima Hotel & Convention Center in Lima, Peru, on 10-11 September 2014, hosted by the Peru Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism.

Attendance at The Americas Summit is complimentary and by invitation only, and is intended exclusively for those holding the most senior positions in Travel & Tourism in the public and private sector, and for related media. The World Travel & Tourism Council is grateful to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of the Republic of Peru for hosting the Americas Summit 2014 in the wonderful location of Lima, Peru.

Americas Summit Programme

Travel & Tourism in the Americas is at a critical moment – be it in the recovering economies of the north, the mature but struggling Travel & Tourism destinations in the Caribbean or the excitement of the emerging markets in the south.  In particular in Latin America, financial stability, a growing middle class and its rich and diverse natural and cultural resources have contributed to steady growth of the sector.  A strong internal market, economic recovery in the USA and Europe, and the growth of new markets in Asia now offer massive opportunities.

The key question is – how can the combined strengths of the sector come together now to leverage more sustainable growth for the region? While some destinations prosper, others struggle. How can collaboration solve problems that market forces alone can’t address? How can competitiveness be strengthened through collaboration? How can the Americas keep up with growing destinations in Asia?

Over the course of a day and a half, through a series of keynotes, panel sessions and interviews, the most pressing questions facing Travel & Tourism in the Americas today will be addressed. Participants will identify what needs to be done now to ensure the long term sustainable future of the sector.

Travelling Towards 2024: The future of Travel & Tourism in the Americas

 

Check out the WTTC Economic Impact Research for 2014. Interactive data visualisation: http://bit.ly/1dlSUu8

Travel & Tourism in the Americas is on the rise. But what will it look like in ten years’ time? Where will growth be focused? Which sectors and regions will be the winners and losers and why? What are the common challenges across the region? Which are the new markets to exploit? What are the risks posed by climate change, political instability and economic mismanagement? How is the relationship between the USA and Latin America evolving?

Government and business: partnership and progress

Governments and tourism ministers come and go, but the issues stay the same. How can countries break the cycle and foster real partnership between the public and private sectors? The USA and Mexico have already implemented frameworks for improving collaboration and cross-government co-operation; can these models be replicated elsewhere? What has been critical to the success of these initiatives? Is a sustainable future possible without public-private sector collaboration?

Financing the future: Strategies for investment

Future success will need strategic investment. Where is investment needed most and where will it come from? What are the bottlenecks in infrastructure and finance that are holding back growth? How can foreign and domestic direct investment be increased and what is slowing it down? How can countries channel investment into Travel & Tourism? What is the role of high profile cultural or sporting events to catalyze investment? What is being done to encourage green growth and innovation?

Open Skies: Dream or Reality?

Many countries in the region are still heavily restrictive in their aviation policies.  Will governments ever change their attitude? How can airlines be more efficient in their operations despite policy challenges? To what extent can the private sector really get involved with airport development? What are the models already in existence?

Digital Travellers: The Now Generation

Digital travellers represent the Now Generation. They are tech savvy and heavy internet, mobile and social users. Always connected, digital travellers use a variety of platforms to research, plan, book and share their travel experiences. Instantaneous real time access to information and flexibility of service is the expectation. How can tourism businesses provide products and services to this expanding Digital Traveller market? In the ever evolving field of technology how can businesses in the Travel and Tourism sector not only keep up but actually stay ahead of their demands? What opportunities does the digital journey offer to businesses that truly understand these trends and don’t just react to these new customer trends, but anticipate them?

Appreciating the asset: the value of cultural heritage

The definition of cultural heritage is evolving from the legacy of sites and curios to a wider and more complex definition embracing language, peoples and cuisine. What does not change, however, is the importance of cultural heritage to the economic, social and spiritual growth of a country. How does cultural heritage contribute to visitor exports? Is it really understood for the asset that it is? How does cultural heritage contribute to a distinct and competitive tourism product? How can our industry best champion ways to promote protect and develop the asset of cultural heritage, for the good of the destination and its visitors, past, present and future?

Ten Knots El Nido Resorts continues to play a key role in sustainable development on Palawan, while demonstrating the power of tourism to address poverty alleviation and improve local livelihoods. Ten Knots Development Corporation / El Nido Resorts, Philippines is a finalist for the Community Benefit award.

 

Sustainable tourism: leading by example

From the Amazon rainforest to Machu Picchu, the snow peaks of the Rockies to the beaches of the Caribbean, the future of the environment and the communities who inhabit it are vital to Travel & Tourism’s success. What is the business case for sustainability? What are the examples to be replicated? How can sustainability be better monitored and communicated? Is enough being done to preserve biodiversity, address climate change and manage water resources? Are communities and young people fully engaged in tourism development? What are the innovations that will be game changers?

Source & Photos: World Travel & Tourism Council: wttc.org

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. 

 

Learn the lesson from Estancia, Iloilo Oil Spill

Posted in Clean Blue Asia, Good Governance, Sustainable Development, Travel, Western Visayas, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , on December 14, 2013 by Sustainability Guru

Foreword. Estancia, Iloilo suffered not only devastation on a massive scale but also man-made disaster of oil spill from the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. This is a re-post from our SSTDI Guest Resource Person, Sustainable Lifestyle Designer PJ Aranador’s blog about his hometown Estancia and the destruction brought by the super typhoon. The tourism and hospitality industry should learn the lesson of Estancia, Iloilo oil spill: NO to bunker fuel, YES to clean energy! Read our SSTDI blog post on ways hotels and tourism industry can use renewable energy.   

Don’t miss

Register now for the next TCI-CB Series IV-Green Leaders Conference Workshop:Climate Proofing for Sustainability & Resilience‘ in Coron, Palawan. March 13-14, 2014. Email/contact us for details.

 

 

Estancia, Iloilo: Our beautiful town spilled by oil and shattered it into a night mare

Estancia Iloilo is home to NAPOCOR power barge to supply the electricity of Northern Iloilo. This barge is just a few meters away from the coastline of the town near its old commercial port. It carries 2 million liters of fossil oil. Yolanda’s wrath was so strong it leaked 2,000 litters of dangerous fossil oil to the area. About 150,000 liters were washed on the shoreline while 50 liters afloat the water. 1It may still leak another 1.2  million liters of  oil if something goes wrong, let alone another super tyhoon come soon. The barge was slammed right into Barangay Botongon killing people and forced 5,000 people to evacuate.
The town folks are in agony as the cleaning has been snail pace. I asked the contractor representative how long it will take to totally clean it, he said, it depends. OMG, it depends on what?  Their own sweet little time.?
Let these pictures tell the sufferings of Estancia—now somehow lost and forgotten. The chemical gaseous stink is so strong, with half and hour visit I had on the site, two days after until now I am still very sick. I have a splitting headache and my eyes are teary.  I can imagine the survivors whose respiratory systems and skin may already have been damaged.
We need help to rebuild our coastline, much more, help our folks go back to their homes.
 

Contractor representative touring us at the site of the spill.

The extent of oil spill along the coastline.

The oil spill evacuation center called the Tent City where close to 5,000 locals are relocated while the area is not yet cleaned up for human safety.

Learn the lesson from Estancia, Iloilo Oil Spill: NO to Bunker Fuel, Coal Mining & Fossels Fuels! Yes, to Renewable, Clean, Efficient Energy!

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