Practically every local government unit in the country now thinks of tourism as part of its future” is the winning thought expressed by Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez in the course of discussing “Visit the Philippines Year” (VPY) 2015. He is upbeat about this year’s prospects given how the idea of tourism has been accepted, indeed embraced, by grassroots communities as a means of livelihood and, ultimately of “having power over their lives.” We can think of many such communities nationwide, such as the sleepy fishing village of Donsol in Sorsogon which landed on the tourism map thanks to the “gentle giants” in its waters. Donsol has made of its whale shark tours a community activity that is not only an opportunity for profit but also an educational lesson in nature conservation. Cabgan, an 85-hectare island in the protected Clarin Group of Islands Wilderness Area in Bohol, will soon offer an ecotourism tour run by residents that will bring visitors to see mangroves, flying foxes and rare birds, and also to come to grips with the importance of protecting those species. Pink-sand beaches, big surf waves and rock formations in Northern Samar; dive sites, among the world’s best, in Tubbataha, Anilao, Coron, Apo Reef and Apo Island… Nature attractions are stuff that the Philippines has in spades, and the local people have been and are being trained to appreciate these and show these off to local and foreign visitors skillfully and responsibly. Continue reading... A nice overview of some of the places to visit in the Philippines. Worth a read.