6 Ecotourism Islands in the PH for Nature Lovers and Conservationists
by: The Beat Asia
December 27, 2022
Ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel” to marine protected areas that give precedence to environmental conservation, community well-being, and cultural awareness.
Teeming with beautiful beaches and nature parks, the Philippines also offers various ecotourism destinations that are not only beautiful, but also host a culture that places a high value on environmentally responsible travel.
Discover incredible biodiversity and endemic species at these six ecotourism islands in the country that nature lovers and conservationists should visit.
Seated in the Cauayan municipality of Negros Occidental lies one of the most spectacular ecotourism destinations in the country, brimming with ecological wonders.
Danjugan Island is a wildlife and marine sanctuary made up of five lagoons, white sand beaches, lush limestone, bat caves, and mangrove forests. Before it was transformed into a haven for various wild animals and plants, this island was a vulnerable habitat overrun by undesirable sea life. Its 43-hectare land is rich in biodiversity wrapped in wide-reaching seagrass beds and prolific coral reefs.
Under the stewardship of the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PRRCFI), along with the support of passionate individuals, the island was saved, beginning with the tallest tree, which is the home of nesting white-bellied sea eagles. It is open for educational camps and research activities with less than 10% of the island developed while the rest is dedicated to the preservation of its native biodiversity.
To visit, you may fill up this application form.
Palaui Island Protected Landscape and Seascape is an idyllic ecotourism destination that can be found in Santa Ana, Cagayan. The island was lauded as one of the best beaches in the world by CNN Travel, according to the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.
The 7,000 hectare-island boasts of untouched ecosystems and breathtaking marine life. A popular TV series titled “Survivor Philippines” filmed its two seasons in Palaui Island, which featured its scenic grasslands, tropical forests, and crystal blue waters that lap frolickingly through its 20-kilometer powdery shoreline.
Apo Island is one of the Philippines' most underappreciated ecotourism destinations located in Dauin, Negros Oriental, in Central Visayas.
This marine protected area is a perfect destination for those who enjoy diving and snorkeling because of the magnificent sea life there, including many turtles.
This island is one of the turtle hotspots in the country because of the amount of algae that female turtles frequently visit, not to mention the absence of predators and poachers. Other marine creatures you can spot on the island are bannerfish, batfish, mantas, reef sharks, frogfish, and nudibranchs, among others.
With more than 160 islands and islets in Cebu, Malapascua is a true mecca for nature enthusiasts. It is a prime destination for sustainable travel in the country because of its unique offering – diving with thresher sharks at Monad Shoal.
Other attractions you can visit on the island are Logon Beach, Guimbitayan Beach, Langub Beach, Bounty Beach, Underwater Caves in Gato Island, Kemod Shoal, Bugtong Bato, Lighthouse Reef, and Lighthouse Beach.
Cuatro Islas Protected Landscape and Seascape
Cuatro Islas, which literally translates to "four islands" in English, is one of the crown jewels of the island province of Leyte.
It is a group of islands composed of Apid, Digyo, Himokilan, and Mahaba located in the coastal areas of Inopacan and Hindang. The island was converted into a marine protected area because of overfishing, poorly managed fishery regulations, and an inefficient municipal solid waste management system.
As the island’s ecosystem recovered, more tourists flocked to the island, however, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources limited the number of visitors to 500 per day. In a study conducted by German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), it recommended that snorkelers be limited to 200 per day and the number of boats entering the island be limited to no more than 20 per day.
This is done to improve the protected areas so as to avoid overcrowding, which may potentially damage the island’s marine and other biodiversity resources.
Why don't we take a flight to Mindanao? Once Islas is one of the newest ecotourism attractions located in Zamboanga Del Sur. The island was opened to the public in July 2018, featuring 11 islands along the Moro Gulf. However, only four of them are ideal for water activities (Bisaya-Bisaya, Sirommon, Baung-Baung) and cultural touring (Buh-Buh).
Tourists will surely enjoy the island’s pristine white-sand beach, crystalline deep-green water, towering coconut trees, rock formations, and wide array of sea creatures.
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