Bantay Kalikasan

Bantay Kalikasan and Partners Develop Master Eco-tourism Plan for Eastern Samar

Althea Cahayag
August 30, 2018

Bantay Kalikasan, together with Pirkko & Troytours, Inc., Philippine Association of Landscape Architects (PALA), and Credesign Construction, signed a memorandum of understanding to create a master eco-tourism plan for Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

The signing of memorandum of understanding was graced by (R-L) Angelita Lara (ALKFI's Chief Finance Officer), Josine Reyes (ALKFI's Head of Donor Management), Marissa Alcantara, Ph. D., (Pirkko & Troytours, Inc.'s President) Landscape Architect Jose Antonio Bimbao (Philippine Association of Landscape Architects' President), and Landscape Architect Kristofferson Reyes (Environmental Planner of the project and owner of Credesign Construction).

Jen Deomano Santos, BK’s Program Director said that the partnership rooted from the circumstance that Eastern Samar has no tourism masterplan.

“During my first visit to Guiuan, Eastern Samar, the LGU Tourism Office mentioned that they do not have a tourism masterplan. A masterplan is important for areas so that they have a strategic plan for any future development.

“We asked for volunteer consultants who can help us develop this masterplan. Marissa Alcantara, a BK partner and advocate, was instrumental in putting the volunteers together. These competent individuals who are experts in their fields and have worked on masterplans in other areas have generously agreed to do the work for free,” she explained.

Santos also pointed out that they have a memorandum of agreement with the LGU to cover the transportation and travel expenses for this project.

Under the partnership, sites like Manicani Island, Linao Cave, and Calicoan Surf Camp will be developed as eco-tourism sites to provide additional source of livelihood to the community.

Aside from helping create the masterplan and promote these tourist destinations, Pirkko & Troytours, Inc. through its President Marissa Alcantara, Ph. D., will also “help (the LGU) redo the historical and cultural sites, and to gather information in rebuilding their history.”

On the other hand, PALA and Credesign Construction will spearhead and provide relevant and expert knowledge and skills in the development of the Tourism Masterplan.

Landscape Architect Kristofferson Reyes, the Environmental Planner of the project and also the owner of Credesign said, “We are doing the environmental planning and architectural side. So as a team, we are doing the tourism master plan. That’s the primary output of this engagement.”

In addition, Landscape Architect Jose Antonio Bimbao, Philippine Association of Landscape Architects’ President, said that they want people to know that their designs can be accessible to everyone and can be a way to help the environment.

“We would like people to also be aware that as landscape architects, we do projects that are outside of our typical sphere of the developments that we do. We take the opportunity to show that the design is accessible to everyone, very much to the people who are in this kind of situation.

“These are very excellent projects for our roster of landscape architects who we believe that have the capability to produce solutions to these sites. We’d like to ensure that through proper design intervention, through methods that we believe that can help give progress, we can take care of the environment and I think that is one thing we are inline together with Bantay Kalikasan,” he added.

Likewise, ALKFI-BK will provide trainings to the community to strengthen community-based sustainable tourism.

In 1992, a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement was granted to mine nickel ore in the island to a Nickel Asia subsidiary, the Hinatuan Mining Corporation, leaving an open-pit mine in the island.