"The Investments of the Local Government Units of Palawan on its Ecotourism Program"
25.04.2008 - 28.04.2008
I have mentioned in my previous posts that the 80 kilometer stretch of road from Puerto Princesa to Sabang (the take off point to the mouth of the underground river) is now half concrete (45 kilometers actually), 20 kilometers of rough road, and 15 kilometers of under construction road. The concreting of the road which is a city road as it is within the boundary of Puerto Princesa City may be considered as the biggest monetary investment of the local government o fPuerto Princesa City. It is a very important support infrastructure that definitely boosted the influx of both foreign and local tourists as it means convenient, fast and safe travel.
However, I would consider the investment of the City of Puerto Princesa in education as the most effective investment that would sustain the influx of tourists to the City and the Province. I am talking about the countless number of hours/months that they have invested in trainings for all of the important service providers in their tourism industry.
Take the case of the forest ranger/boat man/tourist guide rolled into one. Yes, he is only one person wearing tree hats! You have to experience it yourself on how you will be entertained as he safely and deliberately paddle the boat into the dark underground river. You will be impressed how all-knowing he is as he recites almost all the trivia and facts about the mineral formation inside the cave coupled with punch lines that would make an otherwise very scholarly scientific discourse a comic story telling! I compared notes with our van co-passengers since they rode a separate underground river boat. Indeed, the boatmen are a bunch of homogenous well-trained crew! The delivered same technical terms about the scientific facts of the cave, its formation, the bats, the swallows, etc…
Another group of service providers are the pump boat operators and their helpers. The City government requires that they undergo training not only in sea safety but also in courtesy before they are issued licenses. You feel safe while you are riding their pump boats.
Needless to mention is the corps of licensed tour guides who are likewise very knowledgeable about almost all topics about the current efforts of City Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn and his City Council on environmental conservation back ed by the entire community in a very systematic manner for the City to be able to live up its new label as the City in the Forest!
A strong, well motivated and active community engaged in tourism industry which is manifested by everyone is a product of a long systematic and conscious effort through regular community seminars/symposias, and trainings conducted by the local government. This spells the difference between Puerto Princesa and Palawan and the rest of the other tourist destination of the country. They are even disciplined! Here, you don’t litter even your cigarette butt, or else you will be fined.
Next post: the other tourist destinations in Puerto Princesa and the Province of Palawan.