BOJO River in the midwest town of Aloguinsan, Cebu has been named by Green Destination as one of the three places in the Philippines that were included in the 2016 top 100 sustainable destinations in the world.

Cebu Provincial Tourism Head Boboi Costas said these areas, including Bojo River, were chosen for their community-based attractions.

The two other sustainable destinations in the country are Lake Sebu in South Cotabato and Lake Holon in T’boli town also in South Cotabato.

Costas believes that the influx of tourists in Bojo River because of the river cruise offered by the town was one of the reasons it has been chosen by Green Destination, an award giving body.

The top 100 list of sustainable destinations in the world is an initiative of the Green Destination and five other leaders in sustainable tourism, namely, Travel Mole’s Vision for Sustainable Tourism, Destination Stewardship Center, Asian Ecotourism Network, Sustainable Travel International, and Quality Coast.

Costas said that the organizers used 15 core criteria in judging a place, including the involvement of the village residents. These criteria include inhabitants involved in tourism, protection of people against exploitation, health and safety prevention, waste water treatment, and reduction of fossil fuel dependency.

In the Bojo River cruise, operators are using paddles for bancas instead of motor boats, which are powered by either diesel or gasoline.

The Bojo River cruise can accommodate at least 50 guests a day, said Shane Manigos.

Costas said that the benefits of tourism have trickled down to the community in terms of occupation and health.

Costas said these benefits include a scholarship program, a weekly river and coastal cleanup, medical missions, annual feeding program for kids, street lighting, and garbage management.