Friday, September 21, 2018

Call for sustainable tourism

OVER the years, more and more Filipinos, especially millennials are exploring places to either learn new cultures and experience nature or just take pictures to post online.

The latter is sad and superficial. But it is how the world views millennials as a traveler. Superficial.

Breaking the stereotype are five teams composed of young spirited Filipinos who have both the desire to travel and hunger for learning. The teams, who are this year’s participants for Cebu Pacific’s (CEB) Juan For Fun (JFF), are all promising one commitment: to travel responsibly and promote sustainable tourism.

The five young travelers (with their teams), who are based in Davao, Zamboanga del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, Baguio and Iloilo, are presently enjoying the beautiful Philippine destinations. The backpacking adventure started last March 23.

CEB director for marketing Blessie Cruz, in an interview with SunStar Davao, said this year’s JFF returns with a new mission of enabling young Filipinos to travel around the country and equipping them with knowledge to become a responsible traveler.

She emphasized that through JFF they are promoting sustainable and responsible tourism to the youth thereby creating a generation of responsible travelers.

“We want them to realize that in traveling, beyond the fun and adventure, you have to be responsible as well,” she said at the sidelines of the Juan For Fun 2018 send-off party at Ibiza Beach Club in Mactan, Cebu last Tuesday, May 22.

Michael Saturos from Davao City, one of JFF’s five winners, sees the activity beyond fun and relaxation.

As a student environmentalist who has been pushing environmental awareness among youth, he treats JFF as a perfect opportunity to encourage others to travel with a purpose.

“As young travelers, there is something we can do to preserve our rich natural wonders. There is an urgent need to protect and nurture our environment as we face different environmental issues in the country,” he said.

The Davao-based participant is a volunteer of Philippine Eagle Foundation and is active in various youth and environment groups in the country.

He is traveling with his best buddies, Mendel Cristine Naigel and Marian Jule Cedeno, who also share similar advocacies he is pushing. All are students of University of the Philippines–Mindanao taking Bachelor of Science in Food Technology.

The other JFF participants, Elmo Ador, Jr. of Iloilo; Frances Banico of Sultan Kudarat; Ronil Jr. Ferolino of Zamboanga del Sur; and Jonathan Cuanso of Baguio City, also vowed the same promise: to learn something from the week-long adventure and develop an attitude of a true, sensible wanderer.

From chasing waterfalls, to climbing a mountain, all these can be more fun and memorable if done with a deeper purpose and understanding that traveling is more than just taking photos and posting online.