TANYA Rabat-Tan advocates sustainability, and practices what she preaches at home and at work. She carries a refillable water bottle, and recycles and segregates disposables. In fact, she’s the woman behind Mati City’s Solid Waste Integrated Management (Swim). The breakthrough project was
implemented long before the Boracay rehabilitation was announced.
“Swim aims to address the coastal degradation of Pujada Bay and the Dahican stretch, caused by irresponsible solid waste disposal practices and illegal structures in the areas. These areas are major sources of livelihood for many and major tourism attractions of Mati. Dahican is a famous skim and surf site and home to dugongs, dolphins, pawikans, whale sharks, while the Philippine Eagle soars the skies of Pujada Bay and nests at Mt. Hamiguitan Natural Heritage Park,” she shared.
Coincidentally, the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) thrust is sustainable tourism. As fate would have it, she was appointed the the DOT director for Region XI. Tanya gained a bigger platform to promote an advocacy. The DOT Region XI office has imbibed sustainability in the workplace, taking its sustainable tourism campaign to all sectors of the region. Through constant information drive and application, the campaign aims to embed the sustainable lifestyle into everyone’s consciousness.
“The regional office has initiated several training programs and workshops for tourism enterprise, local government units (LGUs) and other tourism and hospitality organizations to advocate and embrace sustainability and resilience. We have engaged them in sustainability projects and we take part in it. We want to instill awareness by spearheading programs and being involved.”
The practice of recycling, reusing and reduction of single-use plastic alone is a big step forward for the campaign. Green projects, like tree planting and coastal cleanups, are good initiative. But the DOT encourages the private sectors to hold it more frequently.
Sustainability is also about the preservation and promotion of local culture. Davao Region has 18 tribes, each unique in its identity. The DOT encourages the LGUs and stakeholders to align their projects with the department’s campaign by creating facilities incorporated with the local tribes’ cultural identity. Tourists should feel the authenticity of the place.
“I believe tourism is not just about destinations. More than the sights and sounds, it is the experience of immersing one’s self with the local culture that makes the trip worthwhile. This is what I want to focus on,” said Tanya
Tanya’s advocacy extends to her sense of fashion. Enduring is the key word.
“My closet has pieces that I bought 10 years ago which I use regularly. Durability, cost and style that transcends trends are major considerations. I rarely shop but when I do, it’s to replace a worn out piece,” she confessed.
“I’m very cost-conscious and OC (obsessive compulsive) on choice of material. I prefer basic pieces I can mix and match, and can take me from work to evening functions. One of the brands I’m a big fan of is M&S. You’d be surprise as to how much of this label occupies my closet.” (PR)