Skills training for Mt. Pulag eco-tour guides held

SERIES of skills enhancement trainings started for the eco-tour guides, porters, homestay owners, store-keepers and small scale entrepreneurs of Mt. Pulag National Park.

The activity is part of the implementation of the WOW Project being implemented within the national park.

On March 30 to 31, a skills enhancement seminar-training was held at the Benguet State University, Bokod campus attended by 70 eco-tour guides, porters, homestay owners, store-keepers and small scale entrepreneurs who are collectively referred to as the front liners in Mt. Pulag National Park.

Protected Area Superintendent Emerita Albas said the series of trainings are conducted to capacitate the front liners of ecotourism in Mt. Pulag which will consequently result to improved products and services within the prominent mountaineering destination.

On the first day, discussed were the salient features of the Republic Act No. 9147 known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, the prohibited acts and corresponding penalties under it by Albas.

Lectures on tour packaging, personality development, basic tour guiding and basic communication skills were also delivered by Francis Likigan Jr. from the Provincial Tourism Office of Benguet with an actual demonstration of tour guiding by the participants.

On the second day, topics dwell on financial management wherein Ms. Jocelyn Aquinse, who used to manage the book of accounts of the Mt. Pulag Eco-tour Guides and Porters Association, shared her knowledge and experiences.

Security management was also highlighted which provided a venue for the participants to share their experiences, issues and concerns in the field to the resource person, Police Senior Superintendent Florante Camuyot of Philippine National Police Benguet.

Among the issues raised and addressed were rescue and recovery protocols; instances wherein trekkers insist to hike despite bad weather conditions; and the legality of and protocols on inspection of alcohol and prohibited drugs among visitors.

Lastly, Fire Officer Walter Paleng from the Bureau of Fire Protection Bokod discussed on related principles, procedures, strategies and tips on fire prevention and management.

Trainings on advanced tour guiding, tour packaging, massaging, food preparation and packaging and souvenir making are expected to follow the following months. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-CAR is also eyeing to facilitate the accreditation of the participants with the Department of Tourism-CAR as eco-tour guides.

The WOW Project is a new initiative of the DENR-CAR which follows the framework of the Sustainable Integrated Area Development and Management that promotes environmental stewardship while improving the quality of the lives of people through economically-viable enterprises.

For this year, the implementation of the WOW Project in Mt. Pulag National Park will focus on organizational strengthening and capacity building of the front liners. (PR)

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