2 Asean awards for CV groups

SANTA ANA, Cagayan—A Cagayan Valley-based environment association received the prestigious Association of South East Asian Nations Tourism Award for the protection of Palaui Island, the Department of Tourism announced.

DoT Regional Director Virgilio Maguigad said the Palaui Environmental Protection Association here is the first recipient of the Asean Tourism Award’s newest category, Community-Based Tourism.

The awards have set specific requirements for tourism standards in the categories of Green Hotels, Homestays, Spa Services, Public Toilets, Clean Cities, and Tourism Security and Safety.

Earlier, Maguigad said the Batanes Homestay Association also gained an award in a ceremony held recently in Singapore with Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge in Basco as an entry.

He said Fundacion Pacita was the first recipient in Region 2 when it won the Asean Tourism Awards’ Green Hotel category in 2015.

“It is a back-to-back win for the Cagayan Valley region for bagging these two categories,” Maguigad said.

He said of the four awardees from the Philippines, two came from Cagayan Valley.

In 1993, PEPA was organized as a cooperative with the help of Process Luzon, and later with the assistance of Cagayan Economic Zone Authority and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“This is an added honor for Region 2, which also gave a marketing advantage for the town of Santa Ana town and its Palaui Island,” Maguigad said.

Marie Joyce Jayme-Calimag, CEZA public relations chief, said the United States-based Cable News Network has ranked Palaui Island as 10th among the 100 most beautiful islands and beaches in the world, and has now become the summer vacation choice among tourists.

Calimag said it was in this island where the reality shows “Survivor: Blood versus Water” and “Survivor Cagayan” were filmed, showing its glorious white sand meeting volcanic rocks and blue-green water.

Inhabited by more than 200 families, mostly of the Aeta or Agta tribe, Palaui has overtaken some of the most popular destinations such as Greece, Trinidad and Tobago, Madagascar, Brazil, Barbados and Mexico. 

It placed even higher than El Nido in Palawan (14th) and Puka Beach in Boracay (84th) on the CNN list, Calimag added.

Grace Ruiz, CEZA community development officer, hopes PEPA will continue its best practices in the protection of the environment in tourist destinations such as Palaui.

Ruiz, who accompanied Maguigad in Singapore for the awards, said they will make sure to collaborate with PEPA to protect the island’s environment and assist other community-based tourism groups in the province.

Topics: Cagayan Valley , Association of South East Asian Nations Tourism Award , Palaui Island , Department of Tourism , Palaui Environmental Protection Association , Community-Based Tourism
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