Cebu Pacific, Siargao stakeholders join forces for sustainable tourism

Cebu Pacific, Siargao stakeholders join forces for sustainable tourism

23 Jan, 2019

As more Filipinos travel around the country, it opens-up cultural and leisure opportunities that were not accessible and available to previous generations. Tourism has also provided rural communities that lack a diversified economy more opportunities for employment and business.

But there is another side to the expansion of tourism. Natural habitats and ecosystems are affected by the building of roads, hotels, restaurants, and other establishments. Leisure activities such as trekking, climbing and scuba diving also have negative impacts such as littering and damage to coral reefs, flora and even fauna.

Leading Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific ramps-up its “Juan Effect” sustainable tourism program, particularly in its pilot area of Siargao Island. A partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT), “Juan Effect” aims to mitigate the impact of tourist arrivals on the environment.

“Juan Effect” engages travelers and local stakeholders, raising awareness among Filipinos about their responsibilities as tourists and encourages them to make a difference by changing one daily habit. The Department of Environment and Natural Resource and the Department of Interior and Local Government are also involved in the roll-out of “Juan Effect.”

“Since we launched ‘Juan Effect’ in August 2018, we have been working with the local government units in Siargao and the province of Surigao Del Norte to spur concerted action to properly manage the ever-increasing visitor numbers, ease the negative impact of tourism on the island, and balance the social and environmental concerns with its economic benefits,”said Candice Iyog, Vice President for Marketing and Distribution of Cebu Pacific.

So far, the implementation of the “Juan Effect” program has resulted in the passage of ordinances by some municipalities in Siargao that pertain to waste reduction and the usage of single-use plastic. Colorful murals and signs made of used surfboards have also been put up prior to the peak surfing season that began in September 2018 to help educate tourists and local residents.

The airline also commissioned the design and fabrication of receptacles that tourists can use to properly dispose of plastic bottles, which can then be collected to be made into eco-bricks or recycled. These plastic bottle receptacles will be deployed at key points in Siargao as well as outlying islands to encourage proper waste disposal, and are designed to withstand strong waves and winds.

Cebu Pacific will also work with local stakeholders to introduce practices to minimize waste in the ground and in the ocean. Engagement activities will be led by “Juan Effect” advocates Erwan Heussaff, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, and Kyle “Kulas” Jennerman. To drum-up even more public awareness and support, a colorful mural of the underwater designed by fast-rising visual artist and muralist Anina Rubio will be painted on the perimeter wall of the Dapa Elementary School to bring life to the community and inspire everyJuan to do their parts for the environment.

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