Wednesday, October 08, 2008


This is the consumerist trend of travel which destroyed environments, displaced indigenous communities and sold bodies. how much more price we have to pay for uneducated tourists and for money devils in the tourism industry. the old money-making tricks has created a devastating lifestyle trend which has caused a planet to overheat. an average tourist would use up at least 12 kilos of waste a day and 5 gallons of water on the average... this is how much stress we cause to any place a tourist would visit... do we really think about the ill effects of carbon footprints we leave behind when we ride airplanes, buses, taxis, and jeepneys and stay in airconditioned rooms? how much energy do we have to waste just to get a sugar boost of an ice cold coke. these are serious considerations which may require serious change of lifestyles.

i learned from a research study that an alarming 3% original forest cover in the country has deminished even more. i am worried and cried for many nights when i see the forests in my island being bulldozed and dinosaur-age-old giant ferns being slashed and mountains cut like bread leaving behind a loose volcanic soil of vandalized forest floor. A danger zone at the neck of a volcano is a hazard area that is not safe for homestead would have been sacred if left untouched not to mention the natural beauty tarnished for a lifetime. the road has yet to find its end, while the side of the mountain is loosing its grip, so maybe nature has a way to show resistance from humanity's misgivings. maybe the waterfalls has to maintain its isolation away from cars parked next to it as envisioned as a future development project. Maybe its better when tourists make a strong statement not to support any establishment violating natural ands enviromental laws. Can we leave nature as prestine and untouched as possible. Another hundreds of years is needed to recreate such a paradise, and once lost, then we have nothing to look forward to in the future.

it is like a death sentence when over development has engulfed us with monster buildings in the name of leisure and holiday and giant seawalls to protect properties from raving waves. Maybe we have to listen more deeply to the oceans pushing anything on its way away for man has yet to learn to respect the tempest of nature and its sacredness. maybe we have to read again the constitution and the environmental laws of high tide lines and its restrictions. In this post modern age in this part of the world, we still seems to be alien to the the word ecotourism. It is rather an afterthought or we are not sure or in doubt if we have to be serious about environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. BIG words and motherhood statements that maybe does not really mean anything to coca cola trained tastebuds. A monoculture has ruled the world just like an idiot box as a supernatural description of Kidlat Tahimik for a television rogramming the psyche of a nation to keep on buying anything especially cheaper products made in China. shall we wait for a volcanic eruption to clean up the mess. maybe the mountains will rage its fury one day to bring us back to our senses. Maybe one day when one become an archeological site and become fertilizer of the earth, shall one truly know our relationship with the mother earth. How much time there is before greed and the never ending excessive lifestyle defeats this planet. How much roads in the forest has yet to be built to give way to cars and people.

As tourists you can make choices as to what to support and promote. A critical mass is needed to make tourism estbalishment respect the environmental laws. Then maybe we can all create together a stronger position as we slowly change consciousness from within. As one of my favorite statements of Mahatma Gandhi "Be the change you want to see happen in the universe."

Tourism is a big force in the changing lifetyles and world views. Each tourist can help serve as sounding board, walking travel guide book and personalized information bureau to spread a strong consciousness in the travellers community. We a hundred people in one journey or maybe more, and maybe it can be a chance of a lifetime to open their hearts to the ways of the sacred tourism, where respect for people, culture and nature comes first and treated the greatest resource for a sustainable co-existence.

Maybe next time you buy, throw and leave a place, you can also make sure the you give something in return as an exchange of the experience. I thought travel is about meeting interesting people and finding the beautiful corners of nature.

when i grow up, i want to be a child...

When i first started riding motorcycles farther away from home and stood in places higher than my roof, i realized there is so much to explore and discover in the world. The monocrop plantations of sugarcanes is all i know as a playground growing up in the sugarlandia of this country. But when i started to discover mountain trails that lead me to the peaks of hills and forests, i slowly felt the passion for adventure and walking an extra mile. Mountaineering brought me the the outskirts and hinterlands, made my feet stronger, and trained my lungs to breathe and sustained my interest for the outdoors. Later I realized I was in an attempt to climb higher mountains inside me. Hopping from one island, mountain, volcano, lakes, rivers and seas to the next, has made my dancing feet furious to see the wild unbeaten path and exhaust my resources to see a wider vista and expansive panorama in between wild flowers and firelies.

The first independent travel that i deliberately planned was to discover my roots away from the big cities and back to the indigenous communities. Then i met the people that change my life forever. i felt i made a complete loop this lifetime being born a Filipino. Growing up in the heart of this country, made me hear the softest and sweetest intonations that is best used in the art of persuasions. I became curious about other comunities when i heard a different language than mine. When i discovered that a bus ride can take me to the world heritage sites and caves and burial grounds, i hurriedly made commitments to my weekends only spent in sacred places.

I baptized myself in the world of mountaineering in the highest hill near my hometown in negros. then later an unforgetable climb in the highest moutain Mt. Kanlaon, an active volcano gave me a sunrise experience on top of the saddle campsite with three volcanic crater cavities and spewing sulfuric gas around me is an experience i can never forget. i never stopped chasing sunrises again until sunsets and moonrises. The dark nigts is left with the stargazer's wishes aboard yacths, on top of jetties, by the seashores and outside the tents.

An opportunity to cross the island gave me a glimpse of the the endless horizon and the seas. I thought Manila and Mindanao was so far and my Moro brothers are aliens. Then later my destiny brought me to this land of promise and my life was never the same again, it was also hard to leave. Visayas has given birth to my body. Manila and Luzon has given me mental nourishment and opened my life. But Mindnao gave me back my soul. It was i think the flute of Waway Saway that called me back to my ancestors. Then the journey started to lead me to more mindscapes when the handiwork of Kublai Millan brought me back to my creativity as the language of my spirituality.

The story just began. My development work and outdoor adventures brought me to almost all the major moutnains, cities and highways all over this country. After having seen 90% of the archipelago, i can only breathe out a few words, "I am happy i am born in this paradise country" where the people are warm, the weather is gentle and the sea is a great bounty. The textures and diversity in this country is a life changing puzzle worth all the terrors of volcanic eruptiops, the scare of typhoons and the cruelty of natural catastrophies. This country is a tapestry of eventful learning experiences and anything-goes surprises. The resilience of the people is somehow an asset to withstand any tropical depressions.


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