A UN agency trains the actors of the Sibalom natural park in ecotourism

KNOWLEDGE TOUR. Participants in a training workshop on community ecotourism development sponsored by the United Nations Development Program-Biodiversity Finance Initiative, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, at the Natural Park of Sibalom at Antique. Held from May 25 to June 3, 2022, the training provided stakeholders with concepts on community-based ecotourism, as the park opened as a tourist destination in March. (Photo courtesy of SNP)

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Ancient – The United Nations Development Program Biodiversity Finance Initiative (UNDP-BIOFIN) has trained selected residents, environmental officials and staff from other government agencies on how to care for and properly maintain the Sibalom Natural Park (SNP).

The SNP, about 12 kilometers from Sibalom town proper, opened as an ecotourism destination on March 1.

It has a total area of ​​12,289.91 hectares, of which 5,511.47 hectares is covered by Presidential Proclamation 282 and Republic Act 7586, also known as the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act (NIPAS). ), and an additional 6,778.44 hectares by RA 11038 or the expanded NIPAS Act. of 2018.

It covers 17 villages, namely Cabladan, Cabanbanan, Imparayan, Igpanulong, Indag-an, Bugnay, Villafont, Luna, Bontol, Tordesillas, Tula-tula, Calooy, Bululacao, Lambayagan, Luyang, Igparas and Valentin Grasparil.

The UNDP-BIOFIN training workshop, held from May 25 to June 3, taught participants the concept of community-based ecotourism.

In an interview on Monday, SNP Protected Area Superintendent Anthony Evangelio said UNDP-BIOFIN chose Sibalom Park because of its characteristics, available facilities and organized communities.

“The natural park was recommended by the Office of Biodiversity Management of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Division of National Parks among the 246 protected areas in the Philippines for training support due to its characteristics and of his state of readiness,” he said.

The participants had other activities such as script writing and guided tour simulation; conference on ecotourism as a business; develop and cost a package trip; the management of environmental impacts linked to tourism; and running a community ecotourism organization.

“There is a need for stakeholders to have a better understanding of the concepts of ecotourism and sustainable tourism so that they can preserve the characteristics of the natural park even though it has already been opened to tourists,” Evangelio said.

Rafflesia speciosa, a parasitic plant endemic to the Philippines, is found in the SNP.

It is considered the largest flower in the world, spreading up to 56 centimeters or 22 inches in diameter when in full bloom.

It was discovered in 2000 and is one of SNP’s main attractions.

Visayan Warty Hog, Visayan Tarictic Hornbill, Visayan Walden Hornbill and Visayan Spotted Deer also exist in SNP due to its natural vegetation while ancient trees, such as Lua-an species, have been preserved inside the natural park.

Amenities now available include picnic tables, a gazebo and cabins that can accommodate families for at least one night. (NAP)

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