On July 17th and 18th after weeks and weeks of preparation, Usapang Turismo: El Nido 2017 went from a vision us fellows had been holding in our minds to a tangible reality.
After weeks of planning, series of discussions, and sheer hard work, we have sent the invites, prepared the workshops and finalized the logistics for the Forum. “Usapang Turismo: El Nido" is real, and it is happening.
An online image search of the words “El Nido” produces pages upon pages of island paradise photos: crystal clear blue water, beautifully strange limestone formations, and thriving biodiversity evoke the sense that this region is one of pristine nature undisturbed by human activity. It was with these images in mind that I took off for El Nido seven weeks ago, and as such was surprised upon arrival to find a bustling town teeming with the issues of rapid, unplanned urbanization.
As I looked down from the rocky cliff that towered over the seas of Palawan, I realized that this was going to be the highest jump that I will be making into the water.
It was a hot day; I could feel the cold sweat evaporating from the pores of my skin. I was perched atop Ille Cave deep in the heart of the Dewil Valley in New Ibajay. Not more than a meter to my left was a hundred-foot drop that guarantees certain death (*gulps*).
Week four of our GUI Fellowship began with us finally turning in our first deliverable – the comprehensive assessment of El Nido Resorts’ (ENR) sustainability practices. All of you may be wondering if we are actually getting to do any work with this exquisite and breathtaking backdrop consisting of the islands.
On Sunday morning, I woke up to a commotion coming from my bathroom door. I ignored it – it was our day off, and I felt like sleeping in. Still, every couple minutes I heard a distinctly feathery racket, making continued sleep impossible.