Lobo Town To Boost Agrotourism In BatangasWednesday, July 04, 2012 05:15 AM Views : 2117Estrella Z. Gallardo
Lobo town that sits astride the mountainous corridor in the southernmost coast of Batangas is one of the 18 biodiversity hotspots in the country identified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), United Nations Environment Program and the International for the Conservation of Nature.
This means it has a lot to offer in the diversity of plants, animals, and landscapes, including the sea but losing a lot of this treasure to environmental degradation.
In Lobo, agriculture, ecology and tourism converge to benefit both communities and the environment, said Anacleto M. Caringal of the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) at the 1st National Agritourism Research Conference at the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), Los Banos, Laguna.
This was organized by SEARCA and the Tourism Foundation, Inc. (TFI) of the University of the Philippines, Diliman – Asian Institute of Tourism (UP-AIT), and held from June 27-29, 2012.
Lobo faces the Verde Island Passage and the diverse marine life and abundant fishery lap at a mountain range which is home to the Philippine teak, flying foxes, giant hardwood beetle, sugar apple, local rice varieties and tamarind forests, with coasts of lush, mangroves, submarine gardens and beachfront sceneries.
This is fascinating panorama, away from the rest of agropolitan southern Luzon, said Caringal, an Associate Professor of UPLB.
A decade of biodiversity research from 2000 to 2011 at the Batangas State University has prompted the Department of Science and Technology South Luzon Region Office and the town government to advocate for Lobo as a prime agrotourism platform in Batangas.
"Lobo possesses exceptional biodiversity features that will make this southern frontier more attractive to local, national and even international tourists," he said.
The Lobo Ecotourism Project incorporates a development plan that is culturally appropriate and conscious of the impact of visitors to the environment and the rural economy. The bottom line is biodiversity conservation to ensure that agroecotourism remains viable for generations if not forever.
"Communities are provided the training and the skills relevant to the ecotourism industry, made conscious of the importance of non-extractive investments in common properties that supports agricultural and mountain tourism," said Caringal.
"The project recognizes as a development strategy, tourism, especially cultural and mountain tourism, can both perpetuate local economic development in the rural village, and encourage biodiversity conservation on which the basic subsistence and cash economy of the local community depends," he said.