Case study on community based ecotourism activities in donsol, sorsogon seeing ecotourism as a conservation tool towards sustainable development presentation
Case Study: Community-Based Ecotourism Activities in Donsol, Sorsogon: Seeing Ecotourism as a Conservation Tool Towards Sustainable Development Serrano, Vinson P. Plan 201A University of the Philippines- DilimanPersonal photos of Vinson Serrano taken May 2010 School of Urban and Regional Planning
Donsol, Sorsogon An Ecotourism Destination Donsol is a coastal town with a total land area of 152.99 sq. km. and is located at the northwestern part of the province of Sorsogon, which occupies the southern terminus of the Bicol Peninsula. Of the total land area, about 25.64 sq. km. comprises the built-up urban area and 15.68 sq. km. is devoted to agricultural purposes, and about 13.86 sq. km. is reserved for recreational and tourism purposes. Some 5.33 sq. km. of undifferentiated lands including waterways of are not fully developed.Personal photos of Vinson Serrano taken May 2010
Donsol, SorsogonGoogle Earth Image taken May 2010
Municipality of Donsol, SorsogonDonsol, Sorsogon It is geographically located about 12° 54 26.896" north latitude and 123° 36 28.867" east longitude. It is 66 kilometers away from the City of Sorsogon and 51 kilometers away from the City of Legazpi in the province of Albay A provincial road connects Donsol to the municipality of Pilar while provision for road network connecting Donsol to the two adjacent municipalities of Jovellar and Pioduran has been considered andSource: BSWM- Donsol CLUP included in the development plan of the municipality.
Donsol, SorsogonThe settlement role of the municipality of Donsol under the SorsogonProvincial Physical Frameworks Plan, Year 1993- 2002 is that of a smalltown. Its principal role therefore is as a Small Agri-Processing.Sitting on the northwestern part of Sorsogon Province, Donsol marksthe provincial boundary on the northwest, adjoining the province ofAlbay. Thetown has 51 barangays, 11 of which aresituated in the coastal areas of the municipality. With a population of 39,995, population growth is relatively high, at an annual rate of 3.23%, higher than the national average of 2.36%. Donsol Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Local Government Unit of Donsol,Sorsogon. 07/17/2009. Community-Based Ecotourism and Coastal Resources Management Project in Donsol, Sorsogon. http://www.wwf.org.ph/about.php?pg=wwd&sub1=00011. 07/17/2009.
In January 1998, the sudden discovery of whale sharks or Butanding (Rhincodon Typus) along the shores of Donsol, Sorsogon in the Bicol region have turned a once-quiet town from an ill-equipped community into a potential ecotourism destination in the country. Such discovery brought an influx of tourists and unprecedented effects of the growing community development giving rise to several community development problems. Moreover, the concept of ecotourism is to be further established in the operations of the municipal planning development as it aims to become an effective tool for conservation towards sustainable development.In a span of five years, Donsol, Sorsogon was transformed from a fifth classmunicipality to third class due to the economic benefits and contribution of this activity.to ecotourism activities. , there is no other Inspite of the occurrence of whale sharks in other parts of the world place like Donsol, where the major school of whale sharks is found at a particular time. Such sighting proved that the bodies of water in Donsol are rich with the presence of phytoplanktons- microscopic species which are the main food of these gentle giants. From then on, the continuous relationship of the whale sharks and the shores of Donsol primarily gave more than enough opportunities to the locals and the neighboring towns to economically sustain their everyday living as well as to divert their livelihood means of fishing and farming to ecotourism activities. Serrano, Vinson P. Aquatika: Whale Shark Exploration Center. University of Santo Tomas Undergraduate Thesis. Espana,Manila. 03/2010. Community-Based Ecotourism and Coastal Resources Management Project in Donsol, Sorsogon. http://www.wwf.org.ph/about.php?pg=wwd&sub1=00011. 07/17/2009.
Whale Shark Watching: Response to ThreatsWhale Shark Conference in Perth,Australia in May 2005scientific experts and representatives from non-government organizations, inter-governmental organizations, and the tourism industry from 23 countriesagreed that ecotourism, when appropriate, is the obvious answer to reversethe effects of extractive uses of this magnificent creature. Whale shark ecotourism has flourished in many parts of the world, including Mexico, Belize, and the Seychelles, as a sustainable and equitable community-based venture. Community-Based Ecotourism and Coastal Resources Management Project in Donsol, Sorsogon. http://www.wwf.org.ph/about.php?pg=wwd&sub1=00011. 07/17/2009.
Objectives of the Study Assess the on-going activities and future plans of development of Donsol, Sorsogon in line with their main ecotourism activity- the whale shark interaction. Furthermore, it is aimed to assess impacts of development on the locality and howecotourism is aimed to become a tool for conservation towards sustainable development.Its objective is to look on the aspect of sustainable development that environmental, experiential, will incorporate sociocultural, and economic dimensions of every step of development in the municipality.
Definition : Ecotourism and Carrying CapacityAccording to The Australian National Ecotourism,Ecotourism is defined as nature-based tourism thatinvolves education and interpretation of the naturalenvironment and is managed to be ecologicallysustainable. On the other hand, The International Ecotourism Society defines Ecotourism as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people. carrying capacity is a measure of the amount ofAccording to Halpenny (2002),human activity that a site can biophysically sustain without severelychanging its ecology. It aims to establish the limits of tourism development in a particulartowards the general concept of sustainability. Halpenny,E. Marine Ecotourism: Impacts, International Guidelines, and Best Practices Case Studies. The International Ecotourism Society. Burlington VT. 2002. M.E.Wood. Ecotourism: Principles, Practices, and Policies.United Nations Environment Programme. UN Publication. 2002. Lindberg, K. et.al. Ecotourism in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues and Outlook. The International Ecotourism Society. 01/1998.
Donsol : Tourism ActivitiesTo assess the ecotourism activities of Donsol, Sorsogon and itsimplications on urban development, provided below is the list ofannual activities of the municipality. A. Peak Season B. Off-Peak Season Butanding Arribada Festival Firefly Watching Whale Shark Interaction Manta Ray Diving The Grotto Catundulan C. Daily Activity Tuba Falls The Astilleros Site Snorkeling Tankulan Mangrove Ecopark Boating Scuba Diving Donsol’s Tourist Attractions. http://www.nscb.gov.ph/ru5/overview/profiles/donsol/tourism.htm. 08/31/2009.
Donsol: Establishment of Carrying Capacity•Inventory environment•Maintain an inventory of all resources•Experts Evaluation•Identify all cultural and natural resources•Evaluate available water and power resources•Identify the specific kinds and levels of use•Identify level of service proposed•Estimate the maximum number of estimate effect of climaticconditions•Evaluate the extent of buildings, landscaping and equipment Halpenny,E. Marine Ecotourism: Impacts, International Guidelines, and Best Practices Case Studies. The International Ecotourism Society. Burlington VT. 2002. M.E.Wood. Ecotourism: Principles, Practices, and Policies.United Nations Environment Programme. UN Publication. 2002. Lindberg, K. et.al. Ecotourism in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues and Outlook. The International Ecotourism Society. 01/1998.
• Conversion of agricultural lands to tourism related use • Sporadic development on road networks brought by linear development • Receding coastline resulted by climate change and human intervention • Poor waste management on coastal barangaysSieve Map Analysis • No provision of disaster risk Municipality of Donsol, Sorsogon related facilties • Urban fabric with no distinct point affecting site permeability and legibility • Less provision of communal spaces and facilities such as parks and public recreation center Base, General Land Use, Tourism and Transportation Facilities MapSource: BSWM- Donsol CLUP
• Rapid development of accommodation facilities (of various levels) along coastal barangays with improper provisions on setbacks • Poor infrastructure development (roads and bridges) • High density of human settlements in the Poblacion AreaSieve Map Analysis • Municipality of Donsol, Sorsogon Poor sanitation and waste management • Lack of protective services facilities thus pose threat of terrorism • Docking facilities with no provision of regulation and waste disposal contributes to the environmental degradation Base, General Land Use, Tourism and Transportation Facilities MapSource: BSWM- Donsol CLUP
Donsol: Ecotourism as Conservation Tool Towards Sustainable Development In view of ecotourism as a conservation tool towards sustainable development, Donsol community stakeholders played a vital role in the development of ecotourism activities and on furthering tourism value of the site through educationalinfiltration. Based on their set of annual activities, Donsol has a rotational operation to sustain the tourism sector that resulted to drastic positive effects on economic, social, institutional and environmental aspects.
Proposed General Land Use Map Municipality of Donsol, SorsogonSource: BSWM- Donsol CLUP
Donsol: Ecotourism as Conservation Tool Towards Sustainable Development The good transition of responsibilities- from accommodation, small-medium industries supporting tourism, and other interconnected industries have harmoniously organized acircumventing proportionality of symbiosis- that eachand every industry supports one another and reduce the negative impacts of overlapping activity. Thus, this has made Donsol as a good model of ecotourism center in the Philippines, if not in the global perspective.
Donsol Ecotourism : Urban Development Implications: Current Scenario and RecommendationsDonsol’s urban fabrichas been observed to develop on the idea of linear development On the physical aspect, building regulations and standards on setbacks were not strictly observed thus needing an institutional revamp on the particular issue.Integration of added protective services may addressthe growing threat of terrorism and crime incidence by opposing militantgroups on the area.
Donsol Ecotourism : Urban Development Implications: Current Scenario and RecommendationsAs site permeability is concerned- the ability of people to accessthe municipality in respect to proper urban form legibility, there are onlyonly two ways to access the current location of the visitor center frominland towns and cities- either by water or land access. In line with this, the proponent’s recommendation regarding the location of the visitor center should be relocated due to the overlapping developments on the Poblacion area. This has resulted to various problems of transporation, security, health and sanitation, and posses a bigger threat on environmental degradation.Environment support facilities should be integrated on coast lines that willbe strengthened through policies or guidelines on accommodationfacilities. A provision of a central utilities system mayalso be provided, to secure environmental protection on the sensitivetypology of the municipality.
Donsol Ecotourism : Urban Development Implications: Current Scenario and RecommendationsOther tourism spots and attractions shown on the MunicipalTourism Map should be explored and be strengthened toredirect human settlements from rising within the barangay boundaries ofPoblacion area. Development of open parks and spaces within the municipality could open up opportunities for the small scale to medium scale industries.
Donsol Ecotourism : Urban Development Implications: Current Scenario and Recommendations Disaster Risk Management Plan to prepare the municipality in times of unwanted events that should be envisioned to maintain good support on the tourism and livelihood of the municipality.As the municipality is still predominant of agricultural lands, themaximization of brownfield development should betaken into consideration so as to secure food security and mainstreamincome for Donsol in case of the absence of tourism influx.