Most of us like to think of ourselves as responsible travelers. We don’t litter, we tip if the service is good, we treat locals well — we try to get it right. However we’ve fared up to now, a new destination is always a chance to review our travel habits.
If you’re asking, ‘How can I help or at least, not hurt, the places I visit?’ here are seven tips for sustainable holidays in the Philippines:
Go off the tourist trail
Looking for quiet areas and soothing views? Environmental impact is always higher where there are more people. Journey a little farther, and you’ll have some amazing destinations and attractions all to yourself. Finding lesser-known alternatives is a smart way to diversify your adventure and give heavily impacted sites a ‘rest’.
Book sustainable places to stay
Hotels have a big say in how destinations develop. Do a little research (Simply Philippines is perfect for that) to find accommodation that follows green practices, employs locals and gives back to the community. You’ll be glad you did! In the Philippines, your options range from camping sites to eco-friendly resorts and hotels.
Support the host community
Where do you want your money to go? We think hosting communities – not foreign brands or businesses — are the ones that should benefit most from tourism. Buying sustainable souvenirs, eating at local restaurants, sleeping in locally-owned hotels, and touring with local agencies contributes to the economic well-being of your destination. Good for you!
>>Inspired by these tips for sustainable holidays? Read how Simply Philippines got focused on eco-tourism after visiting this little-known island.
Cut out plastic
Treat plastic as if it’s your nemesis. Plastic bottles can take around 1000 years to decompose. That means your great-great-grandchildren will be gone but your plastic bottle will still be around. Crazy, huh? Could you bring your own water bottle, or buy one and refill it for the rest of your trip? What about saying ‘no thanks’ to plastic straws, bags and packaging? On small islands, small actions add up.
Be kind to the environment
It can be tricky to go through a destination causing no unnecessary harm, especially if irresponsible activities are common. Start by avoiding animal tourism except in shelters and rehabilitation centers. Follow guidelines closely and don’t interfere with animals’ natural habits (like feeding fish, for example.) You have a voice where plants and animals do not: Speak up if you see something wrong.
Experience heritage and culture
“What we pay for thrives, and what we refuse to pay for dies.” Your choices can motivate the protection of cultural and historical assets. One of our tips for sustainable holidays is to seek out the beautiful old homes, churches and museums that preserve your destination’s past. Visiting ancestral houses, going on educational tours, and buying from local craftsmen all encourage the survival of Filipino traditions.
Reduce resource consumption
Did you know that many islands in the Philippines don’t have enough water and electricity for their community, let alone visitors? You can be respectful of this situation by not wasting water and electricity. Turn off lights and air-conditioning when leaving your room, and re-use sheets and towels if they’re not dirty. Moderation shows you understand and sympathize with local issues.
What we pay for thrives, and what we refuse to pay for dies.
Issues like environment and economic inequality can seem huge and intangible. But when we do even one small thing to fix them, we see the solution is not that far away.
Follow these tips for sustainable holidays and have a lovely, low-impact trip to the Philippines!