Taklobo Tours: Conservation, Tourism and Livelihood Opportunities in the Island Garden City of Samal, Southern Philippines

Girley S. Gumanao, Xavier Lopez, Lemuel Cardona, Marjho Mae Cardoza, Rosie Lyn Tejada, Cyril Tom Ranara, Rey Camacho, Emilio Glimada, Jerry Salinas, Condrado Ganadores, Cesar Petiluna, Dionisio Padrogane

Abstract


Taklobo Tours was launched in 2013 at Adecor, Samal Island, Southern Philippines, to promote giant clam conservation, ecotourism, and provide livelihood to 19 fisherfolk beneficiaries. This is to address the observations that coastal communities in Barangay Adecor and other areas in Region XI have violated RA 8550 on the rules and regulations of the CITES-listed species, Tridacna spp., and that fisherfolk have low income. This study aims to determine the impacts of Taklobo Tours to conservation, tourism, and livelihood of beneficiaries. Qualitative and quantitative data from 2013 to 2015 were used to analyze and describe the impacts. On top of the existing in-situ conservation of giant clams in a marine protected area (MPA), capacity building, conservation advocacy, policy support, and site development were among the site interventions. To date, the beneficiaries have increased their level of participation as conservation advocates, violations are no longer observed in the barangay, and communities have shown strong support for the advocacy. Being the banner tourism project of the local government, it has an increasing number of guests from 284 per month in 2013 to 700 per month in 2015, but usually higher during peak months of April and May. A total of 11,611 local and international guests visited and contributed to the income from fees amounting to PhP835,195.00. This provided additional income of PhP50 to PhP700 per month in 2013 and PhP500 to PhP4,800 per month in 2015 to the beneficiaries and sustainability fund to the project. This remarkable journey was made possible through the strong partnership of academe with local government units of Island Garden City of Samal and Adecor for technical assistance, promotion, management, and legislations. Regular monitoring is recommended to ensure project sustainability.


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