Archive | March, 2013

Travel tips: How to be a responsible backpacker

27 Mar

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Philippine Online Chronicles is a weekly online publication which features a new kind of news. POC presents a multiplicity of perspectives in a single article.

Angela Colmenares ‘s insight:

(Previous: Responsible tourism: The right way to travel)

Being a responsible traveller starts with planning ahead and having the right choices regarding where and how to go based on your objectives.

Here are some easy tips to for responsible travel:



G – Go to destinations that are not only spectacular, but also educational and promoting respect to nature and cultural heritage as well.


E – Educate yourself with basic information about the place. Try to look into the site’s history, culture, advisory notices and more information as much as you can. It’s also good to learn a few simple words in the local dialect like “hello,” and “thank you.” Local people could appreciate your efforts to integrate with them.


T – Travel Guides. Travel guides could save your life! It could come handy to avoid getting lost. It contains basic geographical knowledge such as maps, transportation means, popular destinations, etc. You don’t need to buy from a bookstore. You can just Google.


P – Pack Light. It is good to pack everything you think you might need, but please don’t burden yourself with a lot of stuff. Plan what you need to bring depending on your activities and how long you would stay there. Figure out what you are going to wear every day… and please, try to be simple to avoid heavy bag problems.


You may need a medical kit, toiletries, light towel, sun block, extra bag for dirty & wet clothes, drinking tumbler, etc. Don’t forget to bring your I.D., ATM or credit cards, and, of course, enough money! Have a checklist to avoid forgetting things.


If you’re a frequent traveler, there’s a thing called the “art of packing” that might be helpful. It saves bag spaces, avoids ugly bag bulges, and organizes your things so you could easily find them. An ideal bag should have compartments and several pockets. But in case you don’t have that kind of bag, you may use smaller bags or packing cubes bags that suck out the air to compress clothing. You may also improvise by using large Ziplocs or re-used plastic shopping bags to separate your clothes from your other stuffs. Toiletries should be in a separate pouch as well as your medical kit. Put containers with liquids inside a Ziploc plastic bag especially when travelling by plane.


Secure fragile and valuable items like camera, cellular phones and wallets in a pouch or hand-carry bag that you should always bring with you.  Mirrors, sunglasses, glass bottles, and other fragile items in the luggage should be protected in cloth wraps or cases. It’s also handy to bring a small padlock to secure your luggage.


A –Avoid bringing plastics and products with wasteful packaging. Prevent yourself from being a trash generator.Don’t bring contrabands to avoid getting into trouble. Also refrain from bringing a lot of gadgets. (Come on! You’re in a vacation to enjoy, in the first place, not play with digital games.)


C – Contact persons and communications. Ensure that there are ways that certain people can contact you in cases of emergencies.Have local contact persons in your destination, especially if you are a stranger in the place.Remember that communication is very important to avoid making your life miserable.


K – Know your itinerary to maximize your stay. It will not only help you plan what to wear or bring, but could also save you from trouble of being left behind the group for knowing what time to leave and where to go. Proper scheduling could also maximize your time in able for you to reach more destinations and meet more people within a limited period of time.

E – Economics. Check the balance of your bank account. Ensure that you have enough money and resources for the travel. Keep extra money in case of emergency.


D – Drive. If you’re driving to point of destination, check if the vehicle is properly conditioned. Ensure spare tires, tools, coolant, fuel, breaks, etc. and make sure that you can operate the vehicle proficiently.



S – SENSITIVITY TO PEOPLE & THEIR CULTURE. Tourists should always remember that they are in a place that is someone else’s home. Your destination may be a community of people and other species in the biodiversity. Try your best to make your trip be less invasive and be more favorable to the community. Listening to the locals is the best way to understand and respect their culture, environment and aspirations. Do not take, destroy or vandalize archaeological or biological treasures.


E – ECONOMICS & DIRECT CONTRIBUTION TO LOCAL ECONOMY. Try to spend less. Be also smart on what and whom to buy. Buy local products and services and choose to support locally-owned businesses, community tour operators, and artisans. Through this, you will not only get stuffs for a cheaper price, your money will also go directly to the local community. Try not to be so aggressive when bargaining. Keep in mind the hard labor the producers has put on the product and that the purchases that you make could help them feed their families.


N – NATURE FRIENDLINESS. Do your part to conserve the natural beauty of the place by following designated trails, avoiding impacts on critically sensitive biodiversities, and respecting the natural environment. Remember the saying, “Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, and leave nothing but footprints.”


Also avoid buying products made from threatened natural resources and report poaching and other illegal activities to the local authorities.


S – SAFETY. Always keep safety a priority. It is best to travel with a companion and with a clear sense of direction. Familiarize yourself with the place. Tourists could also be attractive targets for thieves. Do not go alone to lonely and dark places and don’t wear expensive jewelries and accessories. Beware of scams and know where to get help.


E – ENGAGE, EXPLORE AND ENJOY. Engage in people and local culture. Every trip gives unique opportunities to explore new sceneries and culture. Enjoy eating local delicacies, shopping in the local markets, attending to festivals, and trekking the terrain. Travelling is also being in solidarity with the local people.


S – SHARE YOUR RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL.  Share responsible travel tips and the awesome experience that you had to your family and friends. Sharing photos could also say more than a thousand words.

To be a responsible tourist, always remember to GET PACKED before travelling and travel with your SENSES!


Angela Colmenares-Sabino is an environmental activist and backpacker.


Photo: Boracay Sunset. By Angela Colmenares

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Responsible tourism: The right way to travel

27 Mar

See on Scoop.itMakamundo (Earthly)

Philippine Online Chronicles is a weekly online publication which features a new kind of news. POC presents a multiplicity of perspectives in a single article.

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Green Groups Pursue Contempt Charges vs RWS & Government for Re-Export of Dolphins; Resorts World Sentosa Counters With SLAPP Suit | Earth Island Institute – Philippines

22 Mar

See on Scoop.itMakamundo (Earthly)

Angela Colmenares ‘s insight:

In a hearing last 8 March 2013, environmental groups and animal welfare organizations pursued contempt charges against Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) as well as the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for allowing the re-export of 25 dolphins last year. One dolphin died enroute to Singapore.


According to the Urgent Manifestation and Motion filed by Earth Island Institute (EII), Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS),CARA Welfare Philippines and concerned individuals last 20 November 2012, “..even before and while the Honorable Court was conducting a hearing on the Motion for Reconsideration on the Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO), the respondents had already flown out 11 dolphins from the country in full defiance of the administration of justice in the Philippines.  To make matters worse, we stress again that the Respondents (RWS, DA & BFAR) did not even have the decency to inform the Honorable Court that they had already taken out the eleven dolphins before the Honorable Court last November 19, 2012.”


The motion further reads: “This makes a mockery of the proceedings in this case and is in brazen and utter contempt of this Honorable Court and the entire administration of justice in the country.”


Indirect contempt falls under Section 4 Rule 71 of the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure for “any improper conduct, tending directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct or to degrade the administration of justice” under Section 3 of the same rule. Penalties for indirect contempt carries a fine and/or imprisonment.


Meanwhile, in a motion dated 20 November 2012, RWS filed a compulsory counterclaim against the green groups amounting to 4 Million Pesos for moral, exemplary damages and legal fees.

RWS claims that the activists put the company “in a very bad light, portraying it as a violator of environmental laws and oppressive to its animals” and that the law suit filed was “wrongful, baseless and malicious.”  For that reason, RWS requested the court to dismiss the petition filed by the activists and to burden the latter to pay for the damages and litigation costs.


EII, PAWS and CARA however, believe that it is a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) case that is meant to harass and silence environmental advocates seeking the implementation of environmental laws. SLAPPs is defined by the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, promulgated by the Supreme Court in 2010 as “A legal action filed to harass, vex, exert undue pressure or stifle any legal recourse that any person, institution or the government has taken or may take in the enforcement of environmental laws, protection of the environment or assertion of environmental rights.”


The green groups assert that their case against RWS, DA and BFAR seek the implementation of the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of the Philippines or RA 9147 and international conservation laws.  Furthermore, the group believes that RWS, DA & BFAR should be held accountable for hastily transporting 25 dolphins to Singapore despite ongoing hearings in court resulting to the death of a dolphin named Wen-Wen last November 2012.


Asked about the effect of the SLAPPs case against them Earth Island Institute Philippines Regional Director Trixie Concepcion says that the best way RWS can tarnish its reputation is to file a case against the country’s leading animal welfare groups, environmental organizations and multi-awarded environmental heroes. According to Concepcion, “SLAPPs cannot deter good people with a rightful cause, rather, it will even give us the venue to clearly present the arguments for our case. Upholding RWS’ counterclaim is a true ‘SLAPP’ in the face of justice.” ####

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Vote for Ric O’Barry to save more dolphins! | Earth Island Institute – Philippines

22 Mar

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