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BONTOC, Mountain Province – The number of local tour guides in this capital town has increased and capabilities in tour guiding have been enhanced following the conduct of an Eco Guiding Seminar on Mountain and Caving on June 6-12, 2021.
The week-long activity was organized and funded by the Bontoc Local Government Unit (LGU) through the Municipal Tourism Office in partnership with the Department of Tourism – Cordillera Administrative Region (DOT-CAR).
Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey immediately approved and sourced out funds for the conduct of the activity recognizing the need to further enhance capabilities of local tour guides.
Likewise, the mayor expressed high hopes that the majority of the population will have themselves vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine as a means to prevent the spread of the virus, thereby, increasing the possibility of eventually opening the municipality to tourism.
Municipal Tourism Officer Caren Guinayen said that the activity aimed to enhance the skills of local guides, prepare them for other regional trainings, remind them of proper decorum and etiquette, and to prepare unified local tour packages for each barangay.
She added that 57 individuals signed up to attend the seminar and have undergone the pre-screening conducted by the Municipal Tourism Office and the Provincial Tourism Office. However, she explained that participants had to be limited to 36 in compliance with minimum public health standards.
Trained resource speakers who were tapped by the DOT-CAR lectured on Basic Mountaineering and Caving Course; Eco-Tourism, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Tourism; Bird Watching and Star Gazing; Practical Guiding Techniques; and Work Values.
Guinayen mentioned that the participants had first-hand experience on the topics discussed, and underwent a Mock Tour Guiding on the last day of the seminar.
She further said that the seminar paved way for the organization of the Bontoc Eco Guides Association which is to be registered with the Bontoc LGU, Department of Labor and Employment and Securities and Exchange Commission.
“The establishment of the association will also help our local guides to lobby for any assistance and provision of necessary trainings to them by the government,” Guinayen remarked.
As of this writing, the Municipal Tourism Office is providing technical assistance to local tour guides as they process their accreditation documents with the DOT. By Alpine L. Killa