The making of an ecoguide

“An Ecotour Guide is someone who connects the tourist with the natural and cultural values of the places they visit. Guides do this by interpreting the special features of each place, sharing their passion for these places with the visitor, whilst minimizing the impact on the environment. They are responsible for the safety of and well-being, enjoyment, and education of their clients, while at the same time protecting the environments they work in.”

— from the ISST handout

October 19, 2010 — Arrival of the speakers and participants of the First Eco Guiding Course at the International School of Sustainable Tourism, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Philippines.

Warming up to each other.

Malaysian resource speaker Mr. Abu Kassim Roslan boards the school bus service.

A beautiful day.

Department of Tourism (DOT)  Assistant Secretary Ma. Victoria Jasmin delivers her opening remarks.

Mr. Carlos “Caloy” Librosada and Mr. Abu Kassim Roslan facilitate the first workshop of the day.

Gaining theoretical knowledge.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (DENR-PAWB) Assistant Director Tony Manila speaks about the Philippines and Climate Change.

Learning Basic Ecology from Mr. Robert “Robby” Cereno of the UP Los Baños College of Forestry and Natural Resources

Mr. Anthony Arbias shares his expertise on Philippine Flora.

Busy taking notes.

Mr. Mohd Yassim Suhaimi, a PATA resource speaker.

Dr. Mina Gabor, Chairman of the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), Center of Ecotourism, Biodiversity and Design, introduces Mr. Anthony Wong, Pacific Asia Travel Organization (PATA) Secretary/Treasurer, one of the speakers of the first Ecoguiding Course.

The basics of Jungle First Aid and CPR from Mr.Anthony Wong.

After sharing the passion and knowledge of a true ecoguide, Mr. Anthony Wong bids the group farewell.


Mr. Kasuy of the Aeta tribe shares his jungle survival skills.

The kawayan (bamboo) as a jungle survival tool.

Fire making technique.


Finding H2O. Donald Balanhi of the DOT Standards Development Division tries water from bikal.

Goodies from CORE, or the Center of Outdoor Recreation and Expeditions.

Tiara, home away from home.

Meeting Mr. Kasuy at the Pamulaklakin during the field excursion.

Jungle familiarization hike.

Learning the basics of wildlife tour guiding.

A welcoming beautiful creature.

Enjoying the environment…

Ready for the Triboa Mangrove Trail.

image by Don Balanhi
image by Don Balanhi
image by Don Balanhi
image bu Don Balanhi
image by Don Balanhi
image by Don Balanhi
image by Don Balanhi

Tree Top Adventure introduction.

Zoobic Safari adventure.

Close encounter with tigers.

Getting to know the flightless birds, ostriches.

A bunch of crocs, a familiar sight.

The first ISST trainees with Dr. Jojo Gulfan, speaker for Hazards of Nature.

October 29, 2010, the final day in school.

The 25 participants of the First Ecoguiding Course in the Philippines, namely, Peter Aclopen, (Region I) Christopher Alim (Region 5), Edgar Aquiatan (Region 12), Eugene Bañares (Region  5), Philip Bartilet (Region 5), Ruel Bimuyag (CAR), Ma. Reina Bontuyan (Region 10), Paul Calizo (Region 11), Ma. Perfecta Cosadio (Region 9), Eddie Dapliyan (CAR), Jonathan Estrella (Region 11), Chisum Christopher Factura (Region 10), Bertito Galleza (Region 6), Jesus Manuel Horca II (Region 8), Eires Mate (Region 8), Grema Nene (Region 6), Glenn Arsenio Oceña (Region 7), Manuel Paster Jr. (Region 9), Diogenes Simbol (Region 3), Ponciano Sumayod Jr., (Region 4) Frenzel Sumeg-ang (CAR), Veronica Tina Tan (Region 1), Jerson Ungkal (Region 12), Erwin Valenzuela (Region 3) and Antonio Mario Wenceslao (Region 7) wish to thank all those who made the 10-day Ecoguiding program possible. Mabuhay!

Special thanks to Mr. Donald Balanhi for the additional  photos
Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

October Moon: Stargazing in Subic

What’s in the deafening night sky?

Stargazing is for the amateur astronomer, anyone who wants to discover the planet, stars and galaxies. For a closer view of the celestial bodies, you will be needing a telescope or a spotting scope which may cost you an arm and a leg; prices range from 15K-1M pesos. The telescope can double as a birding scope. Or a stalking gadget, perhaps, for someone with bats in the belfry.

A star map and a red reading light are among  the  important equipment in astronomy.

Enthusiasts from the Astrobirders of Quezon City, also members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines, came over to Subic to lend their expertise for the nocturnal activity of the ecoguiding program of the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST).

We also viewed the sun which is the brightest star of all. I peered through the scope, and I saw 3 dots, which are said to be the much cooler parts of the sun. Filters and protective eye gadgets are a must when viewing or photographing celestial objects.

They say the best time to observe the moon is from first quarter to half moon.

image by Don Balanhi

The moon, through my cam, taken by Henry So

Want to impress a girl? I bet you’ll win her over with a killer stargazing evening.

Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED