Bringing the Colors of the Philippine EcoGuides to the 5th National Tour Guides Convention

Philippine EcoGuides Association

It was great seeing tour guides and specialist guides of the national federation (TGFed) wear their other hat and take the time to bear the PEGA banner at the 5th National Tour Guides Convention in CDO.

October 2010 was monumental for ecoguiding in the country. The nature guide was elevated to the status of an ecoguide. There are certain aspects that were added to define the sustainable approach to balancing tourism and nature. A small group of reps from the different regions in the country trained at the International School of Sustainable Tourism, under former tourism secretary Dr. Mina Gabor, PATA officer and owner of the awarded Frangipani eco resort in Malaysia, Anthony Wong, the Department of Tourism accreditation and standards division, seasoned Malaysian ecoguides and several local experts in the field of environment protection and conservation.

PEGA members, 2010

Bringing together the different islands toward an advocacy, the first ecoguides formed the Philippine EcoGuides Association or PEGA. The aim is to fuse best practice in mainstream tourism with concepts of responsible travel and environment conservation and strike a chord within the industry.


If you are in need of assistance from an ecoguide, there is one or two ecoguides around every region in the country. Contact a DoT Regional Office or PEGA President Philip Bartilet (at +63-908-896-8826) for inquiries.

The PEGA Directory:

Region I (Ilocos Region):  Peter Aclopen, Tina Tan
Cordillera Administrative Region Ruel Bimuyag, Eddie Dapliyan
Region 3 (Central Luzon):  Diogenes Simbol, Erwin Valenzuela
Region 4 (MIMAROPA):  Ponciano Sumayod Jr.
Region 5 (Bicol Region):  Philip Bartilet, Christopher Alim, Eugene Bañares
Region 6 (Western Visayas):  Bertito Galleza, Grema Nene
Region 7 (Central Visayas):  Glenn Arsenio Oceña, Antonio Mario Wenceslao
Region 8 (Eastern Visayas): Jesus Manuel Horca II, Eires Mate
Region 9 (Zanboanga Peninsula): Ma. Perfecta Cosadio, Manuel Paster Jr.
Region 10 (Morthern Mindanao):  Ma. Reina Bontuyan, Chisum Christopher Factura
Region 11 (Davao Region):  Paul Calizo, Jonathan Estrella
Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN):  Edgar Aquiatan, Jerson Ungkal

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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