December 6, 2022

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The number of local guides in the capital town has increased and capabilities in tour guiding have been enhanced following the conduct of an Eco Guiding Seminar on Mountaineering and Caving last June 6 to 12.

The activity was organized and funded by municipal government through the Municipal Tourism Office in partnership with the Department of Tourism-Cordillera.

Mayor Franklin Odsey approved the project recognizing the need to enhance capabilities of tour guides.

He also expressed hope the majority of the population will have themselves vaccinated against the Covid-19 to increase the possibility of opening the municipality to tourism.

Municipal Tourism Officer Caren Guinayen said the activity aimed to enhance the skills of local guides, prepare them for other regional trainings, remind them of decorum and etiquette, and to prepare unified local tour packages for each barangay.

She said 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, but she said the participants had to be limited to 36 in compliance with minimum public health standards.

Resource speakers who were tapped by the DOT lectured on basic mountaineering and caving, eco-tourism, biodiversity, and sustainable tourism, bird watching and stargazing, practical guiding techniques, and work values. 

Guinayen said the participants had first-hand experience on the topics discussed, and underwent a mock tour guiding on the last day of the seminar.

The seminar also paved way for the Bontoc Eco Guides Association, which needs to be registered with the local government, Department of Labor and Employment, and Securities and Exchange Commission.

Guinayen said formalizing the group will help local guides in asking for assistance and provision of trainings to them by the government. 

The Municipal Tourism Office is providing technical assistance to tour guides as they process their accreditation documents with the DOT. – Alpine L. Killa