Introducing my second installment on Social Tourism! Previously I wrote about the inspiring case study of The Circle Hostel. Now here are 3 tour guides who prove that travel is an advocacy on Homegrown! Consider them the next time you plan a vacation for something exiting and meaningful!
Tour Guides Who Are Undoing the Travel Experience
These are the people you want with you on vacation if you’re looking for a new way to look at destinations—and the journey towards them.
/By Rica Facundo/
Forget the commercial establishments. Travel can be luxurious and one-dimensional—or it can be meaningful and transformative.
When tourism integrates local culture into a seamless traveling experience, travelers can expect to go off the beaten path. This is the takeoff point of social tours, where the journey involves partnering with the local Filipino communities, striving to preserve and promote the stories from that can only be gleaned from authentic interactions.
Three groups of friends create enterprises that value advocacy over extravagance, and have mapped out establishments where every stop gives a traveler a chance to make difference.
Culture Shock PH: Heritage Curators
Osep Reyes, Guido Sarreal, Smarla Angtuaco, Paolo Carlos, and Robbie Bautista are friends who have an appetite for food and culture. They can cook up a tour that will give tourists a gastronomical, historical and personal aftertaste of the Philippine provinces. Get on board Culture Shock PH’s agenda: to go beyond simply exploring local cuisines, and into other aspects that make their destinations unique.
Even though they only launched last March 2012, they already have the insider insight to bring tourists to places like Gosioco Ancestral House, where the asadomatua (a slab of pork belly) in Pampanga sweats in sautéed fresh tomatoes and ground black pepper. Or to Tayabas for a round (or two) of the town’s best lambanog, a rice wine the town is well known for producing.
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: Find them where the locals frequent, having lunch in the ancestral homes, chatting with the owners about how the food is prepared and even checking out the kitchen. Culture Shock PH will connect you to the places untouched by time– churches, old buildings, houses—as if we’re not living in the twenty-first century and men still catch suman thrown from the balconies as the image of San Isidro passes the street in Lucban, Quezon for the pahiyas, a time to give thanks for a good harvest.
TRAVELER PROFILE: Recommended for foodie-enthusiasts, cultural junkies, and history buffs.
Trail Adventours: Exploration Enthusiasts
Think of Arcky Imperial, Guido Sarreal, Coby Sarreal, Bianca Silva, and Ace Borja as backpackers who support their causes wherever they go, whether it’s in the cool caves of Sagada or in the misty peak of Mt. Pulag.
Since traveling, organizing climbs and trips for friends for fun is second nature to them, they realized they could make it a profitable undertaking with a wide ranging impact.
So ain’t no mountain high enough, valley low enough, or river wide enough to keep them from getting to you—the tourist—about the journey to a better future. Trail Adventours hinges on the belief that traveling itself is an advocacy, raising the dignity of the locals they meet, and treating communities as partners through sustainable projects like waste management.
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: “Parang wala ako sa Pilipinas” (It’s like I’m not in the Philippines) is not in their itinerary. They don’t discriminate between the mountains and the sea. They seek the adventure while scoping the summit of Mt. Apo or camping out in the quite coves of Zambales. Escape to the beach and bask under the salt, sun, and stars. Revisit the Tirad Pass with Gregorio Del Pilar as he whispers history lessons in an adventure filled outdoor classroom. You’ll walk for hours without realizing how much time has passed.
TRAVELER PROFILE: Recommended for nature lovers, health buffs, environmentalists and activists.
Offbeat Pursuits: Adrenaline Advocates
Raf Dionisio, Ruth Carino and Mara Leviste are three people who will make happiness contagious. Together they combine their love for traveling and appreciation for the simplicity of life into a business that will transform people to be as awe-stricken as they are.
The mission of Offbeat Pursuits is to be the carrier of positive vibes. After a trip is over, visitors will surely relapse on a renewed vigor for life. Aside from their adventure tours around the Philippines, their Passion Play projects show that they know what it takes to go after one’s dreams. It’s to surround yourself with people who will only lift you higher, especially in breathtaking places where the sky is literally the limit. “Let Life Amaze You,” they say, and it can start with the Philippines.
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: Find them strapped in a harness, riding a buggy, holding on to their helmets as they zipline in Bohol, or sand boarding in Ilocos Norte. They find the thrill in every destination so that tourists not only feel the natural high, but scream about it at the top of their lungs when they’re trying something new for the first time.
TRAVELER PROFILE: Recommended for adrenaline junkies, adventure seekers, ambassadors of positive vibes.