New Ecosports Store Opens In Puerto Galera
Image courtesy Martyn Willes
This week the Big Apple Dive Resort opened an eco-sports store on Muelle Pier, from where they plan to launch a series of eco-tours around Puerto Galera – using mountain bikes, kayaks and “anything that does not require an engine”.
The Big Apple Cafe Ecosports outlet will also sell mountain bikes, kayaks, scuba diving gear and anything else that might assist the eco-tourist with eco-adventures in and around the Philippines’ only accredited “most beautiful bay in the World”.
What gives something the right to have the prefix “eco” added?
Generally speaking eco means “not harmful to the environment” but in the modern meaning (and in the more ancient Latin and Greek) it more specifically concerns the immediate vicinity – your own back yard. For surely, one who decides on an eco-holiday along some distant shore cannot be truly eco-logically-friendly because they you have to (almost certainly) fly there (= not eco-friendly) and or drive and ferry there (= similarly lacking in eco-friendliness).
However, once delivered to Puerto Galera there are many ways to balance your eco-tourist’s eco-account throughout the rest of your vacation. First off, Puerto Galera offers some of the best scuba diving experiences in the World – once you dive here will you understand this statement – and responsible scuba diving is considered eco-friendly. The more established dive shops in Puerto Galera follow strict environmental guidelines to ensure a zero-eco-impact and they educate divers in sustainable practices to protect the reef systems and allow visitors to take home only photographs.
Puerto Galera also has one of the most active sailing clubs in the Philippines that prides itself on the hundreds of children it has been able to train in the sport of sailing, who also now understand better how Mother Natures’ power can get them from A to B without the need for gasoline, petrol or diesel. Zero-eco-impact.
Kayaking is a growing eco-friendly sport around Puerto Galera, using kayaks suitable for both placid and rough waters. With ocean kayaks it is possible to explore Puerto Galera’s many, otherwise hidden, bays, mangrove forests and rivers. You can also gain access to some of the most pristine beaches in all of Mindoro Island . . . if you paddle up to them and leave only footprints.
Walking the still-forested hills or taking a mountain bike along a trail can bring you face to face with the Mangyan – the original inhabitants of Mindoro Island, who can trace their lineage back 6,000 years or more, to at least the metal age. You can visit with them in their village and invest in hand-made crafts that use skills and designs, handed-down for generations.
The pressures of a burgeoning immigrant population have diminished the once bountiful flora and fauna of Mindoro’s rainforested hills and mountains but you can still find much to marvel at; if walking, pause for moments along the trail and truly open your ears to the sounds of the forest for they have been known to inspire people to poetry and song.
Striving for a positive-eco-impact (rather than just eco-neutral) during your vacation? From time to time, mangrove re-planting exercises and coastal clean-ups are carried out along the 42 kilometers of Puerto Galera shoreline and all are welcome to take part in these activities.
During the past 40 years, when it comes to the preservation of Natures’ most generous gifts, the Philippines in general has been much maligned for its disregard for its own back yard. Little by little the message has got through: that being eco-friendly can be as profitable and eco-unfriendly. There is still much to do but the fact that individuals and businesses are now recognizing the benefits of “eco” and taking action, gives us hope that, within another generation, the astounding natural beauty of this archipelago will be restored, and the Philippines will become universally known as the eco-tourists’ dream playground. Better late than never!