GUIMARAS – This small island province in Western Visayas is cashing in on community-based rural tourism (CBRT) program which translates to livelihood opportunities for the locals.

Gov. Felipe Hilan Nava noted they have identified eight CBRTs all over the province, three of which are already in place.He said they are going to the barangay level as the anchor of tourism development.

“The CBRT is one way of improving the economy of a barangay. When major investments like resorts trigger the influx of tourists here, our satellite areas to be visited are the CBRTs with their unique products to offer,” the governor explained.

The “new trend is slow-paced tourism” which is a shift from the fast-paced package tours and shopping.

“The tourists may want to get involve into the community to experience local culture. Thus, the stakeholders will be directly benefited. We should not only establish sustainable initiative but protect the environment because this is the asset of the community,” he stressed.

These CBRTs have been established in barangays Hoskyn in Jordan; Salvacion in Buenavista; Guisi and Lanipe in Nueva Valencia; and Sapal in San Lorenzo. 

Lanipe as a rice-growing community produces various delicacies out of rice highlighted in a local ritual “Pangasi” which is a pagan-like celebration to give thanks for the “powers for good harvest.”

Guisi is home to a century-old lighthouse and white-sand beach promises a rich cultural tourism;

Sapal is popular for mat weaving;

Hoskyn specializes on miniature sailboat making; and

Salvacion offers a wide array of forest products.

The provincial government is providing assistance to interested barangays even as they target a total of 25 CBRTs. 

This story first appeared in The Guardian Iloilo March 11, 2009