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DOT-XI Director Tanya Rabat-Tan on sustainable tourism

Tanya Rabat-Tan advocates sustainability, and practices what she preaches at home and at work. She carries a refillable water bottle, recycles, segregates disposables. In fact, she’s the woman behind Mati City’s Solid Waste Integrated Management (SWIM). The breakthrough project was implemented long before the Boracay rehabilitation was announced.

“SWIM aims to address coastal degradation of the Pujada Bay and the Dahican stretch caused by irresponsible solid waste disposal practices and illegal structures in the areas. These areas are major sources of livelihood for many and major tourism attractions of Mati. Dahican is a famous skim and surf site and home to the dugongs, dolphins, pawikans, whale sharks, while the Philippine Eagle soars the skies of Pujada Bay and nests at Mt. Hamiguitan Natural Heritage Park,” she shared.

Coincidentally, Department of Tourism’s thrust is sustainable tourism. As fate would have it, she was appointed the the DOT Director for Region XI. Tanya gained a bigger platform to promote an advocacy.

DOT Region XI office has imbibed sustainability in the workplace and taking its sustainable tourism campaign to all sectors of the region. Through constant information drive and application, the campaign will be imbedded into everyone’s consciousness.

“The regional office has initiated several training programs and workshops for tourism enterprise, LGUs and other tourism and hospitality organizations to advocate and embrace sustainability and resilience. We have engaged them in sustainability projects and we take part in it. We want to instill awareness by spearheading programs and being involved.”

The practice of recycling, reusing and reduction of single-use plastic alone is a big step forward for the campaign. Green projects, like tree planting and coastal clean ups, are good initiatives but DOT encourages the private sectors to hold it more frequently.

Sustainability is also about the preservation and promotion of local culture. Davao Region has 18 tribes, each unique in its identity. DOT encourages the LGUs and stakeholders to align their projects with DOT’s campaign by creating facilities incorporated with the local tribes’ cultural identity. Tourists should feel the authenticity of the place.

“I believe tourism is not just about destinations. More than the sights and sounds, it is the experience of immersing oneself with the local culture that makes the trip worthwhile. This is what I want to focus on,” said Tanya

Tanya’s advocacy extends to her sense of fashion. Enduring is the key word.

“My closet has pieces that I bought ten years ago which I use regularly. Durability, cost and style that transcends trends are major considerations. I rarely shop but when I do, it’s to replace a worn out piece,” she confesses, “I’m very cost conscious and OC on choice of material. I prefer basic pieces I can mix and match, and can take me from work to evening functions. One of the brands I’m a big fan of is M&S. You’d be surprise as to how much of this label occupies my closet.”

Fashion: M&S Collection Summer 2019 available at the Marks & Spencer stores in Abreeza Mall & SM Lanang Premier
Photography: Ian Ilustre
Make-up & Styling: Otoy Mercado

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