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Davao de Oro’s female tourism officer wins award for championing biodiversity conservation

Christine Dompor, provincial tourism officer of the province of Davao de Oro, was hailed as a Woman Champion for Biodiversity Conservation and Management by DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau in an awarding ceremony on March 22 at Luxent Hotel, Quezon City. (Photo by C. Dompor)

DAVAO DE ORO (PIA) — Davao de Oro provincial tourism officer Christine Dompor was recognized as one of the five Women Champions for Biodiversity Conservation and Management for championing ecotourism practices in the province.

The award was conferred by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) under its Gender and Development (GAD) program.

Awarded last March 22 at the Luxent Hotel in Quezon City, Dompor brought to light the province’s Community-Based Ecotourism (CBET) program.

She said that among the major accomplishments of the program is the rehabilitation of the Bilawa Mainit Hot Waterfalls, which started in 2020.

She stressed that with the CBET, the community, especially the women in the tourism destination, is directly involved in the conservation and preservation of not just nature but also of the local culture and tradition.

“Tourists can experience authentic cultural practices, cuisine like ‘lyurot,’ and knowledge systems, fostering appreciation and respect,” Dompor said.

As a testament to inculcating culture and tradition, a balyan or shaman of the Mansaka tribe closed the hot waterfalls on Jan. 22 to 24 this year for a religious ritual in the area.

Dompor said that through the program, tourists will also learn about the importance of conservation and responsible travel practices, aside from enjoying the destination.

“The program promotes a more responsible approach to tourism, attracting travelers who value environmental and cultural preservation,” she said.

She also said that the program provided income opportunities from the operation of the tourism destination and other activities like guided tours and product development.

“Through CBET, we equipped women-service providers in community-based tourism destinations to become capacitated in their chosen livelihood activities like caterers, masseuses, utilities, and others,” she said.

The people living near the tourism destination were also given livelihood opportunities like caterers, masseuses, utilities, and others. (Photo from PTO)

Data from the Provincial Tourism Office showed that the community profited a total of P12.59 million from the waterfall operations from 2021 to 2023.

The Bilawa site is still closed for operation due to the mudslide and flooding incident in January this year.

Bilawa Mainit Hot Waterfalls in Maco, Davao de Oro (Photo from PTO)

Dompor, however, is optimistic that the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) will give the green light for the reopening of the tourism destination soon.

Aside from the CBET, she also highlighted other programs of tourism like mountain climbing for women, dubbed the “Bobaye Climb,” the establishment of nature-based destinations as a wellness circuit package, and the conduct of nature retreats and tours.

“We also crafted tourism ordinances for barangays in order to manage volatile nature destinations, provide accountability to stakeholders, provide a fund for conservation activities, particularly greening the watershed, and impose penalties for the violators of CBET,” Dompor said.

In her social media post, she expressed gratitude to the people who are part of CBET and her nomination.

“I dedicate this to all women ‘SHEroes,’ especially my mama, who molded me to serve and always give back to my local community and the environment,” she said.

Dompor revealed that there were 19 nominees for the award, and the winners came from Mindanao and Visayas islands.

The other champions were Amy Ponce of Davao Oriental State University, Maria Thessa Ramos of Tree Conservation, Inc., Ma. Easterluna Canoy of Kitanglad Integrated, and Elizabeth Ramos of Maitum Advocates for Sustainable Environment.

The award is part of DENR-BMB’s celebration of National Women’s Month with the theme “Lipunang Patas para sa Bagong Pilipinas: Kakayahan ng Kababaihan, Patutunayan!” (MLU/PIA Davao de Oro/Photos from Christine Dompor / Davao de Oro Provincial Tourism Office)



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