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CERVANTES, Ilocos Sur – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 1 through the Regional Public Affairs Office (RPAO) spearheaded a 2-day Eco-tour for the youth and information officers at the Bessang Pass Natural Monument on June 5-6, 2018. The activity titled as “Tara Kabataan, Lakbay Kalikasan” aimed to bring awareness and enrich the knowledge of the youth on environmental protection and as well as landmarks and monuments. Further, it encouraged them to appreciate and know about the historical monuments and the significance of the Bessang Pass Natural Monument on the culture and tradition of the Ilocanos.
 
 
The Eco-tour was composed of several activities such as lectures, fun games, trekking, tree planting and sharing of learnings and experiences. Ilocos Sur PENR Officer Rosemarie Jornacion and Tagudin CENR Officer Frank Vincent Danglose warmly welcomed the participants and happily greeted them on the celebration of the World Environment Day on June 5. PENRO Jornacion mentioned how the role of the youth creates a very big impact on the protection and conservation of the environment and natural resources. The celebration of the Environment Month which revolves on the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution” shall serve as reminder to everyone on the responsibility and efforts of everyone on handling recyclable products to reduce plastic pollution. Moreover, she expressed that engaging the youth in environmental protection not only creates direct impact on changing their behavior and attitude, but possibly influence their parents, relatives and families.
 
Information Officers from various PENRO Offices, CENR Offices, Mines and Geosciences Bureau-1 and Environmental Management Bureau-1 were also engaged to join the environmental activity set.
 
On the second day of the eco-tour, the group went trekking and visited historical landmarks in the area which includes the Yamashita Cave and Mc Arthur Tunnel. Along the way, the participants were given additional knowledge on the flora and fauna located in said forest.
 
Meanwhile, Training Specialist of the Tourism Industry Program Bon Derrick Pugal from the Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 1 shared to the participants how nature and ecotourism sites form a significant component of tourism within the country. DENR and DOT have continuously pushing efforts to ensure that biodiversity conservation would not be compromised by development projects on tourism. Mr. Pugal emphasized on sustainable tourism on promoting the country’s natural resources and preserving the biodiversity of the Protected Areas which attracts local and foreign tourists.
 
 
The participants especially the youth which was composed of high school students from Ilocos Sur were grateful for the experience and learnings. Each of them expressed their sincere gratitude and promise to be more responsible in protecting and conserving the environment. Regional Public Affairs Office Chief Renelita Santos shared that the said activity is just one of more eco-tours to the various Protected Areas in Region 1. This shall be constantly done to raise awareness and work towards inclusive growth to the protection and natural and cultural heritage of our motherland.