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Can Southeast Asia achieve sustainable tourism?

Southeast Asia has long been a preferred tourist destination due to its diverse and culturally rich settings, incredible sights, unique local cuisines, and affordability, as depicted by travel websites.   For governments in the region, tourism is a major contributor to economic growth; the Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that it contributes “at least 15% to...

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New Year’s Day air space shutdown a ‘blessing in disguise’?

Sen. Miguel Zubiri was close to bursting into an incredulous laugh when he heard that very sensitive air navigation equipment worth billions of pesos wasn’t being monitored by even inexpensive closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras that he himself has all over his house in Cagayan de Oro City. The Senate president was unpleasantly surprised by one...

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Breathing in the great outdoors

Cooped up in our Metro Manila home for three pandemic years, we finally ventured on a getaway trip southward for a much-needed dose of fresh air. Our “rescue” from “Kyusi,” the city, to the province of Quezon was facilitated by my husband Sonny’s Lucena-based sisters (among 13 siblings) spearheaded by Dr. Ceres Romano and Jojie...

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Asean Centre for Biodiversity gears for world’s 1st green travel festival

The Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), co-organizer of the International Ecotourism Travel Mart (IETM), is in the thick of preparations for the world’s first green travel festival to be held next year in Silang, Cavite, Philippines. Scheduled on March 29-April 2, 2023, IETM is a historic assembly that puts ecotourism in its rightful place in...

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Life (and death) on the edge

SYDNEY—On the premise that the best way to explore a place is on foot, Sydney in Australia fares well on travel experts’ lists of most walkable cities in the world. Road quality, safety, convenience, and the wonders of nature are among their indices.   There’s a range of walks to choose from—bushwalking, dog-friendly circuits, wilderness...

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From pandemic to epic: amazing graces

SYDNEY—Up till boarding time at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, I continued to receive calls and text messages from friends wanting to know if I was proceeding with my trip. My departure for my nth visit to my daughter Giselle in Sydney would have been uneventful if not for the concern roused by news about...

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Coming home to Manila in the pandemic: inward journeys

SYDNEY—“This is your captain speaking. We shall soon commence our descent into Melbourne …” I felt a lump in my throat. Every year when I visit my daughter here, I make a side trip to Victoria’s capital to see a dear friend from college. The pandemic paused the practice, and now, after three years, I...