The Lenten season, while a time to reflect for many, is also an opportunity for others to go on a much-needed break. That could mean staying at home, going to the beach, or going on a mountain hike.
Among some of the most popular destinations during this time of the year is Sagada. Thanks in part to the romantic-comedy film, “That Thing Called Tadhana,” this municipality in Mountain Province has attracted thousands if not millions of visitors.
This influx of tourists, however, calls for guidelines and policies to maintain cleanliness, peace, and order.
For this, the locals are turning to social media to remind visitors of proper behavior while going about their break in the area. “This is about responsible tourism,” the municipality says in a series of Facebook posts.
Respect the culture and the people
One local asks tourists to ask for permission first before taking pictures or videos of locals. “Please respect the people, especially the elders,” the placard says. “Please don’t expect an of us to pose in traditional clothing for pictures, because we don’t do that.”
An elder also tells visitors to respect the locals’ culture, specifically in keeping distance from sacred rituals or sites such as the Hanging Coffins. It’s an ancient funeral custom of the Igorot tribe for the married and for those who are with grandchildren.
Sagada is not a “commercial sex’ site, too, tells another elder. “Please be modest,” he says. “This is a small and conservative town and we like it that way.”
Follow the rules
Another local is also reiterating the importance of following guides in the area’s caves, cliffs, and forests. “Please help us keep you safe,” she says. “Guides are required for your safety. Please hire accredited guides.”
Another concern for an Sagada local is water supply. “Please conserve water,” he asks of tourists. “Sagada suffers from water shortages, [which] can lead to diversion of water from our farms and rice terraces where it is desperately needed.”
A young woman also suggests ordering your food five hours before your meal, as local eateries are unlike fast food restaurants.
“Please manage your garbage,” a police officer says. “Try to minimize the garbage you generate. What comes here with you should leave with you.”
What are your thoughts on this responsible tourism campaign?