Thursday, May 30News That Matters

From Local Gem to Global Fame: Bago City’s Agroecological Recognition

The City of Bago, nestled in the heart of Negros Occidental, Philippines, has once again captured international attention for its remarkable commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly tourism. On a Monday night in Tallinn, Estonia (Tuesday morning back in the Philippines), the Green Destinations Top 100 Stories for 2023 were unveiled. To the delight of many, Bago City secured a place on this prestigious list.

This marks the second time Bago City has been included in the Green Destinations Top 100 Stories. The initial recognition came in 2022 when the Green Destinations Foundation, based in The Netherlands, acknowledged the city’s remarkable efforts in promoting responsible and eco-conscious tourism. However, this year, Bago City’s dedication to sustainable practices, as expressed through its story titled “Growing a Food Sufficient and Climate Smart Agroecological Destination,” has earned it a spot among the Environment and Climate Category winners.

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Bago City award ceremony

Mae Ann Furtos, the senior tourism operations officer, accepted the award on behalf of the city, in place of Mayor Nicholas Yulo. Furtos expressed her appreciation for the recognition and stated that their story reflects Bago’s transformation into a prime agroecological destination within Negros Occidental. She remarked, “This is in recognition of our efforts towards responsible tourism and distinctive appeal.”

The essence of Bago’s story revolves around the local government’s continuous journey towards sustainable destination development. This journey includes community empowerment, the promotion of climate-resilient agriculture, ensuring food sufficiency, protecting the environment, and fostering regenerative tourism practices.

Locally, Bago City is renowned as the “Rice Granary of Negros Occidental” due to its extensive rice plantations, and this agricultural heritage plays a significant role in its agroecological transformation. Furtos emphasized that the local government is eager to share the story of Bago City as an agroecological destination and its quest to promote responsible, sustainable, and regenerative forms of tourism. The story prominently features the city’s agricultural and agritourism initiatives, illustrating their dedication to sustainable practices and the positive impact on their community.

In response to this recognition, Mayor Nicholas Yulo expressed his gratitude for the city’s inclusion in the list of internationally recognized destinations with stories and practices that align with the principles of sustainable tourism development. He remarked, “The award is both an inspiration and a confirmation of the right direction that we are in. It encourages us to do more.” This acknowledgment is a testament to Bago City’s unwavering commitment to sustainability, prompting them to push the boundaries further in their quest for eco-friendly tourism practices.

This recent accolade builds on the success of Bago City’s “Reviving the Majestic Diversity of the Bago Watershed” project, which earned a place in the Green Destinations Top 100 Stories for 2022. This project underscores the city’s determination to restore and preserve its natural resources, particularly the Bago Watershed, showcasing its efforts in safeguarding its environmental heritage.

The Green Destinations Top 100 is an esteemed international platform that celebrates and acknowledges the most inspiring initiatives for sustainable tourism development. Bago City’s recurring presence on this list reaffirms its position as a beacon of responsible and eco-conscious tourism. The city’s dedication to promoting agroecological practices, sustainable agriculture, and community engagement is not only a source of local pride but also an inspiration for destinations worldwide looking to impact both the environment and their communities positively. Bago City is a shining example of how tourism and environmental conservation can go hand in hand to create a better, more sustainable future for all.

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