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Let me take time out from my usual Go Negosyo columns and share with you our dive adventure in the Visayas. As I write this column, we are still at sea with friends, moving from island to island. The promise of tourism as a negosyo opportunity is definitely now happening. Bohol has new resorts opening, with the Regent group of Boracay buying Alona Panglao; the Bellevue group’s resort is now under construction; and there are rumors of the Discovery group setting up soon.
There are quite a number of newcomers setting up in different parts of the Visayas. What makes the Visayas different, aside from a number of sandbars, is the rich marine life where many resorts have started to create their own marine sanctuary, with them charging anywhere between P100 to a high of P600.
The highlight of our trip so far is the whale sharks of Oslob, and definitely there is none other like this in the world. While some people would criticize that this is not a natural thing, since the whale sharks are fed like pets, I look at it differently. At least these fishermen — who at one point harmed the whales till a foreigner told them he would pay them to feed the sharks — can do their share to protect the whale sharks and look after the environment. The whale sharks have turned into a major tourist attraction.
The tourism activities in different Visayan islands serve as an inspiration to other villages to find what is unique to their area and take care of it. One never knows what can be turned into a negosyo opportunity. To demonstrate the progress tourism has spurred in these tourist spots, some fishermen, I am told, own iPhones now.
Marine life in the Visayas is so rich. In one of our diving activities, we encountered a pod of dolphins that could fill half a hectare. Aside from the bonding with friends and family, we teach our kids to value the environment and take care of it. Our friends, who came in batches, some of whom had not seen the islands of the Visayas, were awed by the beauty. For so long, Boracay has been the only tourist destination for them. They realize now there is more than just Boracay’s beauty. You can imagine, as we create tourism negosyo, how much we can promote our country.
Enjoying the Visayan adventure with us were Mikey Cojuangco, Haresh Hiranand, Val Suarez and family, Manuel and Karin Iqual, Crikette Abello, Cathy Chan, Butch and Mecca Prieto, Liza Trinidad, and John Concepcion. I would like to thank our dive instructors who were with us: Eric Casas, Juan Naval, and John Melendrez, who made it safe for all our guests to enjoy the underwater life. The photos taken are from the islands Olango, Panglao, Balicasag, Cabilao, Sumilon, Mactan, Maribohoc Bay, and Oslob of Cebu.
After experiencing all this, I encourage everyone to explore our country and preserve its natural beauty. And for tourism to continue to flourish in the Philippines’ best spots, it is important that we all do our share to protect the environment and the country’s rich ecosystem. Each and every Filipino who lives in the province can start his own tourism negosyo — be it dive shops, bed and breakfasts, spas, the list can go on and on. One just has to grab the opportunities the trends and times are presenting to them.
Contact me: email@example.com or my Joey Concepcion Official Facebook account. Visit www.gonegosyo.net. Watch the top-rating entrep show Go Negosyo: Kaya Mo! on GMA News TV every Saturday and Sunday at 8-8:30 a.m. Get daily Go Negosyo Text Tips on your mobile phone by sending GONEGO to 2910.