Photo of Balanacan Cove from the Palm by the Beach Resort
The following article was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer dated 5/12/2011 and written by Gerald Gene R. Querubin.
"MARINDUQUE has everything that nature can provide, according to the founder of a seven-year-old volunteer youth organization which is encouraging travelers to make the heart-shaped island part of their summer agenda.
The attributes are many: Mossy forests with endemic butterflies and insects, a majestic peak, waist-deep subterranean river within a cave guarded by pythons and 20-foot drop falls inside the cave.
“The province is a big classroom for environmental science teachers, students and enthusiasts,” says Dr. Carlos Andam, cofounder of Marinduque Youth Volunteers Corps (MYVC).
Travelers can also get acquainted with Mount Malindig, and the Bathala and the San Isidro caves, while diving enthusiasts can get to see the sunken World War II ships at the Balanacan cove.
Andam, formerly the vice president for research and extension of Marinduque State College (MSC), and Cyren Rico, a former MSC instructor, founded the MYVC on Jan. 24, 2004. Both used to be members of the University of the Philippines’ Pahinungod, a volunteer arm of the premier state university.
Andam says visitors to Marinduque can learn hands-on about environmental protection from the negative effects of mining that the province had experienced. He was referring to Marcopper Mining Corp., which accidentally spilled mine tailings into the Boac River in the worst environmental disaster that hit the Philippines in 1996.
The spillage flooded the river at the rate of 5-10 cubic meters (one truckload) per second. Total volume of discharge was pegged at 1.5 million to 3 million cu. m.
Aside from conducting coastal cleanups and campaigns promoting environment literacy, the MYVC has been holding computer and reading literacy programs, and value formation seminars.
Its long-term goal is to encourage the youth to make a difference in their communities. It has around 400 members in three school-based chapters: MSC-Boac, MSC-Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz Institute.
Francis Magahis, chapter president of MYVC-MSC, says the volunteers are advocating “green tourism,” which also promotes immersion into local culture and lifestyle.
“It is not only about the tourists but also about all-out community participation, use of biodegradable materials, solid waste-compliant local government units, and private and public establishments with trained and environmentally aware personnel,” provincial tourism officer Jerry Jamilla says."
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