By Yas Ocampo
DAVAO CITY – Forest guards are cautioning travelers looking for cheap thrills in Barangay Carmen here to respect the properties near the Mini-Asik Asik Falls and refrain from spoiling nature, a dire incident also being experienced by caretakers of a similar waterfall destination in Alamada, North Cotabato.
Rey Sapid, a Bantay Bukid coordinator, has called out irresponsible travel blogging as the culprit and its effects on nature.
Because of popular blogs that have been featuring the area but do not include warnings about respecting nature, Mini Asik-Asik Falls has had a deluge of visitors coming from as far as the Davao City’s downtown area.
The issue was brought up during last week’s Watershed Summit, with much of the city’s third congressional district part of a large watershed providing the city’s water.
According to Sapid, residents are beginning to complain about the visitors.
Visitors reportedly throw their trash everywhere, while jeeploads of visitors come in droves.
Concerned residents complain of loud music being played by visitors, and there seems to be no regulation against this.
Some vegetable farmers have also claimed that visitors pick through their crops on their way to the waterfalls.
Officials of Barangay Carmen are still reportedly drafting a local tourism plan, even with the local government already requiring each of the 182 barangays to draft their tourism plans in accordance with the Tourism Code.
Tourism plans outline the development strategies for areas such as the steep hills of the third congressional district.
A few months ago, officials from the City Tourism Operations Office and the City Administrator’s Office fumed when they found out about makeshift tourist spots offering canyoneering as one of its services.
Extreme sports need regulation, and the city government provides guidance for tourist spots wishing to provide services for travelers.
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, in an interview Saturday, said that the matter was discussed last week.
“The barangay has decided to close off the area to visitors,” Mayor Duterte said.