Juan Effect goes to Bohol

They say one will only feel and hear the genuine heartbeats of Pinoys by visiting Bohol.

Maya M. Padillo

Tagged as the country’s “Heart of the Islands,” Bohol is the proud home of the popular Chocolate Hills, powdery white sand beaches and the world’s smallest primate, the Tarsier.

It is also the newest site of “Juan Effect,” the environment conservation program of airline company Cebu Pacific.

A street jargon for the Filipino regular Joe, or the common man, “Juan” encompasses the big idea that one simple daily habit done consistently and collectively by even ordinary people can make a big impact in helping preserve the environment, local culture and heritage.

In partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT), the multi-sectoral sustainable tourism program of Cebu Pacific is also supported by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), as well as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

After roll-outs in Siargao and in Boracay, Cebu Pacific is now adopting Bohol as a Juan Effect destination with interventions put in place to support its sustainable tourism practices.

“Bohol is one of the best island-destinations in the world, and one of CEB’s most popular destinations. There is still time to preserve its beauty by flying in tourists who are aware of the impact they create when they travel,” said Candice Iyog, vice president for marketing and customer experience at Cebu Pacific.

Launched in Panglao, Bohol on February 7, “Juan Effect” advocacy engages the local community, the government and tourism stakeholders, in educating travelers about their responsibilities as tourists.

“Juan Effect is very close to our hearts in Cebu Pacific. It is our program and advocacy for sustainable tourism. Launched in 2018, Juan Effect aims to raise awareness on the impact tourists have on the environment and encourage everyone to contribute on their own way in building a sustainable tourism environment,” Iyog said.

Cebu Pacific launched the information campaign by installing signages all over the most visited spots in the island like Chocolate Hills, Tarsier sanctuary, man-made forest, and Loboc River Cruise.

These signages, which are made from salvaged wooden slabs of dilapidated boats left as trash in beaches of Bohol in Danao, Panglao, have English, Korean, Japanese, Chinese translation.

This is so fitting considering boats are intrinsic to the local life of Boholanos and with Juan Effect, these will become bearers of the message to be kind to the environment. In the last three years, Bohol, which is also known for its archipelagic location and historic structures, has a consistent growth average of 32% per annum in tourist arrivals.

“Tourism is the number one source of revenue in the Province of Bohol. In fact, the impressive drop of poverty incidence of 50.2% in 2000 to 15.2% this year is primarily attributed to the growth of our tourism industry,” said lawyer Kathyrin Piquinto, Bohol provincial administrator.

Piquinto said they are indeed fortunate to have these unique and natural sites for tourist attraction, but, they are also responsible for their preservation and conservation.

The information campaign will be amplified online with Juan Effect Ambassadors from different parts of the world namely Philippines’ Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Canadian filmmaker Lost LeBlanc, South Korean musician and artist Solbi, and Australian yoga and fitness expert Sjana Elise.

Iyog said the airline is committed to work with the LGU, resorts and other stakeholders in preserving the unique flora and fauna, the landmarks reflecting the country’s Spanish colonial history, and the pristine beaches in Bohol.

The first produce of the project was the Boracay launch and is considered to be the centerpiece of the government’s sustainable tourism program. In Boracay, Cebu Pacific donated hundreds of trash bins.

“A simple donation but is the most used-piece of item along the white beach of Boracay today and in fact there is a clamor from the local govenrment to have more bins. Instead of adding more maybe increase the collecting time of garbage in Boracay,” said DOT Undersecretary Arturo Boncato Jr.

Juan Effect was also launched in Siargao wherein Cebu Pacific donated trash bins for pet bottles. The campaign was focused on social entrepreneurship that will convert all plastic bottles collected into eco-bricks that the locals can use in constructing structures particularly classrooms in the island.