Sampaloc Lake, one of the seven lakes of San Pablo City. Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario using OPPO Reno6.

The role of green corridors in maintaining regional biodiversity, improving environmental quality, offering economic resilience opportunities, cannot be overemphasized. Its development also help protect heritage and culture, as well as support the recovery of tourism activities.

After first introducing the concept earlier this year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) finally launched the  Tourism Circuits under the “Green Corridor Initiative” (GCI) in Lima Park Hotel last week. GCI is the flagship domestic program of the DOT, which is aimed at creating travel corridors among neighboring regions. This works perfectly for the Calabarzon area, which is a shorthand for Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon Province.

The push is in line with DOT’s thrust of promoting new sustainable tourism products, along with the activation of safety campaign under the new normal. The GCI clusters tourism spots across municipalities and cities in Calabarzon in a “travel bubble” or “travel corridor” set-up.

Under the GCI program, the province of Laguna’s tourism circuit will be billed as “Buhay Laguna” with nature and adventure, history, and culinary tourism as the highlight in the cluster of San Pablo City, Rizal, Nagcarlan, and Liliw. (More on this on a future article.)

TANAW Park in Rizal. Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario using OPPO Reno6.

“Laguna is blessed to have many open-air, nature and culture-based tourism products. Best of all, Laguna can be accessed quickly and conveniently from Metro Manila through land travel, which is the most ideal way for Filipinos to travel in the current situation,” tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Cavite’s, on the other hand, will be called the “Metro Tagaytay” Tourism Circuit, with the cluster of Tagaytay City, Maragondon, Silang, and Cavite putting the spotlight on nature, health and wellness, and farm tourism.

For Batangas, it’s called the “Bayside Tourism Circuit,” which focuses on sun and beaches, nature and adventure, history and culture, and diving in the cities of Nasugbu, Calatagan, Taal, and San Juan.

Meanwhile, in Rizal, the emphasis is on arts and culture, nature and adventure, faith and culinary tourism in what they call the “Faith, Food, Art, Adventure, and Nature Experience” tourism circuit in the cities of Antipolo, Angono, Taytay, and Cainta.

Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery. Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario using OPPO Reno6.

“Rizal is blessed to have many open air, nature, culture-based tourism products and it has been proven that as long as open air and protocols are in place, we can restart tourism,” Puyat said.

Lastly, in Quezon, it’s called the “REINA Tourism Circuit,” which highlights nature and adventure, surfing, and sun and beach in the cluster of Real, Infanta, and General Nakar.

In the normal, creating these tourism circuits is vital to ensure safe traveling within the corridor.

Puyat said: “Through the Green Corridor Initiative, [the Calabarzon region] will be interlinked in the safety of a travel bubble, furthering the DOT’s commitment to promote the province as a fun, sustainable and safe destination.”