The City of Sagay ranked second in the Top 100 Green Destinations Story Awards in the World under the Nature & Scenery Category for its sustainable tourism efforts. The award ceremony was held during the ITB Berlin Convention in Germany on March 7, 2023.
It also received the People’s Choice Award.
Negros Occidental 2nd District Representative Thirdy Marañon & Sagay City Vice Mayor Leo Rafael Cueva received the award on behalf of Mayor Narciso L. Javelosa, Jr.
Sagay City’s entry featured the Sagay Marine Reserve, which was once known as the Alaska of the Philippines. The marine reserve suffered massive destruction of coral reefs due to man’s abuse of the marine environment, but in the 1970s, marine conservation efforts were initiated in a 200-hectare marine reserve, which later expanded to a 32,000-hectare protected seascape.
The city’s efforts to provide an inclusive, sustainable, and biodiversity-friendly livelihood to communities inside the reserve have been successful, resulting in a significant increase in awareness of biodiversity.
Community-led management of eco-tourism provides inclusive economic opportunities for their families and community, and the success of the project serves as an inspiration to other communities to take care of their environment and appreciate the beauty and importance of biodiversity.
The City of Sagay implemented several key initiatives, including community organization and planning for sustainable transformation, creating a pro-environment and pro-community biodiversity-friendly livelihood for community members, and streamlining biodiversity knowledge to the community. Arts and culture activities, including visual arts, theatre, music composition, and filmmaking, were also introduced to showcase the richness of life in the mangrove forest.