The area of the Obu-Manuvu community is characterized by an abundance of natural endowments; pristine forests with a huge diversity of flora and fauna, fast flowing streams, creeks and meandering rivers, cascading waterfalls, etc. The newly improved farm-to-market trail passes some excellent bird watching spots and outstanding viewpoints; an iron-made hanging bridge across the clear water Panigan River and a fascinating scenery on top of community farm area in Karilongan overlooking the whole of Barangay Carmen and some part of the Davao metropolis and the Davao Gulf. One can experience the breath of fresh air and the smell of nature as well as the unique and genuine culture of Obu-Manuvu community. The existence of all these “wonders” and the potential benefits for the Obu-Manuvu community and the natural environment they protect, are the reasons why this Eco-Cultural tourism plan was made.
The plan is to establish some simple but attractive eco-friendly Obu-Manuvu structures called “Obu Manuvu Village” at the top end of the community farms in Karilongan, where besides the earlier mentioned nature attractions, cultural activities will be performed that will attract eco-tourist/visitors who want a new experience and adventure in a helpful way both to the Obu Manuvu indigenous community and to the environment.The proposed Eco-Cultural tourism project is an initiative of Obu Manuvu community in Carmen in partnership with the Obu Manuvu Ancestral Domain Management Council, BLGU-Carmen, NCIP and the DENR as part of the 10-years Memorandum of Agreement and with support of the EGIP Foundation and some other project partners.
Series of meetings and presentations were made for the whole month of June in order to acquire suggestions and recommendations and to get consent to partner agencies. Firstly, the project was presented to the Obu-Manuvu Tribal Council headed by Datu Luis Lambac and his council, Datu Joel Unad and datu George Mandahay as part of the Project Implementation Team ( PIT) Meeting. The objective of the meeting was to give an update of the on-going and future project/plans for the community. The proposed community based tourism was also introduced to the tribal council. The three (3) Datus were very thankful for the financial support of EGIP Foundation about initiative of the Obu-Manuvu community and as usual, they also gave their full support and positive thoughts on the project.
The proposed project was then presented to Department of Tourism Regional Office and City Tourism Operation’s Office last June 4 &5, 2018. These two offices hold a major role to the project with regards to giving assistance in promotion and marketing. They will also facilitate the capacity development of Tourism stakeholders and key players through the provision of appropriate capability training. They will also assist in setting-up of systems for the efficient implementation of the Management and Operational Plan. Also, they will be part of the monitoring and evaluation team who will assess the project, quarterly and annually. Aside from the natural, unique and genuine culture of the Obu-manuvu tribe as well as the eco-structures established in the Obu-Manuvu village, the proposed project was identified as great potential to invite both local and international tourists. But aside from availability of infrastructure and other facilities needed by tourists, safety is a major concern of both offices.
To address the concern about security matters, meeting was held at Barangay hall of Carmen last June 8, 2018. It was participated by the BLGU-Carmen headed by Hon. Alfredo Austral Sr. and his council, Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC), Baguio District Police and Philippine Army of the 3rd Infantry Battalion of Malagos District, Davao City. They are part of the monitoring and evaluation team of the project and primarily their role is to provide safety and security to the guests/tourists. The main objective of the meeting is to establish and implement a proper channel of communication with the project management and their office especially with regards to peace andsecurity related matters. The meeting ended with a promising messages from 3rd IB and Baguio District Police Office that they will give their full support in securing the whole area covered by the project and will be active in all activities of the proposed project.
Overall, with the support and recommendations of different partner agencies, the proposed Koontayan ‘To Obu-Manuvu Eco-Cultural Adventure was push through. The Obu-manuvu community is very excited with their new project as it will not only provide incentive to them, but for most, it preserves their genuine cultural resources. As of this writing, more or less 60% of the eco-structures were done and now in partnership with one great travel agency for promotion and marketing both in local and international tourist.