Irresponsible Tourists Bring Toxic Tourism to Baguio City
Despite the country’s campaign on conscientious tourism, many irresponsible tourists visiting Baguio still keep our heads hanging in shame. And the residents are the ones most affected by these holiday makers behaving badly.
No doubt, Baguio is one vacation destination that’s tough to top. Like many people, I am one of those tourists charmed by its highland allures. In fact, I was just in Baguio on a business visit a week before Christmas.
While in town, I experienced the quintessential Baguio at peak season. The beautiful sights & chilly feels were awesome. But at the same time, the reality of tourist exodus was undeniably maddening.
Irresponsible Tourists: A Risk to Baguio
Sadly, many tourists feel so entitled that because they bring in money to the city, they can just behave the way they want. While tourism rakes in money, many appear travelling in transgressive styles by leaving troubles in places they visit.
Irresponsible tourists are great risks to any destination. They disrespect, exploit & suffocate the environment, people & local lifestyle. Baguio, being one of the easiest getaways easily falls into this pit of uncaring acts by tourists.
Not that Baguio residents don’t want us to visit their place. In fact, they have been very understanding of the circumstances every vacation season. What they are asking from us is reasonable: at least be responsible tourists.
According to DPWH (posted via Mayor Benjie Magalong’s FB page), about 32,000 vehicles passed through its roads last December 26 alone.
Baguio has narrow uphill roads with very limited parking spaces. Add vehicles that stop because unfamiliar drivers have to ask for directions, plus, stalled vehicles. Put all of these together & what you get is a total mess!
Let us remember that every time a vehicle stops is equivalent to a stretch of cars hedged behind us.
In my recent trip, I could have easily requested for a car service. But I made the smart choice by taking the P2P bus from Clark Airport. Try this sometime too!
More Combustion. More Pollution
It’s no brainer that the more cars running, the greater pollution it creates in the atmosphere. Moreover, as drivers we ought to know that the slope of the road affects the resistance of a vehicle to traction.
Roads in Baguio are steep! So think of the extra emissions we make every time we rev up. To add, most Filipino drivers are arrogant horn-blowers. Imagine the unnecessary noise.
I am not fond of walking. But sights in downtown Baguio are walkable, so I did — most of the time when I was there. Besides, it was a good chance for a cardio workout.
Because of this unbearable gridlock, public jeepneys couldn’t anymore return to terminals on time. This leaves all public-commuting residents standing in long queues. Think what the residents have to endure for hours just to get to their destinations.
Garbage, Too Much Garbage
Nothing is more irritating than seeing people littering around. This is an easy work of irresponsible tourists. Baguio residents are known as compliant citizens especially to their anti-littering laws.
Tons of pictures are going around social media how garbage are hastily thrown away by tourists.
What Can We Do?
Obviously, it doesn’t require much to help Baguio give tourists & residents a happy experience. It’s a win-win thing: residents get to live their lives & us tourists get to max out on our holiday getaways.
- Don’t drive if we can. Take the bus instead.
- If we insist, let’s park our cars in the hotel & just take taxi around.
- Carpooling. It saves a lot!
- Don’t throw garbage anywhere.
- Get a tour guide so we don’t wander aimlessly.
- Walk. Walk. Walk if we can.
- Use Waze, drivers!
What the Government is Doing
Are tourists all to blame? In fairness, not. Baguio also keeps its inherent problems passed on from generations of administrations. The new leadership is actually rehabilitating the city & all we could do is to trust & cooperate.
The problems are already there & in our own little ways, we can be part of the solutions. Yes, we all say, we love Baguio. So let’s simply behave like we truly care. The least we like is for it to take the fate of Boracay & close it down to all of us.
Finally, let us not forget that we are just visitors. Baguio isn’t ours. And just like how we are taught good manners at home & at school, respect your host.