DOT-led open swim event advocates for sustainable tourism

The open water swim circuit had a successful kick-off in Sipalay City, setting the bar high for the remaining three legs of the advocacy swim event.

The successful first leg of the Western Visayas International Open Water Swim Circuit, held last February at Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, reiterates the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) commitment to sustainable tourism. 

146 swimmers dove into the cool, breathtaking waters of Sipalay, with surprise prizes awaiting the top finishers of the event. The open water “advocacy” swim event marked the first of four legs, with the next three events happening in Sicogon Island in Carles, Iloilo on April 14; Taklong Island in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras, on June 30; and in Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan on September 22.

Sustainable tourism DOT Region VI
Organizing Committee: DOT Region VI headed by Regional Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez, ZOWSCI headed by the club President Mr. Japy T. Silapan, City Government of Sipalay headed by Mayor Maria Gina Lizares, Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Mr. Jerick Lacson, and Provincial Government of Negros Occidental headed by Governor Bong Lacson, represented by Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Ms. Cheryl F. Decena

“The Western Visayas International Open Water Swim Circuit is not just a race; it’s a testament to our country’s commitment to environmental conservation and community engagement. Through the DOT-6 spearheaded event, we aim to tap into new markets of adventurers and sports enthusiasts. This successful kick-off in Sipalay City underscores the importance of responsible tourism, emphasizing the significance of caring for our environment. As we invite participants to register for future legs, we look forward to offering diverse and exciting swim experiences that echo our dedication to sustainable tourism and the warm hospitality of Western Visayas,” shares DOT Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco.

Sustainable tourism Open Water Swim

According to DOT-6 Regional Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez, open water swimming is a low-impact activity that promotes human-nature connections, engaging the community and creating awareness in terms of taking care of our environment.

Sustainable Tourism Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez
DOT Region VI Regional Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez during the Rationale of the International Open Water Swim Circuit: Experience Western Visayas – Sipalay City Leg

“It’s very important to be able to be mindful of our activities,” Rodriguez said. “We should be aware that we are not just only promoting the beauty of our destinations, but also making everyone aware of the importance of taking care of our environment.”

Tapping into a new market segment of adventurers and sports enthusiasts is a key priority for the region. Its beautiful shores and seas are highly accessible, thanks to the region’s accessible entry points by air and sea. 

The race route within the Campomanes-Ballo Marine Reserve and Sanctuary is a protected marine area. Here, amateur and competitive swimmers had the opportunity to swim while taking in the immersive view of the island’s coral reefs.

“We’re very proud of where we are now. We are a small city but we’re very big on environmental conservation. We take care of our remaining resources. It’s all geared toward saving, not just conserving, what we have and to optimize what we have,” said Sipalay City Mayor Maria Gina Lizares.

Sustainable Tourism:  Mr Japy Silapan
Race orientation of participants with Mr. Japy T. Silapan, president of Zamboanga Open Water Swimming Club, Inc.

The organizers of the event are inviting adventurers to register for the future swim events. “There will be more exciting swim routes and distances that are friendly for beginners and veteran swimmers. We will still support the locally sourced food in the areas and the green advocacy that will promote sustainable tourism. Of course, the hospitality of Western Visayas will still be there,” says Japy Silapan, president of Zamboanga Open Water Swimming Club, Inc.

Finishers of the Sipalay City leg were awarded a medal, while podium finishers were given a wooden trophy crafted by a local artisan and a cash prize sponsored by Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Mayor Lizares.

The full list of winners, details, and more photos about the upcoming legs can be found on Western Visayas International Open Water Swim’s Facebook page and Instagram account.

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