HOM launches Hands On Volunteer Vacations

Hands On Manila (HOM) launched its new flagship project, Hands On Volunteer Vacations (HOVV), which will provide service-and-learning travel experience for vacationers who also want to spend their holidays doing community work. Secretary Ace Durano of the Department of Tourism (DOT) was the special guest for the said event.


Pilot HOVV projects are categorized in three main areas: environment, heritage, and livelihood. Initial project sites include Mt.HalconForestMuseum in Oriental Mindoro; Baclayon and Pamalican in Bohol; Boracay and the mangrove plantation in Aklan; as well as heritage and environment sites in Laguna and Batangas.

Volunteers can elect to get involved in activities as diverse as tree planting and biodiversity studies in Mt. Halcon; organic farming at Alaminos, Laguna; or do trail mapping and evaluation of the marine biodiversity in Bohol. In Aklan, volunteers may help in the process of extracting Piña fiber, or do environmental cleanups in one of the seven basins of JawiliFalls. These are just a few of the flexible volunteer opportunities for travelers who are seeking a more socially relevant or meaningful holiday.

HOM worked closely with the Department of Tourism (DOT) for this project and is partnering with the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), and the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (NAITAS), both of whom will provide logistical support for the vacation aspect of the program.

“Hands on Volunteer Vacations or HOVV came about as a result of two disparate things -- requests by foreign and local travelers for volunteer opportunities within the Philippine archipelago, and the growth of a new kind of tourism that has swept the world.People no longer leave their own shores purely to enjoy the sights and sounds of another nation.They now actively seek engagement with the places they visit, and the people they meet.Travelers of the new millennium seek relevance, and practice what they embrace, even away from home,” HOM President and Chairperson Wynn Wynn Ong said.

The concept of Volunteer Vacations is not new in the travel industry. Many travelers from first world countries and developed nations seek volunteer opportunities in other nations that need help. However, in the Philippines, this is an area that still needs to be promoted, and the view of the Philippines as a destination replete with not only beautiful tourist sites, but also areas of rich volunteer opportunities, still needs to be ingrained in the consciousness of vacationers.

“We are raising volunteerism in the Philippines to a new level through HOVV.  Foreign and local travelers will not only be able to lend their time and presence in various local communities. They will also be able to share their expertise and knowledge in places as diverse as the evocative slopes of Mt.Halcon in Oriental Mindoro, the fertile mangrove swamps of Aklan, the powdery white beaches of Boracay, and the stunning centuries-old churches and towns of Bohol.In exchange, they will gain more in-depth knowledge about Filipino culture and take part in the daily lives of the people of the communities.They will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in their host village, or town, and interact with all its members, while helping protect the environment, preserving our heritage, or studying marine biodiversity in the surrounding seas” Ong added.


If you have friends or family members coming to the Philippines, treat them to an exciting and enriching vacation through the Hands On Volunteer Vacations. Try its projects and share your experience with others.

For more information on HOVV, contact Carmela David at 843-5231 or e-mail carmela.david@handsonmanila.org.

Published by: HOM Hands On Manila
25 May 2009 07:09 GMT
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