LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Tour guides and porters have a vital role to play in promoting tourism with constant reminders of their functions, and how they carry themselves in towards the delivery of quality service
This was emphasized during the general assembly and election of officers of the Akiki Mt. Pulag Eco-Tour Guides and Porters Association (AMPEGPA).
There is also a need to constantly orient and update them with the addition of new members, said Emerita Albas, the Protected Area Superintendent of Mt. Pulag, Kabayan.
Mt. Pulag, the third highest peak in the country, is frequently visited by adventurists, hikers, trekkers with five entry points, each having organized group of guides and porters to assist visitors.
Tourism Operations Officer Ely Carias stressed that as frontliners who stay everyday in the tourist site, they are taught on personal hygiene and how to display a welcoming and good attitude. They are also taught basic life support, solid waste management, and basic bookkeeping for their association, among others.
Albas stressed that their job is not merely guiding but they should do this with passion, with a heart and a responsibility to the family, locality and to the park where they get their keep.
She elaborated their role in protecting the environment such as assisting in fire suppression, maintenance of cleanliness, reporting tree girdling activities among climbers, and monitoring land use change and forest cover. They should always be conscious that smoking is not only health hazard but may cause forest fire, and that they should never get involved in illegal activities.
Instilling in them the impact of their failure or blunder in their role as guides and porters would not only affect them individually but the reputation of the country as a whole, Albas said.
Meanwhile, the officers of the AMPEGPA who were inducted into office are: President- Belino Butil; Vice President – Crispin Naisod; Secretary – Benedict Guzman; Treasurer – Josie Aguinse; Auditor – Enersa Abag; Press Relations Officer – Roda Bastian; Business Managers – Marso Pokias; Winford Beliano; Abelina Petil; and Sario Catumpang.
In a related development, Benguet Provincial Tourism Officer Clarita Prudencio said briefings and trainings will be conducted for guide and porter groups to level up their knowledge and skills to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) standards with the impending regional economic integration. /PIA Benguet#