ABS CBN Foundation International and the Philippine Department of Tourism – San Francisco unveil “Voluntrip”

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US-based private and public sectors join forces to support ecotourism in the Philippines.

ABS CBN Foundation International and the Philippine Department of Tourism - San Francisco launch Voluntrip

The authenticity of this experience... walking in the deep courage, humanity, and dignity of once indigent Filipino people reminds us that change can happen if we work together to help alleviate poverty.

International travel earns new wings as ABS CBN Foundation International and the Philippine Department of Tourism – San Francisco sign a memorandum of understanding to jointly launch Voluntrip, an endeavor that adds a philanthropic element to tourism. The project takes “voluntourists” on a unique trip to the ecotourism sites of ABS-CBN Foundation in the island paradise of Palawan, the rainforests of Sibuyan Island in Romblon, and the cultural havens of Bicol. Tours will be made available beginning September of 2013.

Voluntrip was created with a purpose of showcasing the natural beauty and grandeur of the Philippines and the pro-social successes of ABS CBN Foundation International’s Greenfund Philippines – a program whose grassroots movement to protect the nation’s natural resources transforms pristine waters and lush forests into self-sustaining, entrepreneurial communities that nourish and protect Mother Nature.

“The Philippine Tourism Office - Philippine Consulate General of San Francisco proudly supports and promotes tourism in the country and Voluntrip seamlessly aligns with our goals, while working to protect our country’s resources which are unseen in any other part of the world,” says Hon. Rene de los Santos, Tourism Attache of the Philippine Consulate General of San Francisco. “The natural beauty of the Philippines is unparalleled and with the development of Greenfund Philippines’ ecotourism sites for adventurers of every level, we are proud to say that it really is more fun in the Philippines.”

As part of Voluntrip, the traveler will experience and support local community-led projects and initiatives. While in-country, the voluntourist participates in a more involved version of philanthropy – connecting with local communities, sharing ideas, and learning about the benefits of ecotourism, while embarking on a journey to the most breath-taking and undiscovered habitats and terrain of the Philippines where nature is experienced unlike ever before.

“We believe that philanthropy, in its very essence, is a destination and we encourage everyone to experience it firsthand because you cannot visit with these local communities that have paradise for a home and walk away unmoved,” says Jo Ann Kyle, Managing Director for ABS CBN Foundation International. “The authenticity of this experience, while being in the heart of the best of nature adventures the world has to offer, walking in the deep courage, humanity, and dignity of once indigent Filipino people reminds us that change can happen if we work together to help alleviate poverty.”

The ecotourism sites of Greenfund Philippines take tourists on spelunking and zip lining adventures on an 18 million-year old rock, cruising down mangroves towards a firefly watching spectacle, down mountain trails towards pristine beaches, and through underwater feats where the coral reefs boast of the most diverse animal life known to the world. The private tour through the Philippine islands allows travelers to explore the densest forests and experience the best of biodiversity, bar none.

ABS CBN Foundation International and the Philippine Department of Tourism – San Francisco invite voluntourists to an expedition of adventure, ecotourism and a unique journey with a cause. For more information on Voluntrip, available tours, and a peek into the islands, visit http://www.abscbnfoundation.org.

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ABOUT ABS CBN FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL:

ABS CBN Foundation International is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged Filipino families in the Philippines and around the world. Its flagship program, Bantay Bata (Child Watch), is a child abuse rescue operation that responds to an average of 15,300 calls for assistance a year. The program assists more than 21,000 children and families in relocation communities and feeds at least 4,400 severely malnourished children a year. Its education program serves 4.2 million elementary school children and their teachers. Other programs include Sagip Kapamilya (disaster rescue, relief and rehabilitation), ETV in schools (school reform in elementary schools) and Sagip Kalikasan (environmental programs).

In the United States, the organization partners with Filipino-American organizations and associations in addressing community issues--youth truancy, housing, issues affecting the elderly, health, and emergency needs. For more program information, visit http://www.abscbnfoundation.org.

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Highlights Reel: http://youtu.be/FfX1RGEAAbA

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Keesa Ocampo
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