5 Important Things to Make Your Diving/Snorkeling Environmentally Friendly

Divers and snorkelers are known to be responsible travelers. With all the training and orientations about marine life and its ecosystem, they are aware that marine life has to be protected in order to be enjoyed now and in future generations. Besides, divers and snorkelers are ocean’s partner in conservation. Below are the 5 important things from Green Fins to make your next diving/snorkeling trip environmentally friendly.

  1. Do not touch corals. Corals are very fragile animals; they are closely related to jellyfish. It takes a long time for them to grow. The Honeycomb coral, for example, takes up to 20 months to grow just 1 cm while some coral reefs are 10,000 years old. Besides, they can cut or sting your hands or feet.

  1. No gloves. Wearing gloves gives you a false sense of protection and encourages you to hold on to things, like coral, underwater. In addition to potentially damaging marine life and spreading disease, wearing gloves can be dangerous for you too. Gloves will not provide any security against marine life that can be life-threatening.

  1. Do not anchor on coral reefs. Anchors are heavy and often have a long chain attached. When dropped onto a fragile coral reef, they cause great destruction. If the boat changes direction with wind or currents, the anchor and chain will drag and cause more damage to our valuable reefs.

  1. No stepping on coral. Watch your feet and fins at all times. The most damaging contacts to the reef come from your fins. Corals are very fragile and take a long time to grow. Stepping on or kicking the corals can break it, damage its surface, or cut your feet.

  1. Don’t buy souvenirs of coral and marine life. This encourages people to remove tons of marine life, dead or alive, from marine ecosystems to sell as souvenirs. Many of these species play vital roles in maintaining healthy reef ecosystems. If the buying stops, the killing and collecting can too.


Click here if you want to learn more about corals.


6 Practices to Avoid in Your Next Snorkeling/Diving Trip

When we go for a snorkeling or diving trip, we want to maximize our itinerary and at the same time enjoy the stunning life underwater. We want to take as many pictures or videos as possible that we can post or share to our friends. We miss to realize, though, that some of the practices that we do, probably we saw it done by others, can harm the marine environment. The following are the 6 practices to avoid in your next snorkeling or diving trip advocated by Green Fins:

  1. No fish feeding. Most marine animals have a very specific diet, and very specific range of digestive bacteria. Divers or snorkelers use bread or rice or food scraps to feed fish then reef fish rush to the diver/snorkeler leaving their territory and nests vulnerable to predators. Feeding the reef fish causes unnatural group predatory behaviour in normally solitary species making unguarded nests vulnerable. Another reason why we should not feed fish is that they normally eat algae. But since they become dependent to food from humans, this may allow algae to grow and smother coral. Lastly, its normal for reef fish to accidentally eat the eggs of coral predators while grazing upon algae. Feeding stops this grazing and allows predator populations to increase and damage the reef.

  1. No littering. There are many reasons why we should not litter. First, chemicals in the waste contaminate the water. Second, animals accidentally eat plastic bags and cigarette butts which can harm or even kill them. Another reason is chemicals and micro-plastics enter the food chain – meaning we end up eating our own trash! So let us be part of the solution, don’t litter on your next snorkeling or diving trip.

  1. Do not use toxic sunscreen. Sunscreen is widely used when swimming, diving and snorkeling. Yet studies have shown some chemical compounds in sunscreen including Oxybenzone and Octinoxate that may harm coral reefs even in very small doses. You can prevent harmful chemicals entering the ocean by using reef-safe sunscreen and covering up in the sun.

  1. No stirring the sediment. If you are not careful, your fins can stir up the sediment and debris, upsetting small habitats and covering corals. This not only reduces the ability of the coral to photosynthesize, it can also lead to devastating coral diseases. Stirring sediment can also lead to small animals being washed away or increase their chance of predation.

  1. No touching or chasing marine life. This can cause great stress to any animal. This can also transmit diseases or remove protective coatings of fish, mammals, invertebrates, and other species. Look, but never touch or try not to get too close.

  1. Say NO to single use plastic. Do you really need that plastic bag? Practice to REFUSE single use or disposable plastic bags, REDUCE your impact, REUSE old bags and RECYCLE plastic.

Shortened & Flexible Education with UK Diploma

When we plan for our education, or for our children, there are many things that we can consider or options to choose from. Course and major to take, school, campus, subjects to enroll and many others. But not the duration of the course as it is mostly fixed and the same in almost all colleges/universities depending on the course you take. Is it possible to shorten your education so you can already work or start your business? Is there a flexible academic program that can be availed even by those who are already working?

The answer is a resounding YES! The London Institute of Business and Technology (LIBT) offers shortened, flexible and UK government recognized certifications and diploma that is accepted and recognized globally. You can finish college for only two (2) years or less or with post-graduate for three (3) years or less. Others, they enroll and complete a Level 4 & 5 Diploma of their choice for only eight to twelve (8-12) months and start working!

The three items below will give you more information.

  1. Courses at London Institute of Business and Technology. You can accelerate your executive education wherever you are. All academic and non-academic programs of LIBT are accredited and recognized by the Office of Qualifications (OFQUAL), England. The courses are designed with flexible delivery to suit the busy schedule and the industry demand.

  1. Reasonable tuition fee. All programs of LIBT are among the most affordable in Europe and Asia and for one simple reason – technology enablement.

  1. Blockchain verifiable diploma. LIBT issues blockchain-based certificates/diploma upon successful completion of an academic or non-academic training program. The single-click verification makes third-party authentication highly convenient. LIBT’s Blockchain-based credentials are offered via Accredible, a specialized platform with bank-level encryption, which makes forgery and manipulation of credentials impossible. LIBT’s verifiable digital credentials are shareable across social media & professional networking platforms with a simple click.

For Quick Processing and Approval of scholarship, email at ralph@libt.co.uk or visit this website: https://rlbalmaceda.com/education

4 Steps You Can Do to Help the Community You Are Visiting

When we arrive to our travel destination, we usually want to ensure that we avail everything to maximize what we paid for. From our accommodation and all its inclusions, use of all facilities and enjoying all the sites and attractions. Sometimes, though, we forget that the resources of the hotel/resort we are staying is shared from the resources of its host community. Plus, as responsible travelers, we also have the responsibility to protect the environment of the destination we are visiting. The following are the 4 steps you can do to help the community and the environment you are visiting.

  1. Bring your own water bottle. Many travelers simply buy bottled water when they travel because this is convenient to them. Imagine how many plastic water bottles will be left in the destination as plastic waste if all travelers will do this. By bringing our own reusable water bottle when we travel, we contribute to the efforts to reduce the plastic wastes in tourist destinations.

  1. Use digital travel materials. By using digital copies of travel brochures saved in your mobile devices or by navigating the website of our travel providers, we contribute to environmental conservation thru paperless travel. Besides, many tourism stakeholders are now supporting paperless transactions from e-tickets to vouchers to receipts as part of their sustainability program.

  1. Turn-off your room air-conditioner if you go out for a tour. Especially when visiting a tropical destination, we want to cool down right away in our room after an adventure or an excursion. Thus, some travelers leave their room air-conditioner open to ensure it will be cold and comfy when they are back. Remember, while it is true that the electricity consumption is part of what you paid for, these resources are shared from the host community and could have been used by some families.

  1. Reuse your towel. Many hotels and resorts are now supporting sustainability programs and implements arrangement in the use of towels. Be quick to check and understand these programs so you will know how you can support them. Make sure you know what it means if you hang your towel after you shower, put them on top of the lavatory, or leave them on the floor.

Welcome to R.L. Balmaceda Consulting!

Our team combines the uniquely diverse experience and expertise of professionals specializing in training & education, tourism & hospitality planning and management, marketing, events management, and business development. It prides itself with its wide professional network, strong local and international competencies, and broad range of experience working with both government and private sectors.

Binmaley: Blooming at San Sebastian College

Binmaley LGU participated and presented today at the Sebastinian Skills Competition event organized by the third year HRM students of the College of International Hospitality Management (CIHM) of the prestigious San Sebastian College-Recoletos Manila. The invitation was extended to Binmaley by Mrs. Teresita Valeroso, area chairperson for hospitality management, with the approval of Dr. Corazon R. Reyes the dean of CIHM. Binmaley LGU, represented by its tourism consultant Mrs. Josefina Victorio, first visited San Sebastian College last year for the exposure trip of its first Bloom Binmaley Ambassador under the municipality’s tourism brand Bloom Binmaley. Since then both parties were looking for possible collaboration on how to promote Binmaley’s products and the municipality as a stop-over for travelling tourists in Pangasinan.

Members of Binmaley delegation headed by Mrs. Victorio are: Mrs. Renaida B. Beltran, OIC municipal accountant; Mrs. Jennifer P. Manuel, municipal registrar; Mrs. Alicia Sanchez, teacher at Binmaley School of Fisheries, Mr. Paolo Mamaradlo and Enid Soriano, a student of Mrs. Sanchez.

After a quick courtesy call at the Dean’s office, the delegation was given a quick presentation of San Sebastian College’ senior high school program by its coordinator Ms. Aisa Arlos. Mrs. Cristina Caluza, area chairperson for tourism management, gave a facility tour showcasing CIHM’s facilities that is making them one of the best hospitality management school in Manila. After which the delegation went around to watch the various competitions done simultaneously at the campus ground. The group was generously hosted with lunch at the school’s GSM Blue bar where Dr. Corazon Reyes joined and discussed areas of possible collaboration.

“We are interested to make Binmaley a training partner for our students,” said Dr. Reyes after hearing what Binmaley can offer to her students. “We want them to be exposed and learn how LGUs develop and manage tourism and most of all we want them to learn and appreciate regional culinary and other local products of Pangasinan,” she added.

During the program Mrs. Josefina Victorio gave a brief talk about Binmaley and extended messages from Binmaley’s dynamic mayor Simplicio Rosario. Mrs. Alicia Sanchez gave a lecture and demonstration on Bangus deboning that was enjoyed by CIHM students, faculty members and visitors. Six students compete for the Bangus Deboning Competition that was judged after by the members of Binmaley delegation.

Angel Pico, the chairman of the HRMM Events Class 2016, said: “We are very happy that we got the support of Binmaley for our event. It was indeed very educational for us students and we hope to visit Binmaley very soon.”

The participation of Binmaley in this activity is not only to promote the municipality but the whole of Pangasinan. “We are positioning Binmaley as stop-over for tourist visiting Pangasinan and thus we are here to promote the entire province,” said Binmaley’s tourism consultant Mrs. Victorio. “We are very happy with the outcome of this partnership with San Sebastian College. We look forward to more activities with them and in welcoming their students in Binmaley. We have a very supportive mayor and a very dynamic and supportive provincial tourism officer. With their continuous support to us we are confident that very soon more tourists will start to visit Binmaley and see what Bloom Binmaley is all about,” she added.

Binmaley municipality through its Bloom Binmaley brand recently received the distinct recognition award for Best LGU Tourism Practices on Tourism Mapping & Research during the 2015 Aktibo ed Turismo Award of the province of Pangansinan.

Best Opción: Tagaytay

Are you stressed or bored and you are looking for a very accessible place to go to relax? Do you crave for Filipino food and you feel like you want to invite your friends to just drive somewhere for a late lunch or dinner? Is it hot in the Metro that you want to spend your weekend somewhere that is much colder? or simply like to do something different with your family like horseback riding, zip line, and many others? Most likely you will consider TAGAYTAY for these reasons among others.

But there is more of Tagaytay than the reasons of going mentioned above. A lot of people, even those living in its surrounding area, that Tagaytay is very rich in history. What was the role of Tagaytay in the liberation of Manila during World War II? What is the significance of the now known Tagaytay rotonda in the war period? Who constructed the Silang – Tagaytay road? When is the first and the last major eruption of Taal Volcano? Who instructed that Mt. Sungay be cut into half and for what reason did they constructed the now known People’s Park in the Sky?  Knowing information like these will really make a huge difference the next time you visit Tagaytay!

To ensure that  excursionists, tourists and vacationers will enjoy their stay in Tagaytay, a family based in Silang, Cavite decided to start a professional tour operator company considered to be the first of its kind in Tagayatay area. It was named Buena Opción International Tours and Travel, Inc.  It is a family-owned and run company backed-up by a professional consultant with solid fifteen years of industry and academic experience.Logo_final_white_withName_LowRes

Its name Buena Opción means “Best Option” and it boasts of its people following four core values namely: Progressiveness, Customer-focus, Conscientiousness and Teamwork.

This company values training and always makes sure that all  staff are knowledgeable and professional in their work. In fact, members of the board are hands-on in training their people.

Basic Tour Guiding Training
Basic Tour Guiding Training

Sales and Marketing director Jane De Jesus conducting in-house trainings for staff
Sales and Marketing director Jane De Jesus conducting in-house trainings for staff

Chairman CEOBest advantage is they maintain a family atmosphere within the company. And for Buena Opción, receiving a guest is like welcoming a guest in their house!

The Buena Opción family
The Buena Opción family

Staff and one of the guides handling our guests
Staff and one of the guides handling our guests

So next time you plan to visit Tagaytay, you might want to consider to contact Buena Opción to make your visit not only satisfying but educational as well!

For more info, please visit www.buenaopciontours.com

Buena Opción International Tours and Travel Inc. is a client and carries the brand of Ralph.

It’s more spiritual in PUP Institute of Technology!

When man was created, he was made in God’s image, according to his likeness.  This, of course, did not mean physical image or appearance, for God is a Spirit, and man is flesh. It meant that man, different from the “unreasoning animals”, had reasoning power; he had attributes like those of God, such as love, a sense of justice, wisdom, and power. We have the ability to understand why we existed and our Creator’s purpose toward us. Hence we, unlike the animals, were given the capacity for spirituality. We could appreciate and worship our Creator. This capacity created a need in Adam. He needed more than literal food; he had to have spiritual sustenance; his spirituality had to be exercised for his mental and physical welfare. And so as we.

Engr. Dante V. Gedaria, dean of the Institute of Technology of PUP, saw this need in his college. He noticed how technology is starting to change people’s lives. Thus he decided to have a spiritual seminar-workshop for faculty members. With the help of Prof. Aina David, the Institute of Technology of PUP was able to organize its first spiritual awareness seminar which was held on Nov. 22, 2012 at PUP Institute of Technology, 3rd Floor Conference Room, NDC Compound.



2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Siargao Island – to become the country’s Premier Tourism Training destination

When people hear of Siargao, most connect it with surfing! Well, they are right because over the past seventeen years, Siargao Island hosted the international surfing competition and became the country’s surfing capital. Last January 20, 2012, Cloud 9 in General Luna was declared No. 8 among the world’s 50 best surf spots by CNN GO.



Now, though, Siargao Island is not just for surfing. Even non-surfers will enjoy the island especially when Siargao Island Tour and Travel Inc. (Siargao Adventure) created various activities around the island. Not to mention that Siargao also host other international and national events like the International Game Fishing Tournament, Siargao Adventure Race and Siargao Girls Surfing Cup to name a few. And to make sure that Siargao Island will be protected for future generations to enjoy, Siargao Adventure promotes the practice of Sustainable Tourism in all their activities through their Siargao Green program.

Determined to promote and at the same time help local people to appreciate tourism industry, Siargao Adventure is once again starting another out-of-the-box program. Its latest: Siargao Island Tourism Training, the only and the first of its kind in the country! It aims to promote Siargao as a premier destination for tourism training. Under this program, Siargao Adventure launched TMT (Tourism Management Training) and HMT (Hospitality Management Training). These training programs were competency-based training programs that will enhance the knowledge skills and attitudes of tourism and hospitality students covering five tourism/hospitality management competencies needed for managerial positions in the tourism industry.

The program

The First School Partner

The first school to partner who availed of the training program is San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) located in C.M. Recto Ave., Manila, through its College of International Hospitality Management. SSC-R recognized the need for their students to be exposed to industry practices and to give them first hand training. “We want our graduates to be competent and equipped with skills needed after they graduate,” said Fr. Leander Barrot, OAR, vice president for academics of SSC-R. He saw the need for graduating students to get the best practicum program. “This is why we are here and why they enrolled to SSC-R. It is our duty to provide our students the best option available,” he added.

The program was first introduced to SSC-R during the term of its former president Fr. Anthony Morillo, OAR. With the support of Dr. Corazon Reyes, dean of CIHM, the program was presented to the new school board and later was given a go signal by the office of the vice president for academics.

From L-R: Dr. Corazon Reyes, dean of CIHM; Ms. Mary Grace Ac-ac, SSC-R director for corporate communications; Fr. Anthony Morillo, former president f SSC-R; Mrs. Cristina Caluza, CIHM area chair for tourism; Mayor JR Coro of municipality of Del Carmen and Ralph Balmaceda of Siargao Adventure

Twenty seven (27) tourism and hospitality management students signed-up for the first batch and were escorted to Siargao Island by Mrs. Cristina Caluza, CIHM’s area chair for tourism. The students will stay for fifteen days (Nov. 30 – Dec. 14, 2012) in the island for training and familiarization activities to its attractions. Tourism students will be assigned to Sayak airport, Dapa port, resort partners, Siargao Adventure office and even perform as Siargao tour guides for one day. Hospitality management students will be mostly assigned to resort partners while those with culinary major will go around different markets and restaurants to check what Siargao has to offer and will create and introduce new Siargao menu. The culinarians will be in charge in the preparation for the graduation party where they will present the menu they created.

students at dapa port

students at siit

Training Partners

This new program of Siargao Adventure was made possible because of the help and support of its training partners through the coordination of Engr. Prosefina M. Coro, president of Siargao Island Tourism Development Council. The center of this training and the official HEI partner is Siargao Island Institute of Technology (SIIT) while partners for transportation management are Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Port of Dapa and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Sayak Airport. Resort operations and management partners are Romantic Beach Villas, Kalinaw Restaurant Resort and Ocean 101 Cloud 9 Resort both in General Luna.

Government agencies and local government units were very supportive of this new program. Department of Tourism (DOT) Caraga provided Siargao books and other materials to support the marketing campaign, the Provincial Tourism Office of Surigao Del Norte provided brochures and videos while the Municipality of Del Carmen helped in the coordination with CAAP and a training partner for Eco-Tourism and Climate Change Adaptation.

SIIT Tarp for TMT

Sustainable Siargao

During the orientation Siargao Adventure presented to the students the Siargao Green program where they were reminded about the impact of their presence to the island and its effect to the island’s sustainability. They were encouraged to interact with the locals and make sure to support local industries. They were also provided with simple advices to follow during their stay, while exploring the area, while shopping and in their accommodation. This is to ensure that the island’s resources will be used reasonably, local people will benefit and that Siargao Island will be preserved for future generations to come.


The arrival of twenty seven students staying for fifteen days in Siargao will have a positive economic impact to the island. It results to outright tourism receipts equivalent to feeding one thousand three hundred fifty (1,350) families with 5 members each in one day or feeding one hundred ninety (190) families for one week. “We already have a schedule for four (4) batches from SSC-R,” said Girly Reyes, operations manager of Siargao Adventure and the marketing/promotions committee head of Siargao Island Tourism Development Council. She added: “Once we sign an agreement with SSC-R, this program will be year-round. More partners will be involved and more people will benefit. This is just the start and we are getting more interest from other schools as well.”

Truly, this tear-drop shaped tropical Island located 800 km from Manila is slowly positioning itself as the next prime destination! There is so much to offer and there is now a professional tour operator/tourism management company who handle guests coming from different market segments with varied interests and preferences.