697.3 Development at the margins and the margins of development: Tourism and local livelihood system in southern Philippines

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 11:21 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Lou ANTOLIHAO , Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
This paper explores local-global relations in the context of eco-tourism development in the Philippines. The discussion mainly focuses on the case of Eden, a remote village located in the periphery of a forest reserve in southern Philippines. The community was the site of a vast banana plantation that was established in the 1970s, over an area that was left open by a logging company. During the heights of the Asian Miracle in the early 1990s, the area was again redeveloped into what is now called Eden Nature Park, a popular tourist destination.

This project drew different reactions among the local residents. Some believe that tourism development enabled their locality to tap into a new resource that brought opportunities to many people. Among them were local villagers who through training and experience were able to get more stable sources of income by working in the tourist resort. For other residents, however, it mainly reminds them of how they were marginalized by the establishment of the banana plantation in their locality several years earlier. Particularly, many older generation men were resentful as more educated young residents, immigrants, and women have overtaken them in securing employment in the local tourism industry.

Looking into the impact of tourism development on local livelihood system involves a whole range of issues that comprises environmental sustainability, resource-use conflict, and social marginalization. It tries to demarcate the “margins” of development and globalization through the analysis of the strategies of engagement employed by local people as their community is drawn into a complex globalizing process brought about by tourism. This local-global nexus can be a source of valuable knowledge on how global, macro-level paradigms resonates at the grassroots level, exposing important lessons on local participation, conflict resolution, and the local people’s conception of environmentalism.