Off limits

- Social media bane for Carmen waterfall

Forest guards are cautioning travelers looking for cheap thrills in Barangay Carmen, Baguio District to respect the properties near the curtain waterfalls dubbed the Mini-Asik Asik Falls, a nod to a similar waterfall destination in Alamada, North Cotabato.

Rey Sapid, a Bantay Bukid coordinator, has called out irresponsible travel blogging as the culprit and its effects to the natural wonder.

Because of popular blogs featuring the area, the property has faced a deluge of visitors, mostly coming from the city’s downtown.

The issue was brought up during last week’s Watershed Summit, with much of the city’s third congressional district part of a large watershed providing the city’s water.

According to Sapid, local residents are beginning to complain about the visitors.

Visitors reportedly throw their trash everywhere, while jeeploads of visitors come in droves and park nearby. Loud music is played.

Vegetable farmers reportedly find their crops picked by passersby who are on their way to the waterfalls.

The barangay has become a getaway destination without regulation, according to concerned citizens.

Barangay Carmen is still in the drafting stage of its local tourism plan, even with the local government already requiring each of the 182 barangays to draft their tourism plans in accordance with the Tourism Code.

Tourism plans outline the development plans for areas such as the steep hills of the third congressional district.

A few months ago, officials from the City Tourism Operations Office and the City Administrator’s Office fumed when they found out about makeshift tourist spots offering canyoneering as one of its services.

Extreme sports need regulation, and the city government provides guidance for tourist spots wishing to provide services for travelers.

Mayor Sara Duterte, in an interview Saturday, said that the matter was discussed last week.

“The barangay has decided to close off the area to visitors,” Mayor Duterte said.

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