Love them or hate them, you still have to pay them. We’re talking here about environmental fees that you’ll find in most, if not all, of the popular destinations in the Philippines. Listen, we get it: Many people come a long way to be here and it can feel “unfair” to find out you need to pay (another) fee just to see what you came to see. But there are good reasons for the environmental fees you encounter on our islands.
Understanding the Tourism System
What often throws off independent travelers and divers are the number of small fees – environmental fees, marine park fees, sanctuary fees, diving fees, camera fees – and the inconsistencies of these fees from one island or dive site to the next. In the Philippines, no single body regulates the fees visitors pay — the local government units set the regulations within their locations. It works well for addressing the unique challenges of each location, but not so well for budgeting for your trip.
Why Pay Environmental Fees
The Philippines is still a diamond in the rough. We are still in the process of developing smooth synergies between its environmental and tourism agencies. That means not everything is as clear-cut and organized as it should be. If you return to a favorite destination to find there’s a fee where there wasn’t one before, or that fees vary from place to place, or there’s an extra cost for a specific site or activity you want to do – don’t despair. The local authorities are working things out as best they can.
We understand that you’re going to be suspicious, and many travelers question whether their money really goes to cleaning up beaches or rehabilitating corals. We’d love to see local tourism authorities be more transparent about where the money goes. Until then, consider environmental fees paid as your show of support for the future of Philippine travel sites.
We can say that good work is being done with the proceeds from these fees. For example, at Monad Shoal off Malapascua in the province of Cebu, there’s a PHP 50 environmental fee for diving with the Thresher Sharks and an additional PHP 150 daily fee for diving on Malapascua island. With these fees, the local government officials and concerned businesses are doing a fantastic job of patrolling protected areas, mapping out cleaning stations of the Thresher Sharks, and educating the residents about the importance of preserving the environment. We’ll soon share more of these success stories here on our website.
How Hello PH! Can Help
When you pre-book a tour with Hello PH! your environmental fees, marine park or sanctuary fees, service charges, and government taxes of your prepaid activities are included in your package price. If you are being picked up by the Hello PH! Guide, your porter fees are covered as well. This makes planning your budget in the Philippines straightforward and easy. When booking with us, taxes and environmental fees are the least of your problems. Know that the budget you had for local souvenirs, fresh coconuts, and sunset cocktails will remain intact.
For more of what is (and isn’t) included in our tour packages, feel free to Contact Us.