THE ADMINISTRATION of Intramuros, a Spanish-era walled city in Manila, is tapping tourists and other volunteers for a weekly clean-up activity that it hopes will serve as an example for other tourist-heavy sites.
“We’re targeting partnerships with schools and companies so we can reach 100 participants every week. That would mean 400 volunteers a month, or about 5,000 volunteers a year,” said Jeffrey Yap, officer-in-charge for urban planning and community development in Intramuros.
Launched in March, the “Cleantramuros” project has seen dozens up to a hundred participants each week.
Though the famed “Walled City” has its own janitors and cleaners, the clean-up drive was started for the larger purpose of “creating a culture of respect for the heritage district,” according to Mr. Yap.
He told BusinessWorld in a Zoom interview that despite Intramuros being named Asia’s Leading Tourist Attraction in the 2022 World Travel Awards, the historic site can still be greatly improved.
“Of course, we’re championing it as the premier heritage district, but unfortunately, most visitors throw trash everywhere. People will be more aware if they see a clean-up drive,” he said.
Volunteers get to avail free entrance to Fort Santiago, which usually costs P75.
According to the Department of Tourism, the capital city of Manila attracts over a million visitors each year, with Intramuros being one of the main attractions.
Mr. Yap explained that this heavy foot traffic means more care needs to be put into preserving the built heritage, including the cobblestones and the walls.
“We’re partnering with the Climate Change Commission so that we can be mindful about the physical impact and further study how to protect the concerned sites,” he said. — Brontë H. Lacsamana