Regina Paz “Gina” Lopez, managing director of ABS-CBN Foundation, is a woman busy with so many advocacies and yet so few words. Her succint responses speak volumes; she lets her deeds do the talking. Under her leadership, Bantay Bata 163 has rescued over 20,000 children, Bantay Kalikasan has effectively reforested watershed areas around La Mesa Dam, Metro Manila’s primary source of water and energy. Having involved herself with the world most impoverished during 20 year stay in Africa, she now fuses experience and dedication to the disadvantage with the vast resources and expertise of of ABS-CBN Foundation.
You are well-known for your various advocacies, particularly for your support of environmental causes through the ABS-CBN Foundation. In your opinion, can the preservation of the environment go hand in hand with developing the business tourism?
“Yes, if reverence for the environment is made on the onset and is at every step of the way.”
Being connected with one of the country’s largest media companies (ABS-CBN), what are your thoughts about the current department of tourism campaign, “It’s more fun in the Philippines?”
“It’s alright. I would have wanted something of the environment there.”
What do you think is Philippines tourism’s most promising yet untapped potential? What in your opinion are the current challenges that philippine tourism must hurdle to maximize its business potential?
“We have to develop the infrastructure in our islands. We can be the top eco tourism destination in the country with all our islands. But most of the islands are not accessible. And then we need to develop systems so that the tourism benefits the communities. Tourism can get our people out of poverty if done the right way.”
In your personal travels of the philippines, what is your most favorite place?
“I love Sibuyan in romblon. And I like Palawan.”
Is there a part of the Philippines you have not gone to yet but wish to see? What is this place? Why do you want to go there?
“I would like to go to Tawi Tawi. I’ve heard its really beautiful. I would like to visit our islands and help the people there.”
What are your personal travel essentials, things that you cannot travel without?
“To manage life, i need my cell phone and my iPad. I need a hat and my Oakley sun glasses and sunblock. I need good rubber shoes for hiking.”
Why do you travel? What has traveling brought to your life? How has it contributed to the person you are now?
“Travelling is a good time to bond with my family. I like nature. I don’t really travel that much. I am really busy at work.”
Being someone who is passionate about preserving the environment, what is your message to filipino travelers?
“How does that saying go? Take snapshots—bring memories. Have reverence for the environment wherever you are. It’s the world we live in. We need to value it.”