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Cebu businessmen are taking their “green” advocacy a step further as they put together an eco-tourism trail that aims to raise environmental awareness and create alternative livelihood opportunities for hillside communities.

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the local tourism sector are currently putting the finishing touches on the pathway, which they hope to launch in three months. The trail winds through energy-efficient residences and organic gardens up to the province’s upland pocket forest, which has panoramic views of the island and the surrounding sea.

The day-long course will start at Mr. Archival's house, which harnesses solar and wind energy for its electricity requirements and has rainwater catchments, water recycling and composting facilities and a biodigester that processes animal waste.

Tourists will also be visiting the home of architect Glen Green, which uses natural lighting and a passive cooling system to save on energy costs. Other destinations, all in Cebu city's highland areas, are Rene Mercado's organic garden; the waterfalls in Paril; the city’s sole remaining pocket forest; a spot that features a zip line; and the famous Tops, which overlooks the whole of Metro Cebu and its nearby islands.

The chamber's sustainability committee is carrying out other activities to promote environmental protection. One of these, the Participatory Urban Greening Project, launched in December last year, envisions the “greening” of the historic Colon St. and the rest of the city’s downtown district--a task that includes dotting its sidewalks with large garden jars that contain the air-purifying ficus plant.

Thus far, two Gaisano-owned stores along Colon street and Deco Sales along Imus street have placed a total of 20 jars fronting their establishments. Homegrown firm International Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has at least 100 plants within and outside its factory complex in Mabolo.