The paper examines the issues and challenges of promoting sustainable island tourism in Puerto Galera., the first site in the Philippines declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biosphere Res= within the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program. It discusses the main issues associated with coastal tourism on an island setting including the indigenous heritage found therein. The environment and community issues in Sabang and White Beach, the two most popular destinations in Puerto Galera, are presented. While tourism has improved the economic status of some members of the community, concerns have been raised with regard to the protection and appropriate management of the natural and cultural heritage of the study area as well as the general welfare of the local community. The outcome of the study serves as a challenge to the tourism industry, local government, and relevant stakeholders. Management and policy recommendations are presented in support of sustainable tourism principles and the goals of the UNESCO-MAB program. These recommendations may be adopted by other tourist destinations confronted with similar issues and concerns.
Keywords: Biosphere reserve, coastal tourism, community, governance, natural and cultural heritage