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Fermin Alvarez: A Search for Home From Madrid to Camiguin

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From his affluent life in the vibrant city of Spain, former advertising executive Fermin Alvarez had a 360-degree transformation when he arrived in Camiguin.

Dubbed as the “Island Born of Fire” because it was formed through volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, Camiguin in Mindanao has become Fermin’s second home.

He was adopted by a local family residing in the island before he was able to buy a land on one of the slopes Mt. Hibok-Hibok.

Named “Volcano House”, Fermin opened his doors to tourists who want to experience Camiguin.

At present, apart form the Volcano house which is now open to tourists, he is part of the Kilaha Foundation which focuses on projects to promote local tourism in Camiguin.

Fermin is also actively involved in projects whose purpose is to educate the local youth.

Aside from attending to his small rental, he is now focused on his foundation, Kilaha, which he created with a bunch of friends in the island. His advocacy brings together members and friends from different backgrounds, cultures, and generations with the purpose of developing different projects for the preservation and promotion of Camiguin.

"Right now the biggest project we are developing is a stargazing park on the top of the active volcano of the island. It's the first stargazing park in the world surrounded by volcanoes,” said Fermin.

Kilaha wanted to highlight the beauty of the island while raising environmental awareness to maintain its majestic form.

“We are educating all the kids in the province in astronomy, stargazing, climate change, and disaster risk mitigation. And we are helping the province with an ecotourism new hotspot for the tourist."

The group also came up with programs and activities visitors can try to experience the best the island has to offer.

“The project is called Camiguin Nightscapes. The night sky in Camiguin is something totally unique. Imagine thousand of stars, the Milky Way as clear as you can imagine, and all with the perfect match of the profile of the surrounding volcanoes,” he added.

When asked what made him choose the Philippines, he gave a brief answer: “Because it's so difficult in this world to find a place with so many beautiful places with a culture and people so unique and friendly."

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