Archive for Social Impact

Green Travel Tips

Posted in Agri Tourism, Boracay, Clean Blue Asia, Coron, Ecotourism, Green Hotels, Negros Occidental, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel, Western Visayas, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

Isla Dibatoc, Coron, Palawan

How to travel GREEN! Build lasting memories while protecting the communities/regions you’ve traveled to! These green travel tips will enhance your trip—and help you make a positive difference in the places you visit.

Before you travel

Find out as much as possible. The more you know about a World Heritage Site or Marine Protected Area, the more the site will come alive. Look into the site’s history, culture, natural environment, customs, legends, advisory notices, and more.

Learn a few words in the local language. Make an effort to speak the local language. Simple words like “Hello,” “Please,” and “Thank you” can go a long way to help you communicate with the people who know the site best—they’ll appreciate your efforts and your interest in learning.

Pack light. It’s tempting to pack everything you think you might need, but remember to be smart about your necessities.Packaging items like the plastic wrapping of your new toothbrush simply consume space in your bag and can create excess trash for the fragile sites.

Shangrila Hotel Boracay with CSR & green initiatives

Shangrila Hotel Boracay with CSR & green initiatives

Choose lodging thoughtfully. Look for hotels that have written procedures for environmental impact, employment, and cultural policies.

Explore transportation options. Traveling affects the environment. Wherever possible, try to minimize your impact by looking to alternative transportation and off-setting your carbon emissions.

Calamianes Group of Islands Palawan

Calamianes Group of Islands Palawan

During your trip

Engage in local culture. The saying, “When in Rome do as the Romans” still applies today. Your trip provides a unique opportunity to explore a new culture and to see the world through a different perspective. Enjoying local foods, shopping in local markets, and attending local festivals are all part of experiencing the culture.

Buy local products and services. Choosing to support locally-owned businesses, community tour operators, and artisans means that you’ll have a one-of-a-kind experience and your money will go directly to the community. Before purchasing goods, ask about their origin. Avoid buying products made from threatened natural resources and report poaching and other illegal activities to the local authorities.

Mercado Indio, Lima -Peruvian Arts & Crafts

Mercado Indio, Lima -Peruvian Arts & Crafts

Refrain from aggressive bargaining. It’s often difficult to know your limits in bargaining, so if you’re not sure, ask your hotel for tips. Remember that the purchases you make directly affect vendors’ livelihoods, so decide if you really need to hang onto that extra dollar.

Hire local guides. Enrich your experience by choosing local guides who are knowledgeable about the destination. Ask local tour operators and hotels for recommendations.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Tread lightly. These destinations are World Heritage sites because of their exceptional natural or cultural splendor. Do your part to keep them that way by following designated trails, respecting caretakers, and not removing archaeological or biological treasures from sites.

Respect the natural environment. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Even though you are just visiting and not paying the utility bill, disposing of your garbage properly and minimizing your consumption of water and energy will benefit the overall destination.

Think of the Big Picture. While it is important to support local economy, certain tourist activities and souvenirs can damage a fragile World Heritage site. Say “no” to a souvenir that’s a piece of the site itself, and to tourist activities that may be harmful to a site’s longevity.

Say “no” to a souvenir that's a piece of the site itself!

Say “no” to a souvenir that’s a piece of the site itself!

After returning home

Share tips about responsible travel. In addition to telling family and friends about the wonderful memories you made, also consider sharing tips on how they too can positively impact these destinations while having an amazing journey.

Explore more. Travel is just the start of learning. Once you return home, continue exploring and being involved with the issues or region that captured your attention. Build your knowledge.

Give back. Traveling often opens our eyes and our hearts. Help to preserve these inspirational destinations for generations to come by making a donation to programs that give back and benefit the local community.

Adopted_a_village_Coron Ecotours

Adopt a village by Coron Ecotours

Source: http://www.expedia.com/daily/sustainable_travel/world_heritage/tips.asp

GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE is taking its toll on the planet, wrecking havoc and destruction to our natural environment, rural communities and even big cities! We have to do our part in leaving less impact to the environment. The message is RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL: let us protect the environment, care about local communities and respect their culture as we explore, experience and enjoy.

Zero Carbon Resorts, helping SMEs in the Tourism Industry to reduce carbon footprint

 The Coron Initiative, The Negros Initiative & The Boracay Initiative are Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks being implemented in Coron, Negros Occidental & Boracay with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & Clean Blue. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs for cities, communities and destinations include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Preparedness and Management. Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

Photos of Coron by Al Linsangan of Al3Photography.

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Sustainability 101. Towards sustainable cities and communities

Posted in Environment, Good Governance, Green Hotels, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Events, Sustainable Living, Western Visayas, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

Greening a destination – how to make a city or community sustainable?

For simplicity, we are using the UN’s definition of sustainability:

A sustainable society meets the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainability Triple Bottom Line graphic: People, Planet, Profit.

According to Wikipedia a sustainable city, is a city designed with consideration of environmental impact, inhabited by people dedicated to minimization of required inputs of energy, water and food, and waste output of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane and water pollution.

San Francisco Green City Winner. Photo courtesy of Siemens Green City Index report

Cities compete with each other globally for the attention of investors. Almost every municipality sites sustainability as one of its key targets, but it is often not clear as to how this declaration translates into action, or if the actions that are taken go beyond green window dressing.

Bacolod City Official website screen shot

Bacolod City – green or green window dressing?

The first step when steering towards urban sustainability is visible greening: planting trees, promoting subsistence gardening or saving wetlands for birds.

Sustainable Tourism Development Workshop in Villa Ica, Don Salvador Benedicto

Making Don Salvador Benedicto a true Eco-destination – A Sustainable Tourism Workshop

The next steps are environmental measures which bring social and economic benefits. Health concerns can put emphasis on quality of water, provision of ecological waste management and cleaner energy.

The Coron Initiative - the making of a sustainable destination

The Coron Initiative -Greening Coron for future generations

Waste management can also turn into business, when sorting produces material for local crafts people and bio waste becomes a source of energy. Clogged sewers lead to a ban on plastic bags while lessons about ecosystem services are learned when rivers are cleaned and watersheds are managed in an effort to prevent flooding.

Public Market trash, Bacolod City. Photo courtesy of Lisa de Leon-Zayco

Bacolod City’s Public Market trash. Photo courtesy of Lisa de Leon-Zayco’s Facebook posts

Climate change & environmental degradation effects in Boracay Island

Flooding at the World’s 2nd Best Beach! Climate change & environmental havoc

Almost every city in the world is dealing with an influx of people from different ethnic backgrounds, and cultural events play an important part in creating a sense of pride in the community and are promoted as a means to support minorities. Cultural heritage is increasingly understood as a resource to be kept alive, both for visitors to cities and for the people who live there.

Bacolod City's Electric Masskara - A sustainable festival??? photo courtesy of sunstar.com

In the cities that try to fake it, the grassroots heritage aspects AND authenticty disappear as events grow bigger and more commercial.

In the cities that try to fake it, the grassroots heritage aspects and authenticity disappear as events grow bigger and more commercial. Major events that require substantial investment, such as festivals and sporting events  do not always enhance quality of life for local communities after the television cameras have left.

Tokyo -heritage conservation & environmental protection IS the life and culture of the people

Tokyo – the masters of Waste Management & 3R’s –      Reduce, Reuse, Recyle

Some cities are aware of the links between global targets and local actions. Sustainability measures are taken at the local level, including investment in renewable energy and efficiency requirements for local buildings. More advanced cities broaden the focus to cover social impact and how sustainable development policy is delivered. WATCH TOKYO WASTE MANAGEMENT video.

Sustainable city Seoul - urban development with environmental protection

Sustainable Seoul – urban development with environmental conservation

Refurbishment of existing buildings becomes big business, public transport systems are improved and sustainable public procurement practices are introduced.

U.N. Shanghai Manual for Sustainable Cities

Shanghai Manual – helping leaders of the world’s cities use integrated urban planning, management, financing and technology to green their economies and build climate and economic resilience.

While all these aspects constitute progress, it is misguided to think that they combine to create urban sustainability. True systemic change is missing from the picture. Progress to date has been far too slow and incremental changes to business as usual don’t go far enough.

Climate change mitigation & flood water management- Boracay band-aid style solution!

Boracay’s White Beach downright degradation- flood water flushed out on White Beach!

The tough road ahead will have to include holistic visions, integrated planning and brave strategies to implement them. For this to become a reality, the language of money must become more about sustainability, renewable energy sources must be fully integrated into urban infrastructure and the pedestrian must become king of the road.

Source: The Guardian

Visiting Shanghai's Urban Planning Museum

Visiting Shanghai’s Urban Planning Museum. Shanghai established ECO CITY framework in 2010.

 

Do positive. Do not wait for another disaster to do your part on mitigating climate change.

DO POSITIVE. Learn the lessons from disasters: think SUSTAINABLE.  TAKE ACTION.  Demand from your political representatives to do their job, WORK towards healthy and clean ENVIRONMENT  and community!

Green Growth, Climate Change solutions, the grassroots way. Our Sustainability initiatives includes Capacity Building and Training towards sustainable cities, communities and greening destinations based on RIO +21 Agenda,  Shanghai Manual & UNWTO to include Good Governance, Resilience, Disaster Preparedness and Management, Greening Events/Festivals, Sustainable Tourism development  with Green Hotels, Clean Blue Asia & Zero Carbon Resorts.  Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community of potential and emerging ecotourism sites.

 Learn more from: sustainabilityguruvisit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

 

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Greening Philippine M.I.C.E., go or no go?

Posted in Conventions & Exhibitions, Events, News, Lifestyle, Good Governance, Green Hotels, MICE Meetings, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Events, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on August 28, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

A Review of the PhilMICECon 2011.

Philipine MICE Con 2011 Cebu, Philippines

As MICE practitioner since 1984, and as pioneer MITE member  I had been attending the MICE Conferences since PCVC-MITE inception of “Dream Meetings” in 1991. This time however, I had the honor to be part of the Philippine (Meetings, Incentive travel, Conventions, &  Exhibitions) M.I.C.E. Conference (PhilMICECon) 2011 in Cebu, Philippines as invited Guest Speaker to share my advocacy on Sustainable Tourism, Hospitality & Events, during the Green-themed Plenary on the topic, “Stepping Forward without Footprints.”

Graciously attended by Joma Gutierrez & Ms. Noemi Cruz of Phil.Tourism Bureau

From the pre-conference arrangements to arrival day after a direct flight from Tokyo to Cebu via the country’s flagship carrier Philippine Airlines and all throughout my stay, I   was graciously attended by the ever-efficient and long-time Tourism industry friends, Ms. Noemi Cruz and Joma Gutierrez of the Philippine Tourism Bureau (PTB, which I still keep on calling PCVC) organizers of the Phil MICE Con. Right after my check-in at the Continental Club of Marco Polo Cebu, networking started with co-speakers, Bill Laviolett Managing Director, I&MI (Incentives & Meetings  International) Media from France and Corbin Ball, Owner, Corbin Ball Associates, USA.

At the Marco Polo Continental Club

Our first day started with a Welcome Lunch for buyers and speakers at the Imperial Waterpark Resort in Mactan Island, greeted by the entire Cebu Organizing Committee, which prepared exotic Asian themed dances. Most heartwarming was the Cebu’s children’s rondalla which performed lively native numbers. After the scrumptious Cebu cuisine highlighted buffet, entertained by Philippine dances, off we go to probably the most “thrilling” show of all –the world famous Cebu Dancing Inmates – doing their Michael Jackson tributes. Turned out, we not only watched but also danced with them! The Cebu Provincial Detention & Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) opens its gates for performances every last Saturday of the month –a good example of social responsibility in tourism. At sundown, we moved to the Waterfront Hotel  Cebu for the Oriental Opulence-themed cocktails and dinner. The ballroom was  transformed into a grand and lavish Eastern enclave and participants were beset with the bountiful Chinese buffet.

Dancing with World Famous Cebu Dancing Inmates

The next day, the Techno-themed Opening ceremonies were graced by Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, Philippine Tourism Department Secretary Alberto Lim and Hans Hauri, Chairman of the Phil MICE Con Cebu Organizing Committee. Glad to see that  Bluewater Resortswith Director of Sales & Marketing Margie Munsayac, hosted coffee break has followed some green meeting practices I suggested for the event, with their native snacks in eco-friendly, reusable baskets and drinks in bamboo cups!

Phil MICE Con Opening with DOT Secretary Alberto Lim

We segued to Marco Polo Hotel Ballroom, for the “i.WE.u.peopleconnect” – Techno motiff S.R.O. lunch, welcomed virtually by the hotel’s CEO in Hong Kong via Video conference. Educational Tracks Breakout sessions followed with various MICE-relevant topics.

Finally, Green Day Plenary has come keynoted by Authentic Ecolodges author Hitesh Mehta who awed the audience with his “Turning Blueprints into Green prints” presentation and “dance” performance. Then it was our turn to talk on  “Stepping Forward without Footprints”, where I shared in the discussions moderated by Ms. Chit Juan of Echo Sustainable Living Store, with Engr. Eric Raymundo, who presented the “Zero Carbon Resorts” project of his NGO, Gruppe Angge Passte  Technologie (GrAT) and Ms. Agnes de Jesus, Vice President, Energy  Development Corporation who imparted the Geothermal projects at Philippines’ eco sites.

After the coffee break, panel discussions on “New Media Marketing” and an energetic Hi-tech Connect-motif lunch was hosted by the Radisson Blu, Cebu’s newest de luxe hotel. Happy to meet long-ago hotelier friends, Lourdes Macalindong, VP Sales & Marketing of SM Hotels & Conventions and Agnes Pacis, dynamic Director of Sales & Marketing of Shangri-la Mactan.

After the afternoon and closing plenary session, an all-out pomp and pageantry Closing & Turn-over Ceremonies was tendered by Davao, the PhilMICE Con 2013 host, led by no less than their gutsy yet graceful Mayor Sara Duterte. So looking forward to helping out in the DAVAO Phil MICE Con, with long-time friend, Ms. Mary Ann Montemayor who is the Chair of the Davao Regional Tourism Council  and has sounded me off that they are starting Sustainable Tourism activities for the province. Dazzling!

However, the big question for me during the whole conference as I was trying to observe is, IF the Philippine MICE industry insiders are ready to embrace Sustainability and Green practices in their respective activities? Phil MICE Con organizers led by dynamic Stanie Soriano has graciously included the “Greening Events Guidelines” that I have particularly  prepared, on the printed program, but I doubt if anybody has read it. Not one participant even  mentioned to me having seen it.  Based on the almost non-reaction from the audience  after our plenary “Green” presentations, it seems that “Greening” for them was just  donning the green hats or outfits as was the obligatory theme for the day. Beyond that, no one has approached any of us speakers, as a matter of interest in implementing  green hotel practices, zero carbon resorts nor green events at all.

At breakfast on our last day, with good tourism industry colleague, Angel Bognot  who has launched his Afro Asian World Events, former Region VII Tourism  Director Dawnie Roa, and Ms. Jenny Franco of Travel Vision, I have some  encouraging signs that Cebu are into the Sustainable and Eco Tourism mode and that they are supporting greening efforts by the province. Likewise, I was also told earlier by long-time Cebu tour operator, Alice Queblatin of Southwind Travel that they are seeking help to improve their community-based rural tourism endeavors in Olango, Cebu. Alice’s daughter, Cookie Chan @kukitalk, likewise sent me a direct message via Twitter that she will implement green practices that I have shared in the next big convention she will be organizing next in Cebu. At least with these pro-active and reliable pillars of Cebu’s Tourism industry, I can see the “green” light at the end of the tunnel that came out of the Phil. MICE Con 2011.

This is a call to action and cooperation to GREEN Philippine M.I.C.E., folks. It is high time for Filipino tourism industry leaders to focus on Sustainable Tourism, greening their hotels/resorts and organize Green Meetings & Sustainable Events as a way forward and uplift the Philippine Tourism industry.

I sure look forward to helping and working with Davao‘s Green Leaders towards a greener Phil MICE Con 2013!

For details on the PhilMICE 2011 conference program, please click here.

Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is working on Sustainable Festivals & green events with its Sustainable Tourism programs and projects in the Philippines – The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative . Environmental, Social, Good Governance & Resilience Capacity building programs & training include Disaster Preparedness & Management for both public and private local stakeholders/proponents. Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific is working towards green economy for the grass roots, in cooperation with Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and The Clean Blue Asia Pacific. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

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Ecotourism 101. Ecotourism essentials

Posted in Ecotourism, Environment, Green Hotels, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , on August 8, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

In 1975 Inkaterra built a lodge for scientists long before ecotourism was trendy

Along with other resource persons, namely Harro Boekhold of Contour Projects and Mr. Joselito Bernardo of the Asian Productivity Organization, we conducted the Train the Trainers in Ecotourism Planning & Management Course at the International School of Sustainable Tourism, in Subic Bay, Philippines. Apparently, among the Asia Pacific participants, there is still much confusion and ambiguities of the term “Ecotourism”.

Ecotourism: conservation and local community participation is essential

Not surprisingly, more so for the travel and tourism suppliers and market. Unfortunately the “eco” trend in the past years has triggered the travel industry to inundate the market with misused and misunderstood eco -labeled tourism products, from hotel accommodations to tours, from lodges to excursions, causing misrepresentation and misunderstanding among travelers from the tourism industry as to what the term “ecotourism” genuinely embodies.

Inkaterra’s Andean Pueblo experience at the foot of Machu Picchu citadel

So once and for all, we are clarifying the essence and emphasizing the basic elements of Ecotourism.

If your destination, property or activities does not have ALL of the above essential elements, then it is NOT “ecotourism”. In addition to these ecological essentials, Ecotourism has also these fundamental nature, no pun intended:

Common ‘Eco confusion’:

Nature Learning Experiences at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

To date, Ecotourism is just tiny niche of the global tourism market, has no traction yet and has just started to be mainstreamed. Tourism has an enormous potential, but without principles that fosters responsibility and sustainability it can harm our planet and wreck havoc to fragile or endangered tourism destinations. So no more confusions, no doubt about it. Don’t be misled by all the “eco-ish” labels. Just memorize the 5 ECO elements; YOU cannot go wrong. Go green!

Photos courtesy of Inkaterra, Peru’s eco pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975.

The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative are Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks being implemented with institutional partners Green Hotels, The Clean Blue & Zero Carbon Resorts. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs towards a green economy for cities, communities and destinations include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Prevention and Management. Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

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Easy to be Eco! Ways to be environment-friendly

Posted in Coron, Environment, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Living with tags , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

Start at home!

Be the change that you want to see in the world” – Ghandi

Save the Philippine coral reefs!

There is so much hoopla about the “rape of the ocean”, switching off lights on “Earth Hour”, landslide disasters due to deforestation and mountains of garbage and plastic within our city, that we are just getting confounded and confused by the day on how we can start doing our part for the earth.

Climate change and global warming?

We complain no end about smog and pollution, filthy floods on typhoons aftermaths, brownouts/blackouts, water shortage, epidemics and uncollected garbage, yet we do not even know where to begin to solve these “environmental” and basic utilities issues.

Every election, we try to choose public officials who are supposed to bring progress to our cities, but end up mostly with broken promises. Then, when a natural catastrophe happens, it is the only time we see them again, “working to the rescue” and aid their constituents, but mostly for publicity and ratings. And we are supposed to know better!

So, how do we really begin to do our part, in being eco-friendly and help protect the environment? If Kids found organization to save endangered species and college students become “Green Ambassadors”, for sure we can do it, too! Simple, we begin at home, with our families and with our own neighborhood. Here are some easy, no-brainer, beginner eco steps:

Live frugally. Just buy the basics

1. Live frugally.
Eco also means economic, and in these hard times, we have to learn to live simply. We don’t have to wait for a disaster (such as the Japan earthquake) to start saving electricity, water; go prudent on clothes or shoes shopping and the like. Just buy the basics.

2. Start your car pool and commute wisely. Save up on gas, parking expenses and carbon emissions with commuting. Avoid taking taxis and you will be surprised how much transport savings you will have at the end of the month!

Reduce toxins. Identify and segregate!

3. Practice proper waste segregation. Here in Tokyo, garbage will not be collected if you don’t separate correctly Avoid using plastics, BYOB. Bring your own bag. Not just to the supermarket but every time you shop. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Be an eco-model among your neighbors and teach them as well. Clean and green your neighborhood.

4. Save electricity. Un-plug all appliances including your PC when not in use. Best to use power strips for multiple appliances and un-plug these so you cut-off most if not, all at the same time. You will see a dip your electricity bill when you start doing this.

5. Save on water. During rainy season, practice rain catchment and store clean rainwater to wash your car or water your garden. This is big water savings for the next dry season!

Rainwater catchment systems

6. When going on a trip, start travelling responsibly. Pack light to avoid excess baggage fees and carbon emissions. Travel to cultural and natural sights but make sure your activities do not destroy the traditions and environment you visit. Start giving back to communities whose natural and traditional resources are threatened or endangered, or even join volunteer trips.

The Coron Initiative – volunteer vacation

7. Last but not the least, get educated, enlightened, pro-active in being green. Make sure to learn at least one sustainable tip a day. There are millions of resources onlineYahoo Green is a great portal with many useful sources on living green,  nature, food & health, recycling, energy, technology and other essential topics. You can also follow yours truly on Twitter for more on sustainability practices.

These may be small and simple steps, but if done altogether with your ‘hood and city, and serve as an example for your province or region, more people will take notice and before you know it, millions in the country will follow suit. When we make a  difference in our own small way, collectively, this will make a big impact and perhaps, we can convince our so called “public servants”, to start doing their jobs, too.

How do you think you can do your part? Share and let us know!

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The Boracay Initiative Beckons-a serious call for conservation

Posted in Boracay, Clean Blue Asia, Good Governance, Green Hotels, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Events, Sustainable Tourism with tags , , , , , , , on July 23, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

 

My first Boracay trip, circa 1989. This area is now Discovery Shores Hotel

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT.  I first went to Boracay Island, Philippines (voted as one of the best beaches in the world) in the late 80’s and we had a most fantastic experience in paradise. We travelled in the typhoon season; the trip was from Kalibo on a Fokker 50 aircraft, a one-hour flight from Manila and another 70 kilometer road trip from Kalibo to Caticlan, jump off point to Boracay. There were no air-conditioned buses for the long, dusty and grueling overland ride with the locals and chickens alike; no jetty port – we had to wade in shallow waters to board a motorized small banca, across the strait in rough waters. Boracay was not affected by typhoons then, however during this period they have what they call the “habagat”, southwest monsoon winds. Due to monsoon season we had to land on the other side of the island (Bulabog) and hike all the way to our resort located on White Beach, our luggage, transported by a water buffalo-pulled cart.  There was no electricity, no air-conditioning and no hot water showers in those days, but the whole stay was pure and simple pleasure. We had the time of our life!

1991 – Boracay Beach Club Hotel, one of White Beach’s “premier” resorts

WORK AT WHITE BEACH. Little did I imagine that just after two years, I would return to the island and work for one of the pioneer resorts, and stayed further on for 10 years to manage two small properties, tour operations and transport company.  Within this period, I also handled three small airline companies that serviced Caticlan, two were defunct and the ultimate one was Seair, which I had to persuade convincingly to fly there. The rest is history.

From rustic BBCH to glass and concrete Astoria Boracay now

PARADISE LOST- WELL, ALMOST. When I left in 2001 after 10 years of working for Boracay, I felt that it was excessively crowded, over-developed in a destructive sense and regrettably deteriorating due to lack of eco balance. I ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Now, returning exactly 21 years since I first came, with over 500 hundred resorts of all shapes, sizes and prices, there is hardly a trace of the pristine, peaceful and perfect paradise that I first saw. It is just chaotic congestion of lodgings, restaurants, bars, stores crowding with vans and tricycles, with no regard for proper zoning, maximum carrying capacity, value for natural environment, nor conservation and ecological protection not to mention the global climate change risks, most especially on White Beach’s spectacular shoreline.

Stakeholders must be aware of their responsibility to the environment and community to protect and conserve

FULL CIRCLE. It is perhaps the hands of fate that made me return to Boracay last April as a Guest Speaker at Events Asia 2010 and as luck would have it, talk about Sustainable Events ManagementWith my experience at Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer and Conservation leader, I shared my knowledge and experience in Sustainable Tourism and Environmental Protection. In 1975, Inkaterra opened a lodge for scientists to study Peru’s rainforest long before eco tourism was trendy. With 33 years of experience in sustainable tourism initiatives, it is the first to be carbon neutral in the country, doing reforestation projects in a total of 17,000 hectares in the Amazon.

PLEDGE. At a Social Media workshop at Events Asia, I met Roselle Tenefrancia, Environmental lawyer, activist, travel writer and consultant of Boracay Sun, the island’s monthly paper and Maria Tajanlangit, Editor in Chief of 7107 Islands Magazine, whose family were pioneers in Boracay. After the event, I thought of a  framework for a new Boracay Conservation, Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development, ready for stakeholders to embrace and implement.

Conservation Mission: rescue, restore and recover Boracay Island

 THE BORACAY INITIATIVE®.   International environmental design activist PJ Aranador  with his flagship green lifestyle boutique on the island, Nautilus and  Ms. Jane Chua, founder of www.gogreenphilippines and “A Piece of Green” Boracay boutique owner pledged their support to the Initiative. I also met with Boracay Young Professionals whose advocacy is about preserving the island.

A CALL FOR UNITY AND SUPPORT.  A challenging task of organizing, implementing and monitoring of the The Boracay Initiative© is being worked on, with hopefully, voluntary efforts from the private stakeholders  and support of the new local government officials.

LESS CONVERSATION, IT’S TIME FOR ACTION. Indeed, fate brought me back to the island, which we had come to love and cherish, but it is high time for us, to take action, less conversation! We must put all our efforts and resources to restore, conserve and protect Boracay Island, its beauty and natural resources for the future generations to come.

The Boracay Initiative is designed to work with both private and public sector of Boracay Island: the  Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks  Boracay Island with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & Clean Blue.

Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs for communities and destinations  include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Prevention and Management. Educational programs will be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general.

Zero Carbon Resorts helping SMEs in the tourism industry reduce carbon footprints

Zero Carbon Resorts helping SMEs in the tourism industry reduce carbon footprints

ZERO CARBON RESORTS  is our joint project with GrAt for the SMEs in the Tourism Industry to reduce carbon footprint by switching from use of fossil fuel to renewable energy sources especially solar energy and green technologies.

 

Green Hotels Asia Pacific our network of reliable eco-responsible hotels

Green Hotels Asia Pacific our network of reliable eco-responsible hotels

GREEN HOTELS ASIA PACIFIC is our network of the most reliable eco responsible hotels around the world. It works to help the hotel industry embrace sustainability by integrating innovation and added value with environmental actions in a vibrant global exchange of green hoteliers, operators and responsible clients.

Clean Blue Asia-Sustainable Beach management for public & private beach operators

Clean Blue Asia-Sustainable Beach management for public & private beach operators

 

CLEAN BLUE ASIA is thenew industry standard for beach management and safety – ISO 13009

 – the “Clean Blue Industry Standard” CBIS – to help provide beach operators with the information and guidance to effectively manage the beaches of Asia – Pacific.

 For more information visit: visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

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PJ’s take on Greening Boracay

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , on July 21, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

PJ Aranador, International Environmental Design Activist, Nautilus Boutique owner in Boracay and consultant for Go Green Philippines wrote his comments to my blog post, “Boracay Beckons”.  This is his take about environmental concerns and issues that we must deal with on the island.

 

Nautilus in Boracay, by PJ Aranador, International Environmental Design Activist

 I support you and the rest of those who will join us. Ecological destruction is still reversible in Boracay now, that is when many will act together. “One is too small a number to achieve greatness!” so to say. And if you are alone in this cause, you are in a lonely planet. And at this time I know you are in this stage. Ah, who will listen? Any hearts? So count me in.

We can start with simple basic ECO-solutions. CLEAN UP!

The task is huge! Nobody can do it alone and we all co-exist in doing so, the public included. We can start with simple basic ECO-solutions. CLEAN UP!  I still see horrendous plastic cups and ice-candy bags, cigarette butts, empty beer bottles at the beach. Scour the beach every morning after the big night parties or just one of those regular lazy days. The scenario is harsh. Many tourists and local vendors’ attitude is unforgiving:  “We can throw anything anywhere and everywhere in Boracay because we pay environmental fees, taxes and whatever!” So why, bother when there are six to ten teams of four people every morning cleaning up the entire long stretch of the beach?

The arithmetic is not that simple for so little number of people to clean up other’s people thrash. For over 30,000 tourists coming to Boracay each month, the cleaners are out-numbered! Count the locals in and the businesses’ staff members in and it swells to thousands more. And we are only talking about trash. We can draw up an environmental “Shit list”. How about poor environmental sanitation? Inland water swamps which were trapped due to land filled for tall buildings to rise? Break water structures that destroy the shoreline ecological balance which washes away the white Boracay sand and replace them with rough rocks.

Too many boats spoil the beach: it's a matter of simple NATURE HOUSEKEEPING. It is our responsibility-each one of us becomes a nature police

This is not even money issue from environmental fees and taxes, etc. It is responsibility. It is simple NATURE HOUSEKEEPING. Each one of us becomes a nature police. Each is an eco-friendly disciple— a follower, a mentor, a teacher, a crusader. Each reminding one another of our abuses to nature. Apparently, it is a process. As the ECO-EVERYTHING CAMPAIGN outlines, it starts from AWARENESS, IMPLEMENTATION and finally CERTIFICATION. In the near future, one will be certified as a CARBON NEUTRAL CITIZEN OF THE WORLD. If you are not, shame on you!

Top TOO heavy.Sustainable Eco-construction must be organic shapes in harmony with the environment, match site topography, respect the integrity of the landscape with appropriate scale

I once talked with old folks in Boracay and they say that Boracay is a mushroom shaped island, meaning the base underwater is smaller than the landmass on top of water. They said that over- construction may not be good for the island. It is like an overweight body with weak legs. Top heavy. We can compare it to our knees which have ligaments that act like scaffoldings. When the weight is too heavy, the scaffolding collapses. I am not a marine biologist or ecologist by profession, but I reckon, some wise old folks may know better by common sense.

Sustainability is a renewable leadership amongst each one of us. If we are not all careful, I would say 25 years from now, or even less, Boracay environmental abuse may be irreversible. And it would be a grim reality. A turquoise paradise turned into a muddy nightmare.

Let us not wait for Boracay environmental abuse to be irreversible and a grim reality: A turquoise paradise turned into a muddy nightmare

Each living creature who can talk and think on the soil of Boracay should understand and protect each and living creature who cannot talk but are capable of thinking while within the waters and vegetations of the island. We do not take away their natural rights to live as creatures on earth. We do not take away their habitation. Theirs is more delicate than ours. Theirs is more sensitive than ours. Theirs is a support system that makes ours inter-dependently sustainable. The law of natural significance is that we co-habit in symbiotic relationship with our natural environments. It is absolute. When there is no nature, there is no life for all of us. Without our eco-systems, we will all perish.

Carelessness and greed- we know that we are all GUILTY in our lives that we have cut a helpless tree, thrown plastic in the sea which were mistaken as food by the fishes and they die

Many years in the past, we fear that planetary collision, meteors hitting the earth or similar extra-terrestrial forces will endanger our planet. Today, it turns out we are all killing ourselves with our carelessness and greed. Inside all of us, we know that we are all GUILTY in our lives that we have cut a helpless tree, thrown plastic in the sea which were mistaken as food by the fishes and they die; abuse the use of too much electricity and we do not care if oil spills on the ocean floor. We build where we are not suppose to build driving away the littlest creature that lives there to be replaced by a concrete jungle than preserve a life that gives forth support to other lives to co-exist in harmony.

Indeed, we are destroying our only habitation faster than we think.

 

PJ Aranador launched the green for good projects of the Go Green Philippines & Bijoux Cebu at the Accessories, The Show in Javits Center, New York City last year. A preview to his collection “Green Waters: The Ocean Floor” held its world premiere in Shangri-La Mactan Resort Cebu also last year.  Ms. Janet Chua, A Piece of Green boutique owner in D’Mall Boracay and founder of   www.gogreenphilippines.com is also supporting our Boracay Initiative.  

How do you think you can green Boracay Island? Thank you in anticipation of your your support –  please post your comments.

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