Ma. Suzette F. Abela (Suzie)
President
Isang Lakbay Corporation / Sinag Hostel Siargao

 

Three things you make sure you focus on in your work: My responsibility has given me countless opportunities to sell our vision, with my own team and my investors, to the community and organizations. But it goes beyond just speaking and selling. Three of the most important things I focus on are:

Working with integrity: This is very basic but found it very important. When you work honestly and deeply rooted to your purpose, it’s very easy to build trust and partnership with people.

Continuously seeking feedback: Simply put, consciously spending more time listening to people who I consider as mentors/consultants, and also to travelers I meet along the way. Setting up a start up business is like a running in a maze. It is very important for me to seek help from people who can guide and support me! They are always a source of sanity and I always find feedback a big big blessing.

Treating people with kindness and respect: My job requires me to be assertive most of the time, especially when faced with hard decisions. But it is important for me to stay conscious on how I treat people and the words I use when I communicate, even when I don’t agree with their views.

Top tip for your Hospitality colleagues: Listen to feedback- it’s always a goldmine for ideas and improvement.

Your activities: The construction of Sinag Hostel is still on-going but we are now less than 3 months away from opening! (sea you on 1 October 2018) But the background work on solidifying and working on our vision (promoting sustainability, responsible traveling and local advancement) has long been started. The idea of this hostel and the way it will operate in the future is grounded on that vision. While we are currently busy preparing for the operations, we take into consideration the advocacy every step of the way. We started promoting first on social media and now gradually involving the Siargao community and now working on partnership with brands that support our cause.  Everything on its own timing.

From the choice of materials in construction, we already discussed that we wanted to make it last a lifetime so we veer away from a lot of wood and stick to concrete. We also designed a very minimalist finish to the rooms, with the use of old materials we can find on the island like old wood, ropes, etc for highlights. That will come up on finishing.

 

Upon booking with us, we already start setting the expectations with the guests by sending the house rules (see photo gallery). Some of the other initiatives we’re planning to implement are below.

  • We will give incentives for guests bringing their own tumblers.
  • Open the hostel for refilling water and not sell bottled water
  • Strictly implement waste segregation in the hostel
  • We’re looking at doing our own compost bins
  • Partner up with local organizations in Siargao for clean up initiatives and up-cycling sessions
  • Sell shampoo bars and soaps, menstrual cups and other products which promote a zero-waste lifestyle

Inspirations: Most of it from traveling and conversing with friends/travelers who share the same values. I’ve always been a probinsyana who loves nature and outdoors. If you constantly converse with this group, you’ll find that there are many opportunities outside the big city that will allow you to be sustainable while enjoying the slow life- only if you have the courage to seek it or create it yourself. Always wanted to have my own business and one that creates impact to a community (let’s blame the UP education for that! haha). When I traveled to Siargao, it felt like home and I knew I had to execute this idea on my mind- with the help of A LOT OF PEOPLE. Will always be grateful for that. The big move from being a corporate lady to an island girl comes with a price- but it is a slow but fulfilling journey.

What’s in your Future? I want Sinag to stand and thrive on its own- to be profitable (of course! haha) and to make a statement that a business like this can be a venue for change through educating people and leading by example. Personally, I also want a simple and slow life while enjoying the things I do on the environment I want to be in. It’s not necessarily a downgrade in lifestyle vs working in the city. Just finding success on a different perspective- like building connections from people around the world, witnessing a beautiful sunrise, or walking dogs after a long day or having a peace of mind while watching the waves. I guess I’m a hopeless romantic like that. 🙂

Dave Albao MY RANGGO Hospitality Hero

 

Dave Albao MY RANGGO Hospitality Hero

Dave Albao
Executive Director
Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation (PRRCFI) – Danjugan Island

 

Three things you make sure you focus on in your work:

    • Meditation. I remind myself to enjoy my breath and be aware of my deep connection with nature. This way, I remain grounded in everything I do.
    • Enjoying Nature. I always say our natural design is to wake up to the sound of birds, see the sky change colors, and smell the scents of the forest and the sea. I always stay inspired by enjoying activities like freediving, trekking, traveling responsibly and getting to know local people and wildlife.
    • Showing gratitude. We need to appreciate everything and everyone that supports our existence. At work, I remind myself to always be thankful for every little thing, as this will motivate others to be productive in what they do.

Top tip for your Hospitality colleagues: My spiritual teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, taught me that “the most precious gift we can offer others is our presence”. I try to practice this every day, to be truly present for who I am with and what I am doing. In the world of hospitality, if we sincerely connect with our work and the people we meet, we will be exceptional at our jobs.

Your activities:“Wildlife and people in harmony for a sustainable future” – this is our vision at the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PRRCFI). Our programs focus on experiential learning, especially with Danjugan Island, as “nature’s perfect classroom” where we hold our Marine and Wildlife Camps over the last two decades, and where we invite guests to experience sustainable tourism. Danjugan Island guests contribute to sustaining our conservation work on the island and elsewhere, in working with local governments, schools, communities, and other organizations through environmental education.

This year (2018), we started a new program called SWEEP: Sea Waste Education to Eradicate Plastic, in partnership with USAID and the Provincial Environment Management Office of Negros Occidental, to act on marine plastic pollution with a series of activities and interventions designed to reduce the flow of plastic to the ocean. Other than that, I work with a small social enterprise “Hamsa Earth-Conscious Collections” promoting re-usables and alternatives to single-use plastic. I was also a Professional Fellow for Environmental Sustainability and Mentor for the Environment in the Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative, and currently write as a columnist and reporter on environmental issues for a local newspaper, SunStar Bacolod.

Inspirations:  I am inspired by Danjugan Island – it is a very special place on Earth. It is a wildlife sanctuary in Negros Occidental, Philippines, that is teeming with biodiversity. It has five lagoons, batcaves, limestone formations, mangroves, beaches, surrounded by seagrass beds and coral reefs. Other than being so full of life, the island’s story and role in conservation and environmental education is so rich that I decided to work for it and the Foundation behind it. Danjugan is like a nest, where our love for nature is nurtured. After leaving the nest, we replicate what we learn elsewhere – making sustainable communities possible.

What’s in your Future? I dream of sustainable communities of people and wildlife living in peace and harmony. I do not accept the prediction that in year 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. I believe our efforts, no matter how small, will lead to collective actions and foster the spirit of community when dealing with climate change, loss of biodiversity, pollution, and natural resource conflicts. I plan to be working in this field for the rest of my life, and find a self-sustaining community to live with.

Ma. Ninfa Desiree T. Segovia (Desiree)

Chairperson, Boracay Women Producers Cooperative & Pinay Boracay
 Heritage HUB, Tambisaan, Manoc Manoc, Boracay, Malay, Aklan

 

Top tip for your Hospitality/tourism/eco colleagues: The world would be a better place if we just care & share

Your activities: 

  1. Serve the underprivileged. Organize them to participate in governance & have a voice in governance.
  2. Develop socially & ecologically relevant enterprises for empowerment & work for our significance & success.
  3. Manage the characters of the underprivileged to stay focused on our missions & become good models of society.
  4. Practice zero waste lifestyle.
  5. Organic farming.

Inspirations:

  1. I’m inspired to discover every day the dynamics of being human.
  2. I’m inspired at how materialism can challenge the power of intergenerational solidarities.
  3. I’m inspired when people show love & respect to god, nature & humanity

 

What’s in your Future? In my future, I can see myself with two white wings smiling at my God. In my future, there’s significance & success in the enterprises that I’ve built together with the underprivileged. A legacy that lives on/ carries on from generation through generation and for others to duplicate as it’s replicable & sustainable.