Eco Heroes are people working in the Philippine Hospitality Industry who volunteer for, run or organize activities to improve the environment. These may be clean-up drives, ocean-bed clean-ups, educating and supporting people in their local communities to live more eco-friendly lives, or advocating for the protection of indigenous but endangered species.

Rosy Turner MY RANGGO Hospitality Hero

Rosy Turner MY RANGGO Hospitality Hero

Rosy Turner

F&B Head-Cashier Aloha Boracay Hotel

 

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

Guest satisfaction

Happy work environment

Going above and beyond the call of duty

 

Top tip for your Hospitality colleagues: It’s the little things that makes the big difference.  I like making special occasions extra special, such as doing a surprise room set up when it’s a guests birthday, or helping guests with planning a wedding proposal.

 

Your activities: I get involved with Beach clean-ups on Boracay Island, as well as Tree Planting and Beach Fit We Fit, where we run along the beach and pick up litter and debris.  The activities I get involved in are not about following orders from others; it’s about following my heart. It’s not about what you feel you should do. It’s about it being the right thing to do.  And I hope that others feel the same way, as our planet is in a fragile state.

 

Inspirations: My husband, My Ohana, My Friends and Sir David Attenborough

 

What’s in your Future? To be an advocate for promoting a better future for Boracay island, the Country, and the World. Without a healthy island there’s no healthy future for the tourism industry here. Tourism is a lifeline which relies on a healthy environment and looking after Mother Nature. Without which there is no future.

Judith Distal MY RANGGO Hospitality Hero

 

Judith Distal MY RANGGO Hospitality Hero

Judith Distal

Owner/Manager El Nido Boutique Art Cafe

 

 

Three things you make sure you focus on, in your work: Do a job fast and efficiently and complete it before the deadline. Be reliable, and do honest business.

 

Top tip for your Hospitality colleagues: As an owner, it’s important to know my business inside out; knowing what the Manager and Supervisors are doing, and being hands-on personally, whenever required. That way I can see the problems easier and provide better training to the staff.  And I gain a greater understanding of what guests truly desire.

 

Your activities:  First we need to take care of our destination, the environment and the community, so that the business we are in, is in a healthy environment.

Over the years our priority projects have changed. Today we are focusing on zero waste; we helped with getting El Nido Plastic Free.  We help organize regular island clean-ups and we are involved in plastic waste projects.  We have also been involved with marine life protection projects such as the installation of mooring buoys, so our corals, reefs and sand beds are not damaged by anchors.

We are also involved in animal welfare, rescuing and helping strays and trying to find homes for them.

Our restaurant has its own Organic Farm.  There we produce most of the vegetables we serve and also operate a no-waste composting scheme; we either process our restaurant waste, so it can be used for animal feed or we compost it and use it as fertilizer for our crops.

We are actively involved in the local Tourism Board, to help make El Nido better.

We have also contributed to the local Arts and Music scene through workshops, festivals and sports events.

 

Inspirations:  My husband; he and I share the same passion and love for nature, and we are likewise both involved in many projects.

 

What’s in your Future?  We wish to be able to retire on our farm; grow more vegetables and fruits, and become self-sustainable and independent.  To the point that we can completely live of the land.

Julia Lervik Eco Hero MY RANGGO Hospitality Heroes

Julia Lervik Eco Hero MY RANGGO Hospitality Heroes

Julia Lervik

Owner – Diniview Villa Resort

Business Partner – Lemoni Cafe & Restaurant Boracay

President – Friends of the Flying Foxes

 

Friends of the Flying Foxes is a non-stock, non-profit organization.

Friends of the Flying Foxes is a group of volunteers composed of Boracay residents, wildlife specialists and returning visitors, interested in the preservation of one of the natural treasures of Boracay; the Bats.  We are especially concerned with the islands Flying Foxes (Fruit Bats) but also Insect Bats.  Our main focus has been to conserve and protect the bats and other wildlife, and the forest they live in, on the northern part of Boracay. In doing so we are also protecting the environment of Boracay and Northwest Panay Peninsula.

Did you know? The Fruit Bats of Boracay are the reason why Boracay is such a green, beautiful island. Fruit Bats stand for 90% of reforestation on cleared land, and people need to learn the importance of our Bats. Fruit Bats regenerate the forests of Boracay, and the Northwest Panay Peninsula, by feeding on and excreting seeds of more than 300 different species of plants. Boracay’s water source comes from the forests in the mainland, which the Flying Foxes re-forest. Insect Bats, which are found in caves, keep the insect population in balance; one Insect Bat can consume 2.000 mosquito-sized insects in a night.

 

Things you make sure you focus on in your work: 

I set aside one day in the week when my focus is on Friends of the Flying Foxes (FFF) and the projects at hand. In that way, I can work in a focused way, and not get distracted. The schedule can change, but it’s important to set time to move forward.

We do activities that will create positive values, awareness and a feeling of ownership among the locals and tourists. Every now and then we do Bat Counts, which tourists and locals can join, and its always nice to connect with people and spread awareness.

 

Top tip for your Hospitality colleagues:

“Change starts with you, but it only does if you do! “

It sounds easy, but every little step matters, and if we start to care and make a difference in our environment it impacts on our personal life, and in the life we can have; then we can make a big difference in the long run.

 

Your activities:

We monitor the bats roosting sites, to check for any activities which may cause disruption and disturbance to them.  We also do Bat Counts to monitor the colony numbers.  Sadly, the numbers of Flying Foxes are dropping dramatically.  We present to whichever bodies and organisations, that need to hear about how vital bats are for our eco-system on Boracay.  And we often host specialist scientist or wildlife expert visits.

Currently Friends of the Flying Foxes is involved in an ongoing awareness campaign called We are Aware. Where FFF, together with a few other organizations, go round and give presentations about our islands environment and explain why we all need to care about it. We reach out to teach the locals in Boracay and Malay, about the importance of our eco-system from the top of the trees to the bottom of the sea. We cover the importance of our reefs, mangroves, forests and what effects our personal actions can have on thing like waste water and garbage disposal; it’s our island environment that keeps tourist coming back, so what we do on a personal and collective basis matters to our island life.

 

Inspirations: The beauty and magic of nature.

 

What’s in your Future? For years we have been striving to make the forest ridges on the northern part of Boracay, which is the roost sites for our Fruit Bats, a protected area and a critical habitat zone. Our aim is to achieve this!

The forests are disappearing fast in the Philippines, and in Boracay, and it is of utmost important that the remaining beach forests and its threatened, endemic and native wildlife should be protected.

We hope that we can, for once and for all, protect the forests of Boracay and that it will be declared as Critical Habitat zone. That way we can make sure to project the environment of Boracay for us, and our future generations to come.  Development can happen hand in hand with nature, and its important that people wake up and realize that we would be nothing without it.

It’s for them, it’s for us, it’s for you!

We Are Aware Boracay MY RANGGO Hospitality Hero

We Are Aware Boracay MY RANGGO Hospitality Hero

We Are Aware (Boracay)

Environmental Awareness Advocates

Members:

  • DENR
  • Boracay Foundation Inc (BFI)
  • Friends of the Flying Foxes (FFF)
  • Boracay Island Water Company (BIWC)
  • Shangri-La Boracay’s Resort & Spa (SLBO)

 

We Are Aware!

An environmental awareness campaign for the island of Boracay; about our environment, why we should care and what we can do. We hope to inspire each individual to be a part of this and take a step every day for our island’s environment.

 

Things you make sure you focus on in your work:

We Come Together irregardless of our affiliations or organizations; the common theme is the care and concern for Boracay Island

We need to help create Awareness in the Community in order for them to understand why we need to protect Boracay

Awareness = REAL Understanding = Concern = Co-operation and Compliance for the Preservation of Boracay’s environment

Top tip for your Hospitality colleagues:

  • For any community benefiting from tourism gains, everyone has the responsibility to preserve their destination or island. To spread awareness about their surrounding natural environment and the need to protect the environmental “Assets” (e.g. Biodiversity = indigenous animals, such as Boracay’s ‘Flying Foxes, marine resources, wetlands, forests, etc)

Your activities:

  • We Are Aware visits organizations and establishments in Boracay (we hope to cover the entire Malay community in the future). We do this for FREE and allocate our invaluable time to help spread awareness on a range of environmental and ecological issues. All the establishments we visit need to do, is provide a venue or space which is conducive to holding We Are Aware sessions (1.5-2 hrs per session) and to gather their employees to attend.  The sessions help them to be more aware of Boracay’s environment and the ongoing efforts, and other things that need to be done in order to protect the island in the long run.

Inspirations:

  • The members of We Are Aware are not new to the realities that Boracay’s environment is facing.  All are familiar that sometimes what appears as a lack of concern, stems from a lack of awareness and understanding.  It is this that leads to people violating environmental laws, or downplaying the environmental issues over economic gains.

What’s in your Future?

  • We hope to be able to reach out to more establishments and organizations, and their people, in order for us to gain more co-operation for the community in terms of compliance to environmental regulations.

 

For interested Boracay establishments and organizations, sign up for FREE and help We Are Aware reach more people, so they can proudly say: “WE ARE AWARE!”

To schedule a session contact:

Cristian Gelito at the BFI Secretariat 2883971

or email at boracayfoundation@yahoo.com

 

Janelle Katipunan Ante MY RANGGO Eco Hero

Janelle Katipunan Ante MY RANGGO Eco Hero

Janelle Katipunan-Ante (Jen)

General Manager

Dona Maria Rice Surprise Inc. (Subsidiary of the Sterling Group of Companies)

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

Living the Brand: I always put into heart my brand’s Vision and Mission. This keeps me focused in living that brand promise. I am proud to be with Dona Maria Rice; it provides the best tasting rice to both local and international markets. I am also proud to promote a LOCAL brand supporting our FILIPINO FARMERS.

Always go the extra mile: This always helps me to think positive, be creative and resourceful.

Serve with a happy heart: being in the service industry for almost two decades now, in Food and Beverage, has given me fulfillment in providing excellent service.

 

Top tip for your Hospitality colleagues: Always be grateful to have the opportunity to serve others, in any way you can.

 

Your activities: My family and I started an advocacy project to promote Marine Conservation in May 2018.  We organize beach clean-up’s, as well as ocean clean-up dive’s for scuba divers.

We conduct annual and bi-annual clean-ups in Anilao, Batangas. We have also been blessed to encourage young leaders to love scuba diving, in the pursuit of creating innovations for preserving our beaches and marine life.

 

Personal Advocacy: My family loves the beach so much. We have a daughter, our youngest (Mia) who has speech delays and we started taking her with us to the outdoors and on beach clean-ups, to expose her more. After the first beach clean-up we did ourselves, we got a call from my daughter’s teacher asking us for a PTA. She told us that our daughter had reached a new milestone in school; she had started presenting in class about her beach clean-up experiences. She talked about seashells, how PLASTIC is “yucky”, and that you should throw your trash in the bin.

Mia’s milestone is what pushed us to start this advocacy. And my eldest daughter, Kimi being a licensed scuba diver at age of 11 has encouraged her friends to lead clean-up dives and coral restoration, to preserve and protect the marine life.

 

Aspirations: We envision holding summer beach camps for young families, and young leaders, to encourage them to create their own programs to protect the marine life.  We will launch other sustainable campaigns for educating boat men, tourists and communities to work together.

Faye Cabio Eco Hotels Philippines MY RANGGO Hospitality Heroes


Faye is the Marketing Supervisor for Eco Hotels Philippines, and is part of the company’s Sustainability Team. Faye believes passionately in Eco Hotels Vision, Mission and Advocacy. She takes part in the Eco Gives Back program, working with street children in Manila, and in activities and events focusing on promoting environmental and sustainable initiatives and practices.

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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.