Corporate Social Responsibility that touches lives within Boracay’s communities
By Pauline Evora
Living on Boracay, you will soon notice that what makes the locals and foreigners stay so long on the island is the community.
Building a community makes life easier and strengthens a place in great ways. It goes from working together towards a greener and more environmental life to giving the local community good opportunities for their future. And when we feel things do not move forward as fast as we wish, we have to look around us for the actions we can all take as individuals and business owners. Many resorts already follow this path and show us the way.
Diniview Villa Resort is a green haven nestled on the hill of Diniwid.
Each house is designed to blend with its surroundings, giving a sense of peace when one walks around its lush garden. Solar panels provide 30 percent of the power supply and guests are encouraged to respect certain eco-friendly practices such as reusing their towels and bed linen more than one day. The bathrooms do not provide any single-use items but installed refillable soap, shampoo and purified water dispensers in each villa. One can purchase bamboo toothbrushes at the resort to minimize their use of the plastic ones.
Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa has a strong Corporate Social Responsibility program, and this goes for other hotels and resorts of the international hotel brand. The five-star Boracay branch is steadfast in their commitment to act towards a better Boracay. They are also working hand-in-hand with the Friends of the Flying Foxes to protect the beloved bats of Boracay and to educate tourists and locals on the importance of this advocacy. They produced a book called Nikki the Paniki (Nikki the Bat in English) to explain their advocacy to children, and is in fact given to the little guests.
Shangri-La built a durable bond with the Yapak community. Through the years, the resort has been helping to maintain the school and makes sure that the children have proper school supplies. Medical missions are organized twice a year where a doctor and dentist are brought in. Shangri-La also sponsors some higher grade students. A mutual commitment is made between the resort and the scholars: one has to study hard and pass their exams while the hotel provides them possible job opportunities within its team.
For Christmas, their “Star of Hope” project enables guests and staff to take part in Christmas donations by buying an ornament for the Christmas tree. The amount raised will be matched by Shangri-La. Working closely with the Yapak community, the resort will ask them directly what are their school-related needs are such as basic supplies. The luxury resort also organizes activities with the community, such as soap-making livelihood workshops.
Discovery Shores Boracay opened its doors back in 2007 and wasted no time in developing Social Responsibility Programs towards the Boracay community. The “Beads Bracelet Project” is an example among many. The hotel buys handmade beaded bracelets and eco-bags from the women of the Ati Village which are given to every in-house guest as a souvenir. “Supporting local communities has always been a part of our mission and we are grateful to the women of the Tribu Tubu-anan Ati community for allowing us the opportunity to make a difference,” the homegrown, five-star resort team explains. This ongoing project is the start of many more as Discovery Shores continues to strive to support the community’s livelihood projects, providing them with a steady source of income. They also partnered with Waves for Water, a non-profit organization that helps provide clean and safe water to communities in need such as the Ati Village.
Aside from their monthly beach cleanups and the feeding programs they organize for the Ati, Discovery Shores is working on bringing clean and sustainable food to their tables. The resort started its own farm in Sambiray, Caticlan. They are growing vegetables, herbs and fruits and make their own compost for fertilizer. Their plans for the farm are evolving and constantly growing.
Aside from their many beach cleanups, Discovery Shores is minimizing its plastic use by using refillable pumps for all the bath amenities of the resort. The beachfront resort is using EcoPure Water to avoid bottled water. Plastics still in use by the hotel are being transformed into basic building block units known as ecobricks. This multi-department effort will be directed towards a chosen beneficiary once they have collected a large number of bricks.
For the past decade, Discovery Shores has been hosting an annual Christmas Gift-Giving event for the community at the Balabag Plaza, offering toys, school supplies and other treats to the children of Boracay. This is followed by a Salu-Salo- a simple family banquet, with the Ati community during which Discovery’s staff distributes gifts to children and adults alike.
Hue Boracay’s efforts towards sustainability are not going unnoticed. From having their own water refilling plant for guests and using 100 percent LED lights, the resort received a sustainable award for the hospitality category from Rethinking The Future- an international architecture and design platform that recognizes the efforts in design as being able to withstand climate change. On another hand, Station X, the food park and retail space located within Hue Hotel comes up with worthwhile learning programs for Boracay kids and adults such as art classes, dance workshops, art exhibits of local artists and more. One of their latest programs was Bangkarunungan. Founded by Adrian Cobardo, it brings volunteer teachers to less fortunate communities to offer basic reading and writing skills.
As a Christmas effort towards helping the less fortunate, Hue Hotel is organizing “Project Shoe Box” in partnership with the Philippine Army. Each shoebox contains school supplies they will then donate to hard-to-reach communities around Malay, Aklan. The boxes will be distributed through the Philippine Army.
The Lind commits to Corporate Social Responsibility Programs all year around. During the island closure, the resort took the opportunity to gather its staff and organized a tree planting activity in Nabaoy, in July 2018. They are also joining regular beach clean-ups, including the recent Boracay Industry Tripartite Council sunset clean-up.
The homegrown Philippine luxury resort encouraged its staff to join the blood donation activity organized by the Philippine National Red Cross last February and donated 300 slippers to the Mayor’s office last March so these could be distributed to those in need.
For Christmas, The Lind is working with the Missionaries of Charity: Home of the Savior and Abandoned, located in Kalibo, Aklan. The place is home to sick and malnourished children and elderlies. Last year, the team traveling from Boracay conducted games, bringing prizes and laughter to the young ones. This November, they organized another day with the Missionaries of Charity, delighted to be reunited with the children.
Every year since 2015, The Lind also welcomes the Ati Choir to perform at the hotel during Christmas. This is a way for them to share with their guests the precious voices of the indigenous tribe. As a token of appreciation, they thank the singers with food and small gifts after their performance.
The District Boracay takes pride in following strict sustainable eco-practices towards better tourism. As part of their core values, they prioritize local employment to avoid displacement and families being separated. Their team is composed of 70 percent locals. The centrally-located resort is one of the few hotels in the Philippines to use solar power as its main source of energy to reduce their use of fossil fuel. The cleaning teams are using eco-friendly cleaning solutions, taking it one step further towards a cleaner environment.
Each room is equipped with refillable water bottles for their guests to use, an energy saving device that shuts off the appliances automatically when guests leave their room, eco-baskets for laundry, LED lights to save energy and eco-friendly bathroom amenities. A decorative hydro-culture plant is also placed in the rooms to purify the air. Hydro culture is a system that requires a minimum amount of water for plants to grow indoors.
The island and the world do not need each of us to be perfect eco-soldiers. But if each of us makes the effort to rethink our way of living and make eco-conscious decisions on our personal and business consumption on a daily basis, the difference can be huge.
Be inspired, be bold and change one little way at a time. Uplift others, share your knowledge and make a difference.