Eco-Friendly Lodging: Green Tips for Hotels

Guest post by Bryn Huntpalmer of Modernize

From filling out paperwork to selecting vendors and managing staff, if you own a hotel, you are certainly busy. With so many elements to juggle, environmental friendliness can slip down the ladder of importance. It may seem daunting to address the term “eco-friendly” when it involves company-wide changes, so we at Modernize have a few tricks to maintain a greener environment without sacrificing your guests’ comfort and satisfaction.

Boost Your Energy Efficiency

Let’s face it; hotels require significant energy levels to function, from heating and cooling to laundering and powering electronics. Monitoring utility bills is the first step in making a change. Set a goal to reduce energy consumption and design an action plan.

One of the biggest users of energy is a hotel’s HVAC system. Go eco-friendly by upgrading to an adjustable, green system that will keep both you and your guests comfortable. Innovative HVAC systems are equipped with digital thermostats that guests can set, just like they would at home. The revolutionary “unoccupied” setting is the key to conserving energy. Smart systems can sense when a guest leaves the room, reset to a standard temperature, and then sense when the guest returns and readjust accordingly. This eliminates wasted energy when no one is even in the room to enjoy that cool blast or cozy heat.

You’ll love the lower utility bills, the raving reviews from guests and the clear consciousness of doing your part to protect the world we love.

Stock Your Kitchens with Organic Food

Food can be a decadent part of the hospitality industry, from buffets to room service, breakfast bars and restaurants. Improve the taste and quality of your cuisine by shopping for organic ingredients. Guests will appreciate how much you care and enjoy the deliciousness of your meals. It may seem like a small change, but supplying your business with organic food is actually better for the environment, too.

Organic gardens are more sustainable over time, and farmers don’t use harmful chemicals and nonrenewable energy sources to grow their crops. Agrochemicals, which are often used for non-organic produce, contribute to global warming and water contamination. Supporting organic farmers and local vendors will reduce these harmful effects.

If you are ready to make a huge change, you can even grow your own garden and pull herbs, produce and legumes right from your own backyard!

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Recycle and Reuse

Switch to green paper products crafted from recycled material to eliminate paper waste. Unbleached and recycled paper towels, coffee cups, plates and straws are a few of our favorite eco-friendly hospitality products.

Promote recycling in your hotel by training staff and setting up recycling bins in each guest room. Don’t forget to encourage eco-friendly practices by placing recycling bins in the lobby, gym, pool room and other common areas. Order supplies in bulk to cut down on the amount of packaging waste.

Reduce waste by reusing items and donating to the local community. When it’s time to update your hotel’s decor, donate unwanted furniture and linens instead of tossing them out. You can also donate wrapped, unopened groceries to local food banks, benefitting both the planet and your neighbors!

Best Practices for Eco-Friendly Hotels

Establishing green practices is a team effort, so train your staff to be on team Earth. Establish rules for turning lights off when exiting a room, unplugging unused electronics and reducing personal waste levels. Offer incentives for staff who are dedicated to eco-friendly practices, and applaud their efforts regularly.

When choosing vendors for supplies like toiletries, coffee and tea, support local, fair-trade businesses. Keep everything bright and shiny by switching to non-toxic cleaners to improve indoor and outdoor air quality, so that you and your guests can literally breathe easier.

Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.

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Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SST offers LearningCapacity Building, Educational programs, Green Solutions and Services for public stakeholders: Destinations – LGUs and host communities;  Private stakeholders – Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality, Tour Operators and Businesses with Green Destinations, Global Leaders Program and Green Travel Guide platform to include Environmental Conservation and ComplianceGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the local host community. Water waste -STP (P.T. Amanaid Philippines) and Waste to Energy (W2E) solutions as well as other green destinations innovations are now offered to LGUs and tourism industry for law compliance.

For more information and assistance, contact us.

Sustainability meets splendor at the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Living culture at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
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High in the Peruvian Andes, a verdant valley cuts a pathway between the imperial Inca city of Cusco and the dramatic peaks that protect the citadel of Machu Picchu. This is the Sacred Valley of the Inca, once the heartland of the Inca Empire and still shrouded in the mysteries of their great civilization. Perched on a slope overlooking the valley floor, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba reflects the region’s Andean and Spanish-colonial influences, capturing the essence of a destination with many cultural layers.

Upon arrival at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, you might first be struck by the spectacular vistas—in a lodge where nearly every window shows a panoramic view of the Andes, it can be difficult to look away.  Each excursion provides cultural insights into the storied Sacred Valley—opportunities to uncover the secrets of the Inca and the vibrant traditions of their descendants. ~ National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.

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Bespoke Design, Owner’s Suite.Stay in a stunning countryside spanning 10 acres (4.05 has) at the property with 12 rooms including a three-room ‘Owners Suite’. Enjoy the panoramic views of the valley as well as the astounding Andes around you and be completely immersed in the overwhelming scenery. An additional 24 casitas will be opening the summer of 2015, offering a private and bespoke accommodation choice.

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For your comfort, relax at  exclusively designed custom made interiors and framed pre-Columbian textiles that accent the walls carefully picked by Denise Guislain-Koechlin, with help from her husband, Inkaterra’s founder and CEO Jose Koechlin.

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Earth to Plate Experience. With the Inca history being so deeply engrained in the local region, it is no surprise that the new Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas takes inspiration from this ancient civilisation with 10 acres of farmland, the new hacienda uses some of the same methods that the Incas used centuries ago. The property is surrounded by an organic plantation, where you can pick your own produce from quinoa and artichokes to Urubamba giant corn.  Guests are encouraged to get involved in the natural farming methods used to maintain the land, including ”tacllas” – a hand plough, pulled by an oxen.

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Crops such as Quinoa, Potato and Corn are resilient, ideal for the Peruvian climates thanks to how the Incas farmed them all those years ago.  At Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, they have recreated and solely use the traditional methods of the Incas to grow these crops.

Quinoa Flickr image courtesy of net_efekt http://bit.ly/1Jq0WVn

 They use tacllas, a foot plough, developed by traditional farmers to prepare the soil for planting by using human weight to turn up the ground.

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Oxen and llamas are also used on the farm and they also only use traditional oxen carts, instead of modern farming such as machinery and tractors to transport crops, thus it’s low impact and zero carbon emision.

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These farming methods have helped the lodge develop its exclusive ‘Earth to Plate’ concept, giving guests a completely unique taste and food experience.

Spotlight on Sustainability

The lodge works closely with the National Geographic-sponsored Inkaterra Asociación, a nonprofit organization that develops scientific, technological, and cultural research projects geared at managing and protecting the biodiversity and local communities of the Peruvian Andes. Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba purchases produce from the association’s Andean Farm Project, which has gardens in the nearby town of Huayoccari. Here, cutting-edge agro-ecological techniques are applied to the growth of organic produce and medicinal plants. The cultivation techniques were carefully selected for their ease of replication, with the initiative’s long-term objective being to establish an agricultural training center for local farming communities. – National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.

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See this traditional farming at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba as part of your Inkaterra Experiences. Enjoy a range of in-house activities such as bird watching (over 30 species of birds on the grounds) and horseback riding. Excursions can also be taken to the surrounding areas to ensure you have a truly authentic Inkaterra holiday.

Why We Love This Lodge

Many visitors to Peru’s southern highlands treat the Sacred Valley as the road to Machu Picchu, and some bypass it altogether by boarding a train in Cusco bound for the legendary Inca citadel. Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba invites guests to stay awhile and soak up the spirit of the valley—an enigmatic place where ancient fortresses mark Inca-Spanish battlegrounds, traditional weaving still lives on in hillside hamlets, and the majesty of the surrounding mountains inspires awe in onlookers.

The lodge helps tell a different part of the Inca story: one of life in the empire’s heartland. Guests can spend time in local farming communities and attend spiritual services to hear Quechua, the language of the Inca; walk through the surrounding hills to see evidence of Inca agriculture and architecture; and sit on the lodge terrace to gaze at the same celestial bodies that inspired the building of Inca temples. Here, traces of the empire are everywhere, and Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba strives to help guests discover them. ~ National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World

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Learn more about Peru by checking our blog posts Take a PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975 with 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay – any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, contact us.

The Inkaterra Hacienda Urubama experience:

Sources: Inkaterra and National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. Photo credits: Inkaterra blog.

Peru: come, live the legend!

Watch “Peru, Live the Legend” video:

“Peru is often called the quintessential South American destination evoking images of Andean mountains, fabled lost cities, panpipe players, llamas and, of course, the ever-fashionable and functional poncho.” – Blue List, Lonely Planet.

High fashion inspired by Cusco. Photo via Visit Peru.

High fashion inspired by Cusco. Photo via Visit Peru.

Peru is everything unexpected: from its vast sandy dunes and deserts all throughout its coasts, stunning uplands in the Andes home to the country’s greatest attraction: the Inca city of Machu Picchu and beyond the intimidating heights, the astounding lush jungles with meandering rivers and vast waterways, one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, the Amazon River and Basin.

Viewing Nazca Lines - "Candelabro" on the desert. Photo via Visit Peru.

Viewing Nazca Lines – “Candelabro” on the desert.

However, there’s more to Peru than Machu Picchu: this immense wealth of sights and experiences has its roots in one of the world’s richest heritages, with its fabulous archeological gems of six Pre-Inca civilizations, the monumental adobe temples and ruins along the desert coast and mysterious Nazca Lines which can only be viewed best from the sky. Enjoy city life in Spanish-influenced cosmopolitan capitals, with their colonial-era mansions, churches, monasteries, and museums.

Cindy Crawford selfie in Machu Picchu, photo via her Instagram.

Cindy Crawford selfie in Machu Picchu, photo via her Instagram.

THE DESTINATIONS

Lima's city center - UNESCO World Heritage Site -highlights include balconies & the Plaza de Armas.

Lima’s city center – UNESCO World Heritage Site -highlights include balconies & the Plaza de Armas.

LIMA – CULTURE, CRAFTS & CULINARY CAPITAL 

Called Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings) by the Spanish conquerors, the capital city of Lima is much more than the gateway to Peru. With the country’s best museums – more than 20 of them, plus striking baroque and renaissance churches, colonial mansions and palaces, world-class restaurants and amazing shopping, Lima deserves more than a quick stopover.

You can also Lima from the sky through paragliding! Photo via Visit Peru.

DID YOU KNOW? You can also see Lima from the sky through paragliding! Photo via Visit Peru.

Experience highlights

  • Visit remarkable cathedrals, cloisters and monasteries, appreciate some of Peru’s best archeological and art museums, and feel a sense of awe in the city’s elegant old colonial center.
  • Savor exquisite Peruvian cuisine in the “Gastronomy Capital of Latin America,” with varied influences from the coast, mountains and the Amazon.
  • Experience Lima’s incredibly varied shopping, from exclusive factory visits, to artisan and antique shops, souvenir and handicraft markets offering an endless selection of handmade alpaca clothes and accessories, silver jewelry and decorative pieces, pottery, colonial religious art and wood carvings.

SACRED VALLEY – VALLE SAGRADO – EXPERIENCE LIVING CULTURE

Sacred Valley of the Incas - Valle Sagrado, Urubamba. Photo via Visit Peryu

Sacred Valley of the Incas – Valle Sagrado, Urubamba.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas, home of the finest Inca sites offers a glorious beginning to your Cusco visit. The Valley’s sublime climate, overwhelmingly beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, colorful folk arts and crafts and warm, friendly local people all reflect the Peru that visitors travel thousands of miles to see. The valley is also a haven for eco sports adventure such as trekking, horseback riding, mountain biking and river rafting.

Ancient Incan sites: Maras Salt Mines & Moray Rice Terraces.

Ancient Incan sites: Maras Salt Mines & Moray Rice Terraces.

Experience highlights

  • Start your Cusco discovery to acclimatize in glorious sunny weather, either before or after your Machu Picchu visit.
  • Perfect base to myriad activities in the Valley: visits to Inca ruins and archaeological sites and gourmet picnics.
  • Spectacular location for outdoor adventures such as horseback riding, mountain biking, river rafting or trekking.
  • Interactive and socially responsible excursion in a visit to a workshop or community of weavers, pottery, ceramics, among others.

MACHU PICCHU – THE ROYAL INCA RETREAT

Who wouldn't want to visit Machu Picchu?

Who wouldn’t want to visit Machu Picchu?

“Machu Picchu was… the favored country retreat for the royal family and Inca nobility.” – The New York Times

Machu Picchu Historical Reserve is a magical place that fascinates through its vast archaeological remains, geological formations, unique flora and fauna, and spectacular cloud forest. The most remarkable part of the reserve is the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, one of the world’s New Seven Wonders. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, is considered “the Garden of Eden” by Condé Nast Traveller where you will experience life at an exclusive royal Inca retreat for your stay.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner

Experience highlights

  • Explore the wonder of Machu Picchu and discover the essence of a Royal Inca retreat.
  • Authentic barefoot luxury in whitewashed casitas and villas in a private 5 hectare Andean Garden of Eden, teeming with orchids and hummingbirds.
  • Visit the ancient Machu Picchu Citadel in company of a certified English-speaking guide, as well as other attractions in the Natural Reserve.
  • At Inkaterra Hotels, included in house excursions such as Bird Watching, Orchid walk, Tea Plantation Visit, Nature Talks, among others, offered on 12-acre grounds.
  • UNU Spa

CUSCO -ENDURING FUSION OF INCA MYSTIQUE AND SPANISH SPLENDOR 

Cusco, ancient capital of the Incan empire (that's South America, folks).

Cusco, ancient capital of the Incan empire (that’s South America, folks).

Vibrant is the word which best describes Cusco, capital of the vast Inca Empire some six hundred years ago, now transformed as themost important colonial center in the Andes, an axis of exploration and favorite destination for today’s international traveler. Inkaterra La Casona Cusco, an exquisite 16th century colonialmansion, is an exquisite and exclusivemanor, carefully restored to retain its historical heritage. It offers guests contemporary luxury without sacrificing authenticity with the privacy and privilege experienced by those who once lived there.

Inti Raymi, Cusco's foremost festival.

Inti Raymi, Cusco’s foremost festival. Photo via Visit Peru.

Experience highlights

  • Discover a four-century fusion of Spanish colonial and Inca culture, both in Cusco and at Inkaterra La Casona, Hot Listed Best New Hotel by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine U.S., U.K. and Travel+Leisure.
  • Enjoy contemporary luxury without sacrificing authenticity, in an exclusive privilege and privacy experienced by those who once lived at the fully restored 16th century manor.
  • Explore from Inkaterra La Casona, a destination as well as a hub from which to begin your discovery of the Andes, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu as well as Lake Titicaca.
  • Visit Cusco’s landmarks, impressive churches, museums, quaint neighborhoods, artisan workshops and other remarkable Incan archaeological sites.

Inkaterra La Casona,  former Incan Royal & Peru's conquerors' residence, now Cusco's foremost luxury boutique hotel.

Inkaterra La Casona, former Incan Royal  residence & Peru’s conquerors’ quarters, now Cusco’s foremost luxury boutique hotel.

Suggested Itinerary in Brief:

Day 1 – Arrival in Lima; Overnight

Day 2 – Full Day  in Lima

Half-Day City Tour – Peruvian Welcome Lunch; Rest of Afternoon Free

Day 3 – Lima – Cusco- Sacred Valley; Check in at hotel & Acclimatize

Day 4 – Full Day in Sacred Valley – Pisac & Ollantaytambo Tour

Day 5- Fully Day 2 Sacred Valley –Chinchero, Maras & Moray

Late afternoon – Train to Machu Picchu Pueblo – overnight;

Day 6- Full day in Machu Picchu; Overnight in Machu Picchu

Day 7 -After lunch, train ride to Cusco; Acclimatize; Overnight

Day 8 – Full Day Tour & Shopping in Cusco

Day 9 – Depart Cusco for Lima; Overnight Lima

Day 10 – Departure from Lima

For more information on Peru, check out our blogs on Peru. Take a PERU DREAM TRIP by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay – any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, contact us.

Photo credits: Visit Peru & Inkaterra.

Go on a green beach holiday to Coron!

TCI FB Cover SeriesIIWorld’s Best Island Green Getaway

Go off on a green beach holiday, swim in pristine white beaches and turquoise lagoons surrounded by limestone cliffs, snorkel in cerulean lakes blessed with overwhelming marine biodiversity, go on island hopping excursions on over 60 islets or scuba dive in stunning corals where World War II ship wrecks lie. Travel to a virtually unspoiled countryside, with cows grazing through rolling grasslands and sometimes crossing the road where practically no man-made structures is in sight. Discover the Philippines’“last frontier!”

 Focal Points

Twin Lagoons. Photo by Al Linsangan III.

Twin Lagoons. Photo by Al Linsangan III.

  • Limestone landscapes – the steep and protruding karst cliffs and spires at the Ancestral Domain of the Tagbanua indigenous tribe.
  • Islands and Beaches – pristine, uninhabited white sand beaches and dozens of islands.
  • From reefs to wrecks – Busuanga Island and its bays offer a very peculiar combination of relatively rich coral reefs (notably in Siete Pecados, Bintuan-Sangat, etc) and the famous 12 Japanese World War II shipwrecks.
  • Wildlife sanctuary areas – The Calauit Game Reserve and Wildlife Refuge is a major tourist destination for wildlife interaction, as well as routes and trails along the way.
  • Bird watching trails offers good forest cover, such as the beach forest in Barangay Old Busuanga and the rich mangroves in Bugtong, Sagrada, and Concepcion.

Foremost Jaunts (Full-day excursions):

Iconic Coron excursions.

 Iconic Coron excursions.

Islands Expedition – swim and snorkel at select pristine islands and beaches: Malcapuya, Banana & Bulog Islands.

Wildlife Safari – go on a tropical wildlife adventure : Calauit Wildlife Park, Concepcion Falls & Bintuan Mangrove Walk.

Reefs and Wrecks – set off to a green diving and snorkeling expedition: Lusong Ship wreck, Coral gardens, Calumbuyan Island &  Sangat gunboat.

Nature Park Hiking & Kayaking – all aboard to Kingfisher Park for nature hiking & kayaking: nature trail, picnic lunch by the river and kayaking by the mangroves. Ideal for birdwatchers too!

GET INSPIRED!

Birding Coron2

Coron: A birdwatching paradise!

Green Honeymoon 

Kayangan Lake Wedding & Coron Honeymoon.

Kayangan Lake Wedding & Coron Honeymoon.

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Eco Friendly Escapade

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Nature & Wildlife Photo Expiditions

SUGGESTED ITINERARY

In order to make the most of your visit and trip, you deserve to stay at least 4 Days & 3 Nights, no less!

Suggested Itinerary: 4 Days & 3 Nights minimum.

Suggested Itinerary: 4 Days & 3 Nights minimum.

For more information and reservations send us a message.

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SST offers LearningCapacity Building, Educational programs, Green Solutions and Services for public stakeholders: Destinations – LGUs and host communities;  Private stakeholders – Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality, Tour Operators and Businesses with Green Destinations, Global Leaders Program and Green Travel Guide platform to include Environmental Conservation and ComplianceGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the local host community. Water waste -STP (P.T. Amanaid Philippines) and Waste to Energy (W2E) solutions as well as other green destinations innovations are now offered to LGUs and tourism industry for law compliance.

For more information and assistance, contact us.

Love the green? Travel green in Negros Occidental!

Countryside, Crafts & Culinary delights Travel green to Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, the Philippine’s foremost sustainable agri-tourism and organic farm capital. Step back in time to the countryside, re-living turn  of the century old towns and haciendas, feeling a sense of green and tranquility as you traverse along undulating sugarcane fields. Take an eco-trip to a rainforest and marine reserve, learn the importance of coastal biodiversity conservation to combat climate change and savor exquisite Negrense cuisine from freshest exotic seafood to healthy options of organic farms and produce.

Rapha Valley, Don Salvador Benedicto

Rapha Valley, Don Salvador Benedicto

Focal Points:

  • Visit remarkable churches, stately mansions, and diverse organic farms
  • Enjoy culinary delights from traditional home style cooking to East-West fusion, with a wide array of seafood, organic and healthy options.
  • Buy local, support local – world-class handicrafts, from exclusive factory visits, to community and producers’ shops, souvenirs showroom.
    Handmade Gallery Useful Gifts

    Buy local, support local. Eco-friendly, world-class arts and craft abound in Bacolod City! Photo via Handmade Gallery.

Foremost Jaunts:

Organic Farms & Sustainable Agri Tours: North, Central & Southern loops.

Sustainable Agri Tour- Northern Loop, Negros Occidental

Sustainable Agri Tour- Northern Loop, Negros Occidental

Souther Farms Loop

Souther Farms Loop

Central Farms Loop

Central Farms Loop

Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB)Rapha Valley

DSB's Rice Terraces. Enjoy it while it's clean and green!

DSB’s Rice Terraces. Enjoy it while it’s clean and green!

Danjugan Island

Danjugan Island

Danjugan Island

GET INSPIRED!

Green Weddings & Events (M.I.C.E) 

Green weddings and events at Nature's Village Resort. Photo via midorimoon.com

Green weddings and events at Nature’s Village Resort. Photo via midorimoon.com

 Stay green!

Nature's Village Resort, Negros Occidental, ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee

Nature’s Village Resort, Negros Occidental, ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee

 Ecofriendly Family Getaway & Educational trips

Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

SUGGESTED ITINERARY – 4 DAYS/3 NIGHTS

To make the most of your visit and trip, stay no less than 4 days/3 nights, otherwise, before you know it, you’ll be planning your next vacay again!

Don Salvador Benedicto Waterfalls

  • Day 1- Arrival, Check in at Nature’s Village Resort. Bacolod City Half Day tour
  • Day 2 – Full Day Tour, Southern & Central Loop, Overnight at Rapha Valley
  • Day 3 – Full Day Tour – Northern Loop & Souvenir Shopping, Overnight at Nature’s Village Resort
  • Day 4 – Departure

For more information and reservations, please send us a message.

 “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SST offers LearningCapacity Building, Educational programs, Green Solutions and Services for public stakeholders: Destinations – LGUs and host communities;  Private stakeholders – Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality, Tour Operators and Businesses with Green Destinations, Global Leaders Program and Green Travel Guide platform to include Environmental Conservation and ComplianceGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the local host community. Water waste – STP (P.T. Amanaid Philippines) and Waste to Energy (W2E) solutions as well as other green destinations innovations are now offered to LGUs and tourism industry for law compliance.

For more information and assistance, contact us.

 

Discover Danjugan Island – the Philippines’ conservation pioneer

“We saved an island…now we invite you to EXPLORE it.”

Danjugan Island

History

It was in 1974 when Gerry Ledesma, first visited Danjugan Island with some of his diving mates. Its thick limestone forests hosted many different kinds of birds and bats; its underwater was so clear with schools of fish and magnificent, intact coral reefs.  Scuba diving became popular and most divers then were spear fishers—and at the end of each dive day, tall stories were told about the sharks seen —there were tigers in the outer reefs surrounding the island and white/black tipped in the nearby reefs– and the big fish that got away.

Danjugan

Photo credits Danjugan Island Facebook Page

The early 1980s saw the decline of scuba diving due to the economic crisis brought upon by the government’s mismanagement of the sugar industry that most of the divers in Negros depended on.  1984 was a bad year too for Danjugan Island as Maricalum Mining Corp (MMC) stopped operations and its displaced workers started destructive fishing with blasting caps and cyanide from MMC.  The year also brought Typhoon Nitang that destroyed the shallow reefs of the island as well as in the entire foreshore of municipalities of Cauayan, Sipalay, and Hinobaan. The years of early to mid 90s emphasized the need for Danjugan’s conservation with episodes of logging and poaching and this finally provoked the offer to buy the island but Gerry didn’t have money. William Oliver, a British zoologist working on Negros endangered wildlife species, suggested contacting John Burton of the World Land Trust (WLT) whose thrust is the purchase of important biodiversity sites for conservation.  Soon, a noted marine scientist from the UK, Sue Wells, came to visit and not long after, Peter Raines of Coral Cay Conservation (CCC).  Then, an invitation to England for the launch of the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Project (PRRP) and within a month, a fund was transferred to PRRP for the down payment of Danjugan Island.

Danjugan Directors

Danjugan Island Marine & Wildlife Camp led by Gerry Ledesma, PRRCFI founder.  (right)

The Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PRRCFI) was established to manage and operate the PRRP, as well as the conservation program based on Danjugan Island that was expanded to include Southern Negros Occidental.  Due to the ignorance of marine and wildlife conservation, the group piloted the 1st Youth Marine Camp in 1991 with their children and children of friends and relatives.  The camp had pleasing results and children from the village of Bulata were included in the subsequent camps.  Presently, the camps are conducted each summer as the Youth Marine and Wildlife Camp and with the Philippine Department of Education as the Danjugan Environment Education Project (DEEP).

Location & Biodiversity

Resting 3 kilometers southwest off the coast of Negros Occidental, Danjugan is a lush, 43-hectare island rich in marine and terrestrial biodiversity. This island, about 1.5 kilometers long and 0.5 kilometers at its widest point, has 5 lagoons and is covered with limestone forests providing asylum to many wildlife species that struggle to exist in the mainland.

Together with Sipalay City and the Municipality of Hinobaan, it forms the southern border of the province and is situated in the Sulu Sea, an important eco-region for marine biodiversity.  The island’s surrounding reef is under the Danjugan Island Marine Reserve and Sanctuaries with three Special Management Areas or No Take Zones established in 2000 through Cauayan Municipal Ordinance 99-52.

Danjugan seagrass

Danjugan Island protects three major! marine ecosystems: sea grass, coral reefs and mangroves! Photo via Danjugan Facebook Page.

It holds an incredible biodiversity given its small size. At least 72 bird species have been recorded on the island, including a nesting pair of White- breasted Sea Eagles Heliatus leucogaster that have been breeding atop Typhoon Beach Camp since 1974 and  Tabon scrub fowls Megapodius cumingi which are common around the island.

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Danjugan Island “DEEP Camp”. Photo via Danjugan Facebook Page.

Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

Increasing environmental awareness in the youth has been one of the major priorities of PRRCFI. The Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program (DEEP), funded by the Foundation of the Philippine Environment (FPE), endeavors to teach Biodiversity Conservation, Sustainable Development, Climate Change Issues and Values to teachers and elementary/highschool students of Cauayan, Sipalay and Hinobaan municipalities in Southern Negros. These are where the last remaining good coral reefs in Negros Occidental remain. DEEP attempts to inspire to teach students to be stewards of the environment.

Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

Danjugan Island Environmental Education Program

The DEEP was implemented starting June 2011. In the two years that it was executed, it aimed to address the shortcomings of environment education by delivering modules on biodiversity, marine and terrestrial wildlife awareness, climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainability, and principles of responsible ecological stewardship to select public school teachers, students, barangay councils, and  LGUs.

Genuine green ecotourism

“We saved an island…now we invite you to EXPLORE it.”

Danjugan Island is now open on a limited capacity basis for visitors, to experience ecotourism at its purest: learn about the biodiversity within the area, its conservation efforts, eco-friendly facilities to include eco cabanas, solar powered electricity, communal served meals based on native cuisine and seasonally-available local produce and services offered by the locals within.

Make a difference and travel green to Danjugan!

You may also support its programs in environmental conservation and education when you visit. For more information and and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, contact us.

The Danjugan Island is part of our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDINegros Occidental initiative, the sustainable tourism development & stewardship program for the province.

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Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SST offers LearningCapacity Building, Educational programs, Green Solutions and Services for public stakeholders: Destinations – LGUs and host communities;  Private stakeholders – Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality, Tour Operators and Businesses with Green Destinations, Global Leaders Program and Green Travel Guide platform to include Environmental Conservation and ComplianceGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the local host community. Water waste – STP (P.T. Amanaid Philippines) and Waste to Energy (W2E) solutions as well as other green destinations innovations are now offered to LGUs and tourism industry for law compliance.

For more information and assistance, contact us.

Lima, Peru to host UN Climate Change Summit COP 20

COP20: “Don’t come to Peru if you don’t want to change the world”

Lima's balconies

One of the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Central Lima are its balconies. They were so popular during the Viceroyalty that Lima was also Known as the City of Balconies. Photo via Visit Peru.

UN Framework for Climate Change  (UNFCC) Cop 20 Lima, the cornerstone  for commitment to the future of our climate.

Photo via COP 20.org

United Nations Framework for Climate Change, COP 20 Lima, Per

In 2015, the most important climate change decisions will be made with the design and launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year, on  December 1-12, Peru will host the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC – COP 20), during which a draft text will be produced for a decision at the Paris convention the following year. This will shape our approach to climate change over the next decade and very much determine the scale of its impact on our future.

“Pon de tu Parte” (Do your part) NGO campaign for Climate Change towards COP 20 in Lima. Photo via COP20.pe

Last June, a zero draft on the SDGs was created, with 17 potential goals. Although this number will most likely be reduced to 10 or less in Peru, the focus was predominantly applauded for its approach. Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN initiative the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the UN secretary-general’s special advisor on the SDGs expressed his expressed his delight with the first goal being focused on the ending of extreme poverty.

He further went on to praise the scientific base of the draft and insisted that scientists in a variety of fields, from climate to ecology, need to be outspoken in the production of the goals. The two degrees Celsius limitation in global warming is one such area where science has led to comprehensive adoption by the UN Framework.

The first ever United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), held in Nairobi, Kenya, last month, had a keen focus on the upcoming COP 20 in Lima and on the wider SDGs. Earlier in the month, at the G77+China summit in Bolivia, the Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso met with the United Nations’ Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to discuss his country’s hosting of the COP 20 and to reiterate Peru’s commitment to climate change.

Photo via cop20.pe

Launch of the “Pon de tu parte” (Do your Part) campaign for climate change in Lima that seeks to ensure that citizens, businesses and organizations are informe, are infomred and commited to specific actions to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects.

The COP 20 will focus on four key areas – Adaptation, Climate Finance, Mitigation and Technology – with Peru a suitable choice as host. The 29th State of the World report from the Worldwatch  Institute in 2013 hailed Peru as the only nation hitting the ‘sustainability sweet spot’. This was due to the balance, based on 2007 date, they had achieved in human development and resource consumption. This was also assisted further by the commitment of the country’s Environment Officer to eliminate deforestation, whilst the President vowed to fight any trace of environmental pollution.

Peru faces a tough task in delivering a draft at COP 20, in time for the 2015 Paris summit. Clever diplomacy is earmarked as being key; and with the 195 member countries showing disparity in their current positions, the process will certainly not be free from hurdles. Despite this, there has been some tentativeness in the mission of the summit, with Peru’s President keen to point out that the event marks the start of a new chapter more so than the closing of a book. Aiming too high has cost the COP dearly in the past and thus Peru has been focused on maintaining a balance between making a big impact and realism.

Photo via COP20.pe

Peruvian Deforestation- A Paradise Lost

The hosting of such a key summit comes at a time where Peru is staring down the barrel of climate change domestically, with the country susceptible to devastating impacts if both domestic and global action isn’t taken. As the host, positive dialogue and adequate pressure must be put on the biggest emitters, while at the same time ensuring the inclusivity of the lesser developed countries.  Peru’s COP 20 slogan is “Don’t come to Peru if you don’t want to change the world”, and with such a bold start, it is crucial that they deliver.

Photo via cop20.pe

Ministry of Environment of Peru with UNFCC and multi sector leaders for COP 20 Lima.

Slated at the Westin Hotel and Convention Centre in Peru’s capital, Lima, Climate Action Programme and UNEP will host the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2014 (SIF 14) to run alongside the COP 20. The largest commercially inclusive side event will bring together “world leaders, CEOs, senior executives, national, regional and city leaders, investors and industry experts”, seeking to “address climate change, accelerate green growth and sustainable development”.

SIF 14 will be a key event in the progression of the issues being discussed at the COP 20 and presents a great networking, ideas sharing and debating platform.  Key topics that will be addressed centre around innovative finance, adoption, mitigation, resilient cities and energy efficiency.  Event Director Claire Poole commented, “Lima represents a crucial milestone in the climate change dialogue, it’s vital that all stakeholders, not just the usual suspects on this world stage, are part of the conversation.”

More details on this year’s event can be located at http://cop20lima.org, with the event promising to be as innovative and impactful as last year. Source: cop20lima.org.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs  to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Bird Watching, prime ecotourism activity in Coron

Birding Coron2

Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater, Tulbuan Coron, Palawan. Photo by AL3Photography/CoronGaleri.

At the final and culminating Coron Initiative Capacity Building Series (TCI- CB Series IV) last March 2014, a presentation on Coron Bird Watching for Conservation and Ecotourism was conducted by Mr. Chin Fernandez, president of the The Wild Bird Society of Coron (or Birdwatch Coron). Mr. Fernandez is also the president of Calamianes Association of Tourism Establishments (CATE) and COO of Darayonan Lodge. Highlights of the presentation are as follows:

  • Birding must be promoted as an ecotourism activity in Coron. There is a growing trend among bird tour operators to practice sustainable and socially responsible ecotourism, while relying on local goods and services or supporting local conservation projects. Due to their accessibility and ubiquity, birds are a useful tool for environmental education and awareness on environmental issues. Birds easily transmit values on respect to nature and the fragility of ecosystems.
  • Bird watching is a hobby for enthusiasts, but it can be packaged targeting nature travelers in general who are into it as an alternative activity, since not all tourists may be fond of snorkeling/diving; or they may be both.
  • Bird watching can be an added value to spend one more day in Coron or some tourists may have an extra day, either for rest or for on any other possible activity for them. Bird watching may be introduced as it is a little challenging to see and detect birds in their natural habitat. However, once seen, tourists may be enthralled to witness the other wonders of nature.
  • A local group in Coron, called the The Wild Bird Society of Coron (or Birdwatch Coron for short),seeks to identify current and potential hobbyists in promoting the activity.
  • Adequate information campaign must however be conducted in collaboration with other bird watching and conservation groups as to the proper way of conducting the activity.
  • There is a move to declare by legislation, the Blue-headed Racquet-tail (an endemic parrot species), also locally known as “Kilit” to be a flagship species for Coron.
Birding Coron

Lesser Coucal at Sitio Banga, Coron Palawan. Photo by Al3Photography.

After Mr. Fernandez’s presentation, Mr. Alex Marcaida, from Palawan Sustainable Development Council (PSDC) the Workshop Facilitator had additional comments that bird watching is indeed an alternative activity to decrease pressure of tourist influx in water activities, or on a bigger scale, a tour package can be developed using the ridges to reef approach, wherein appreciation of nature may be on land and on water. He also lauded the movement of the Coron Birdwatching Society for the adoption and declaration of “Kilit” by the Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council) of Coron as its flagship species along with the underlying protection of the species and its habitat. Such movement may be adopted by other Palawan municipalities and incorporated into the Palawan Provincial Tourism Development Plan targeted for enactment on 2016. It is also beneficial that bird enthusiasts upload their photographs of birds online as a feedback system for identification and added information on its behavior, habitat, ecological/economic value and conservation measures.

Photo Expedition

Coron Photo Expedition, Birding & Nature Adventure by Coron Galeri. Photo by Al3Photography.

For more information and travel assistance about our Birdwatching in Coron, visit our Green Travel Exchange and for your Green Hotels stay , send us a message.  Join our Society of Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. SSTDI- advocating green, eco-friendly and responsible travel. Promote your eco destination,  hotel, resort, lodging, restaurant, festival, event venue or hospitality services, spa or sports, transport, real estate development or any tourism-related enterprise espousing green or sustainable practices.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SST offers LearningCapacity Building, Educational programs, Green Solutions and Services for public stakeholders: Destinations – LGUs and host communities;  Private stakeholders – Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality, Tour Operators and Businesses with Green Destinations, Global Leaders Program and Green Travel Guide platform to include Environmental Conservation and ComplianceGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the local host community. Water waste – STP (P.T. Amanaid Philippines) and Waste to Energy (W2E) solutions as well as other green destinations innovations are now offered to LGUs and tourism industry for law compliance.

For more information and assistance, contact us.

Peru, host of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Americas Summit 2014

wttc lima peru“Facing Challenges – Finding Opportunities”

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) second Americas Summit, which will once again unite Travel & Tourism leaders from across the whole region, bringing together top representatives from the public and private sectors, NGOs and the media in a unique networking and discussion forum. Building on the success of the first Americas Summit in Riviera Maya in 2012, this Summit in Lima, Peru will attract an audience of private and public sector tourism leaders from across South America, Central America, The Caribbean, and North America.

Travel & Tourism plays a very important role in economies across the Americas. Regionally, the industry generates US$269 billion in exports, contributes 8.5% of GDP and supports 1 in 11 jobs. The agenda of the Americas Summit will focus not only on the traditional intra-regional flows of business in the Americas – but also on the robust recovery of the inbound market, fuelled by the growth of BRIC nations. Speakers will include Chief Executives from regional and global hotel companies, airlines, tour operators and online travel agencies; regional and G20 Ministers of Tourism; high level representatives from the NGO sector and opinion-formers from academia and the media.

Presentations of best practice from inside and outside the region will be combined with lively debates around future trends and current policies. The profound words of President Bill Clinton at an earlier WTTC Summit resonate through our industry: “At a time of continued economic uncertainty and geopolitical instability somewhere in the world, Travel & Tourism has emerged as not only an engine of job creation and economic prosperity but also as a force for good – bringing peace and understanding to the world”.

 

The Second World Travel & Tourism Council Americas Summit will be held at the Westin Lima Hotel & Convention Center in Lima, Peru, on 10-11 September 2014, hosted by the Peru Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism.

Attendance at The Americas Summit is complimentary and by invitation only, and is intended exclusively for those holding the most senior positions in Travel & Tourism in the public and private sector, and for related media. The World Travel & Tourism Council is grateful to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of the Republic of Peru for hosting the Americas Summit 2014 in the wonderful location of Lima, Peru.

Americas Summit Programme

Travel & Tourism in the Americas is at a critical moment – be it in the recovering economies of the north, the mature but struggling Travel & Tourism destinations in the Caribbean or the excitement of the emerging markets in the south.  In particular in Latin America, financial stability, a growing middle class and its rich and diverse natural and cultural resources have contributed to steady growth of the sector.  A strong internal market, economic recovery in the USA and Europe, and the growth of new markets in Asia now offer massive opportunities.

The key question is – how can the combined strengths of the sector come together now to leverage more sustainable growth for the region? While some destinations prosper, others struggle. How can collaboration solve problems that market forces alone can’t address? How can competitiveness be strengthened through collaboration? How can the Americas keep up with growing destinations in Asia?

Over the course of a day and a half, through a series of keynotes, panel sessions and interviews, the most pressing questions facing Travel & Tourism in the Americas today will be addressed. Participants will identify what needs to be done now to ensure the long term sustainable future of the sector.

Travelling Towards 2024: The future of Travel & Tourism in the Americas

wttc economic impace

Travel & Tourism in the Americas is on the rise. But what will it look like in ten years’ time? Where will growth be focused? Which sectors and regions will be the winners and losers and why? What are the common challenges across the region? Which are the new markets to exploit? What are the risks posed by climate change, political instability and economic mismanagement? How is the relationship between the USA and Latin America evolving?

Government and business: partnership and progress

Governments and tourism ministers come and go, but the issues stay the same. How can countries break the cycle and foster real partnership between the public and private sectors? The USA and Mexico have already implemented frameworks for improving collaboration and cross-government co-operation; can these models be replicated elsewhere? What has been critical to the success of these initiatives? Is a sustainable future possible without public-private sector collaboration?

Financing the future: Strategies for investment

Future success will need strategic investment. Where is investment needed most and where will it come from? What are the bottlenecks in infrastructure and finance that are holding back growth? How can foreign and domestic direct investment be increased and what is slowing it down? How can countries channel investment into Travel & Tourism? What is the role of high profile cultural or sporting events to catalyze investment? What is being done to encourage green growth and innovation?

Open Skies: Dream or Reality?

Many countries in the region are still heavily restrictive in their aviation policies.  Will governments ever change their attitude? How can airlines be more efficient in their operations despite policy challenges? To what extent can the private sector really get involved with airport development? What are the models already in existence?

Digital Travellers: The Now Generation

Digital travellers represent the Now Generation. They are tech savvy and heavy internet, mobile and social users. Always connected, digital travellers use a variety of platforms to research, plan, book and share their travel experiences. Instantaneous real time access to information and flexibility of service is the expectation. How can tourism businesses provide products and services to this expanding Digital Traveller market? In the ever evolving field of technology how can businesses in the Travel and Tourism sector not only keep up but actually stay ahead of their demands? What opportunities does the digital journey offer to businesses that truly understand these trends and don’t just react to these new customer trends, but anticipate them?

Appreciating the asset: the value of cultural heritage

The definition of cultural heritage is evolving from the legacy of sites and curios to a wider and more complex definition embracing language, peoples and cuisine. What does not change, however, is the importance of cultural heritage to the economic, social and spiritual growth of a country. How does cultural heritage contribute to visitor exports? Is it really understood for the asset that it is? How does cultural heritage contribute to a distinct and competitive tourism product? How can our industry best champion ways to promote protect and develop the asset of cultural heritage, for the good of the destination and its visitors, past, present and future?

The Coron Initiative Capacity Building Series

The Coron Initiative  Sustainable Tourism Development & Stewardship Capacity Building Series

Sustainable tourism: leading by example

From the Amazon rainforest to Machu Picchu, the snow peaks of the Rockies to the beaches of the Caribbean, the future of the environment and the communities who inhabit it are vital to Travel & Tourism’s success. What is the business case for sustainability? What are the examples to be replicated? How can sustainability be better monitored and communicated? Is enough being done to preserve biodiversity, address climate change and manage water resources? Are communities and young people fully engaged in tourism development? What are the innovations that will be game changers?

Source & Photos: World Travel & Tourism Council: wttc.org

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs  to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Best Practices on Sustainable Reconstruction

Foreword. With the Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda that devastated the Visayas coastal regions in 2013, cities and  towns’ local government units including the national government itself were caught unprepared for the “storm surge and powerful winds which unroofed buildings and demolished houses; humans and animals drowned or flew to their deaths. The Philippine government has appointed a “Rehabilitation Czar”, former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who himself admits, it will be a tough job, but doable. We especially share and dedicate this blog to all who are working on the reconstruction, restoration and rehabilitation of the communities, towns and cities destroyed by probably the planet’s worst weather catastrophe. The message is “building back safer” – with sustainable building principles during reconstruction not only to improve resilience to natural hazards in the future, but also to ensure that the opportunity is seized to shift towards buildings and structures that are as energy efficient, low greenhouse gas emitting and climate-mitigating as possible. 

It is important to integrate the principles of sustainability strategically from the earliest stages of rebuilding in order to avoid major failures during reconstruction. The key best practices based on experience from recent disasters and catastrophes in Asia should be kept in mind at all stages of reconstruction, summarized below:

1. Learn from experiences, which dealt with effective and efficient reconstruction, and from traditional building technologies which survived disasters. Many mistakes can be avoided by observing and finding out what concepts and, in particular, what construction practices, functioned well before a natural disaster occurred. Traditional knowledge and building practices have often evolved over long periods of trial and error, and are often both practical and resource efficient.

Coron_Green Reconstruction

Green Reconstructio & Energy for Coron & the Visayas Haiyan/Yolanda devastated areas.

2. Establish and maintain a well-functioning project-management process

A well-functioning management process is the backbone for the success of any reconstruction project. Contracts,  roles and responsibilities should be clarified as early as possible.

Flood Proof Residence_ Palafox Associates

Flood Proof Residence, by Palafox Associates

3. Ensure local participation in decision-making processes

The active participation of local stakeholders in crucial decisions throughout the project process fosters a strong sense of ownership and acceptance for the project, and helps to facilitate care and maintenance of buildings following construction. This is especially true if the users are also the owners of the houses; rented-out dwellings tend to deteriorate more quickly than do owner-occupied homes.

La Jala

Climate vulnerable La Jala Community in Coron, Palawan, where informal settlers enroached mangrove areas that are buffer zones for typhoons and storm surges. Who are to blame if they are the first to suffer climate change effects?

Relevant stakeholders – future house users, community leaders, responsible public authorities, service providers, etc. – can deliver important information and provide support that may be crucial to the project’ success and sustainability.

Ideally, relevant stakeholders should be consulted during the early project-definition phase, as well as during planning and implementation phases. This can be done through a stakeholders‟ workshop”, during which invited stakeholders set project criteria and develop ideas.

At this stage, the responsible local governmental reconstruction agency can also be consulted in order to ensure their support.

4. Anchor the project in the local context

Projects should be anchored in the local context by taking any or all of the following measures:

– Exploring the availability of local know-how

– Considering traditional/cultural requirements

– Working together with and not against the local authorities

– Cooperating with local service providers

– Using high-quality local materials when possible

– Building on and optimizing local construction technologies.

La Jala native community

A typical native hut of the Tagbanua tribe of Coron, Palawan, Philippines. Eco friendly? Yes. Climate resilient? Not really. Thankfully, they are built away from the shores.

Anchoring reconstruction projects in the local context can contribute measurably to community buy-in and a project’s success and sustainability. Local institutions and organizations included in the project process are strengthened and improved.

Community Consultation Coron

Community consultation and education by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development.

5. Coordinate with other donors to identify potential synergies

Responsible local authorities should coordinate all ongoing and planned reconstruction activities, at least at community level. In addition, however, project officials should contact other development organizations (international and national) to determine jointly the geographical and social distribution of reconstruction schemes based on local needs. Identifying and monitoring the reconstruction activities of other donor organizations and ensuring your project is complementing, not duplicating, other efforts can save financial and other resources. Normally, there are reasonable opportunities to economize on costs of access roads, water and sanitation systems and other infrastructure. Donor coordination can also help to ensure the equitable distribution of reconstruction benefits to communities, especially to areas that are less politically popular.

Photo via PJ Aranador blog.

Korean donated tents in Estancia, super typhoone devastated town in Northern Iloilo.

6. Determine communication and knowledge-sharing strategy

Maintaining effective communication among all the stakeholders is crucial. Numerous sources have reported incidences of hostility towards development agencies by beneficiaries. There has been a lack of clear and regular communication between implementers and future users about options, plans, actions, responsibilities and difficulties encountered in the course of reconstruction projects. It cannot be overemphasized that all agencies owe beneficiaries the opportunity to know what is being discussed, planned, negotiated, rejected or accepted on their behalves. The internationally accepted guidelines of the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) provide successful lines of communication. (See ALNAP, 2005, An ALNAP Guide for Humanitarian Agencies, Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action, UK.)

It is also important to ensure regular reporting and documentation of positive and negative experiences. This is important not only for any necessary handing-over to future project managers, but also for the sharing of lessons learnt at international and local level.

Photo via PJ Aranador Blog.

Coordination & information dissemination post disaster in Estancia, Iloilo.

7. Develop a risk strategy

Developing a strategy for how to overcome any potential risks to the project is essential. Risk strategies safeguard the project’s continuation, completion and, ultimately, its sustainability.

Strategies should be developed with relevant local stakeholders. The strategies should define how potential obstacles – whether political, economic, security-related or from subsequent disasters – should be tackled.

8. Conduct regular monitoring and evaluation (M&E)

Regular self-monitoring and evaluation is critical for measuring the progress of reconstruction projects. M&E can be carried out in a rather simple fashion by selecting key indicators (amounts of money spent on different activities, amounts of materials used and timeliness of completion of activities) and then collecting measurements and summarizing them on a regular basis (weekly or fortnightly).

If any indicator shows a deviation from the budget or from construction plans, then the cause for the deviation should be identified, so that remedial measures can be taken. In addition, an external evaluation can assist by providing a second and independent assignment on crucial issues. M&E can be complemented with “impact monitoring”, which is used to assess the environmental and social impacts of project activities. Impact monitoring provides valuable information about whether the project is in conformance with best sustainability practices (and if not, how it can be improved). Impact monitoring is also very useful for building the project partners‟ credibility with the local community, national authorities and international donors.

Houses Mangroves_LowRes

Devastated houses of informal settlers along the mangrove area, Coron Bay, Palawan. Learn the lesson: no one should be allowed to build any structure within the buffer zone for storms and typhoons.

9. Choose the lifespan of houses to be built

Selecting temporary or permanent shelter options has a huge influence on the house design as well as the project’s implementation procedures, budget and time-frame. It is important to decide early in planning for how long the houses should last.

 

10. Provide adequate temporary shelters

Reconstruction programs that are seeking to produce quality results require time for realization. While housing projects are being developed, displaced residents need adequate temporary shelters that ensure humane living conditions and enable residents to re-establish life as quickly as possible. Program budgets should anticipate this need.

Photo via PJ Aranador blog.

Temporary tent shelters for homeless victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in Estancia, Iloilo.

11. Consider reusing and recycling temporary housing components for permanent houses to be built in the future components such as well-maintained sanitary and kitchen facilities can be reused in new reconstructed houses; good-quality materials such as steel beams can be reused also.

12. Consider the overall development concerns and priorities of your organization

Most organizations involved in reconstruction activities have internal guidelines and standards for their activities, including environmental policies. Ensuring that your organization development goals, procedures and priorities are integrated into your project from the start can help to align projects with sustainable reconstruction objectives and avoid unnecessary costs.

13. Follow principles of bio-climatic and adaptable design

Buildings should be designed to be thermally comfortable in their climate zone with no or minimal need for mechanical heating, cooling or ventilation. Buildings should also be designed to enable occupants to modify or “tune” their buildings to suit their particular functional requirements. Adaptable design enables this by, for example, promoting strong structural design with flexible interior space-planning.

Coron_Picking up the piecies

What is your local government doing about climate change? Demand good governance. LGUs must implement their Disaster Risk Reduction Management & Local Climate Change Adaptation Plan. https://sstdi.org/tag/disaster-preparedness/

 

Source: Principles of sustainable reconstruction
An excerpt from UNEP Sustainable Building & Climate Initiative
Author: Claudia Schneider
Sustainable Building and Settlement Development Specialist
Skat – Swiss Resource Centre and Consultancies for Development

 

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SST offers TrainingCapacity Building, Educational programs, Green Solutions and Services for public stakeholders: Destinations – LGUs and host communities;  Private stakeholders – Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality, Tour Operators and Businesses with Green Destinations, Global Leaders Program and Green Travel Guide capacity building and solutions to include Environmental Conservation and ComplianceGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the local host community. Waste water (P.T. Amanaid Philippines) and Waste to Energy (W2E) Solutions as well as other green destinations solutions and innovations are now offered to LGUs and tourism industry for law compliance. 

PHOTO CREDITS: Coron photos – Al Linsangan III- Calamianes Expeditions; Estancia photos – Pj Aranador Blogspot.

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