Malou Pangilinan: One With Nature
Roots and Wings' Rachel Hansen chats with one of the Philippine's most eco-minded entrepreneurs. ECO hotels is an excellent example of a successful combination of sustainability and environment friendly business . Are ECO hotels new in the Philippines? Eco Hotel has been in operation only since March 2015 in our flagship property located in Tagaytay City, a weekend destination popular due to its proximity to Metro Manila. Pre-operation works – conceptualization, design, architecture, training, research and development – began late 2013. Relaxing El Nido-style. What actual measures are being done by your company to protect the planet? Despite being a small yet growing enterprise, we aim for our impact to reach greater heights, however gradually – one employee at a time, one room at a time, one destination at a time, one global guest at a time. To begin with, our hotels are adorned with upcycled articles - plastic spoons, empty bottles, tin cans, foil wraps, calamity stricken felled trees, egg crates, shipping pallets, reclaimed wood, corks. Not to be seen as mere eco-chic adornments, locals from communities where Eco Hotels are developed handcrafted these articles. Consider this the first step to giving back and enriching the community not only by providing employment but also by imparting ecological values to them. Other measures would be the more widespread practices by most green hotels like utilizing solar energy for power supply and water heating, gray water housekeeping applications through rainwater catchments, achieving zero waste by limiting one-time use amenities and waste segregation, driving recyclable initiatives, investing in eco-friendly fixture like inverter cooling systems, installing LED bulbs, and incorporating natural light in its architectural design. Execution of all these is aligned with our aim to preserve the environment – which we later intend to spread to the planet. Repurposed liquor bottles. By being eco-friendly, do you get enough support/endorsement from the decision-makers? The whole concept started from the owners and has entrusted the decision-making process to their management team hence, yes, there is ample support and endorsement. Are Filipinos aware of future problems that will transpire if we do not take good care of our environment? Filipinos are a very clean people. They care for their bodies like a temple. If only there is the same conviction towards the environment, a campaign to save mother earth would have been unheard of. Fortunately, awareness to make environment care second nature is growing and Eco Hotels is there to make our own little contribution to seeing this come alive. Alona, Bohol. What can each and every Filipino contribute to minimize the eminent climate crisis? The most obvious but not exactly the easiest is waste management. Every Filipino must realize the value of keeping the surroundings clean and healthy. The act of throwing garbage in bins seems to be a lesson that needs constant reminding when it should not. It should be innate in every one. This basic trait when achieved, will lead to bigger steps and strides like segregation, composting, carbonless foot printing and the like.