Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Boracay Island is my home by Jenny Tuazon

I grew up in an island where the white beach was our playground. Today, the threat of climate change is evident and very disturbing for the tourists and more so to the residents of the island. Tourism is our livelihood but with beach erosion and rising sea levels, Boracay will run out of standing. I just can’t sit on the beach and witness the sun setting without getting involved in climate change mitigation. I joined the Boracay Young Professionals, Inc. (Yuppies) and I got more than what I bargained for.

December 2, 2009 – Another accomplished day for Boracay. I was witness to the Greenpeace and Department of Tourism’s “GrEEn Destinations” project that advocates energy efficiency to the resorts in the island. Boracay being the premier tourist destination will be the role model in adopting the energy efficiency initiative. The tourism industry proves to be one of the emerging industries in the country and I’m thankful that the DOT is pushing for such program.

Due to my affiliation with the Yuppies, I got to volunteer for the day’s forum. Initially, my task was with the registration and eventually led to be of assistance in providing a free flowing presentation for the speakers. It was an important task indeed since I get to listen to the presentation and also because I was in front. Ms. Beng Ong, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Energy Efficiency Campaigner, presented the “Save the Climate, Save Boracay” project and Mr. Mark Dia, Deputy Campaign Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, presented on climate change as seen today. Architect Mike Guerrero of the Green Architecture Advocacy of the Philippines provided several options on energy efficiency for the resorts. He had a lot of interesting facts pointed out, those that we often neglect such as the basics of allowing light to our buildings.

Activities in the afternoon proved to be interesting too. Several resorts in the island including Shangri-la Boracay gave a presentation on their energy efficient measures. Discovery shores’ presentation also included a lecture on climate change noting their participation is key to Boracay’s success on solid waste management as well. Willy’s Beach Resort pointed out that long before the Greenpeace organization became a household name, their resort have been practicing measures to lower their energy costs. The representative seemed to be overwhelmed that he forgot to mention the most salient point of using solar energy in their resort. The most impressive presentation of that afternoon’s event came from the Zuzuni Boutique Hotel. For a small and new hotel to practice energy efficiency is laudable. Issues were raised to Engr. Ricardo Ileto of AKELCO with regards to the fluctuating energy and its effect on energy costs. The day went on without the largest resorts in attendance: Fairways and Bluewater and Regency Boracay to name a few. I hope the message their sending is not what I had in mind.

“You Turn The Earth” turnover ceremony with Atty Ma. Victoria Jasmin of the DOT Office of Tourism Standards, Boracay Foundation president Loubelle Cann and Bohol Tourism Council Atty. Lucas Nunag marked the end of the days’ activity.

More than what the program did was a chance for me to meet and bond with the organizers: noble persons in the like of Clem, Danny, Jeffrey and as well as some of the local DOT staff. The island should be packed with individuals similar to our goals.

Marlo Schoenenberger, RN
Boracay Young Professionals, Inc. (Boracay Yuppies)

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