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.
“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.
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.