Owner – Diniview Villa Resort
Business Partner – Lemoni Cafe & Restaurant Boracay
President – Friends of the Flying Foxes
Friends of the Flying Foxes is a non-stock, non-profit organization.
Friends of the Flying Foxes is a group of volunteers composed of Boracay residents, wildlife specialists and returning visitors, interested in the preservation of one of the natural treasures of Boracay; the Bats. We are especially concerned with the islands Flying Foxes (Fruit Bats) but also Insect Bats. Our main focus has been to conserve and protect the bats and other wildlife, and the forest they live in, on the northern part of Boracay. In doing so we are also protecting the environment of Boracay and Northwest Panay Peninsula.
Did you know? The Fruit Bats of Boracay are the reason why Boracay is such a green, beautiful island. Fruit Bats stand for 90% of reforestation on cleared land, and people need to learn the importance of our Bats. Fruit Bats regenerate the forests of Boracay, and the Northwest Panay Peninsula, by feeding on and excreting seeds of more than 300 different species of plants. Boracay’s water source comes from the forests in the mainland, which the Flying Foxes re-forest. Insect Bats, which are found in caves, keep the insect population in balance; one Insect Bat can consume 2.000 mosquito-sized insects in a night.
Things you make sure you focus on in your work:
I set aside one day in the week when my focus is on Friends of the Flying Foxes (FFF) and the projects at hand. In that way, I can work in a focused way, and not get distracted. The schedule can change, but it’s important to set time to move forward.
We do activities that will create positive values, awareness and a feeling of ownership among the locals and tourists. Every now and then we do Bat Counts, which tourists and locals can join, and its always nice to connect with people and spread awareness.
Top tip for your Hospitality colleagues:
“Change starts with you, but it only does if you do! “
It sounds easy, but every little step matters, and if we start to care and make a difference in our environment it impacts on our personal life, and in the life we can have; then we can make a big difference in the long run.
We monitor the bats roosting sites, to check for any activities which may cause disruption and disturbance to them. We also do Bat Counts to monitor the colony numbers. Sadly, the numbers of Flying Foxes are dropping dramatically. We present to whichever bodies and organisations, that need to hear about how vital bats are for our eco-system on Boracay. And we often host specialist scientist or wildlife expert visits.
Currently Friends of the Flying Foxes is involved in an ongoing awareness campaign called We are Aware. Where FFF, together with a few other organizations, go round and give presentations about our islands environment and explain why we all need to care about it. We reach out to teach the locals in Boracay and Malay, about the importance of our eco-system from the top of the trees to the bottom of the sea. We cover the importance of our reefs, mangroves, forests and what effects our personal actions can have on thing like waste water and garbage disposal; it’s our island environment that keeps tourist coming back, so what we do on a personal and collective basis matters to our island life.
Inspirations: The beauty and magic of nature.
What’s in your Future?
For years we have been striving to make the forest ridges on the northern part of Boracay, which is the roost sites for our Fruit Bats, a protected area and a critical habitat zone. Our aim is to achieve this!
The forests are disappearing fast in the Philippines, and in Boracay, and it is of utmost important that the remaining beach forests and its threatened, endemic and native wildlife should be protected.
We hope that we can, for once and for all, protect the forests of Boracay and that it will be declared as Critical Habitat zone. That way we can make sure to project the environment of Boracay for us, and our future generations to come. Development can happen hand in hand with nature, and its important that people wake up and realize that we would be nothing without it.
It’s for them, it’s for us, it’s for you!