Planting the Seeds of Change – Uplifting the Local Communities One Project at a Time

As Club Paradise Palawan completely recognizes its role in caring for the community where it belongs, it has identified certain socio-economic challenges of its community, Coron and Busuanga, that it had been addressing for the past years. These include water pollution and solid waste disposal (as reported in the 2018 article on Government Agencies Join Forces to Resolve Coron’s Environmental Problems published by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources), as well as the rising issues on health & wellness, poverty (based on the 2018 Poverty Statistics Survey), and education ( as a evidenced by the high out-of-school children in Mimaropa where Palawan is located, based on the Barriers and bottlenecks to school attendance: An update study of Philippine Institute of Development Studies).

METHODS, STEPS, AND TOOLS APPLIED

In 2017, the resort established its EcoConserve Program which focused on environment sustainability, to help rebuild, protect, and conserve nature. It formed a team that formulated and executed preservation projects within the resort, which eventually expanded to the communities in Maricaban, Decalachao, San Jose, Decabobo, Sitio Bucatan, Cheey, and Sitio Camanga near Club Paradise Palawan. The team then zeroed in on four key social needs covering livelihood, education, health & wellness and environment. It also now rebuilds, protects and conserves the communities around the resort.

The team has met regularly since 2017 to discuss prevalent issues of its community and thought of ways on how the resort can seed impactful programs that can grow and contribute to creating solutions on the identified problems, as well as operate sustainably.

  1. Water Pollution and Waste Disposal
    Coron, being one of the main tourist destinations in the country, has seen a rise in the problems on water pollution and waste disposal management. Being good stewards of Dimakya island, home of Club Paradise Palawan, the resort employees are actively involved in regular coastal clean-up activities. In March 2017, part of its Earth Hour event was a marine and coastal clean-up in the neighboring Diatoy island. In July of the same year, the resort joined the local government of Coron, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, and other coastal barangays in a municipality-wide coastal clean-up activity. The activity had the theme: 4K Kamalayan sa Kahandaan, Katumbas ay Kaligtasan (Awareness on Readiness is Equivalent to Safety), which opened the doors for a monthly coastal clean-up in Dimakya, Malpagalen and Diatoy islands.

In September 2017, the resort joined the International Coastal Cleanup Day activity which focused on Barangays Maricaban and Decalachao together with the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) 406.2 division, Barangay Decalachao officials, members of ECO Farm and River House, Club Paradise Divers, as well as teachers and students from Decalachao National High School. The resort has religiously conducted beach clean-ups to date. This also ensures the safety of the Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles that use the beach as a nesting site with about 200 baby turtles being released back into the ocean every year – a true testament to the resort’s commitment to keep the ecological balance of the island.

In 2019, Club Paradise Palawan launched a water saving and reduction of single use plastic program. Turning pollution into solution, Club Paradise Palawan embarked on the Eco-brick Project, that transform discarded plastic into building materials called “Eco-bricks.” In 2019, these units were used to build plant terraces and a Vermi house (for African Night Crawlers) in the resort’s Taranuman Farm. The eco-bricks were also used to construct plant holders, tables and chairs which were donated to nearby schools.

2. Education

Education is one of the major socio-economic concerns that the resort found very important to address and has created several initiatives to help students and schools in the area. In 2013, Club Paradise Palawan initiated the Discovery Model Student Program wherein the resort recognized and awarded top performing students of 8 schools across four different barangays in Coron every year:

1. San Jose Elementrary School
2. Maricaban Elementary School
3. Decabobo Elementary School
4. Sitio Bucatan Elementary School
5. Decalachao Elementary
6. Decalachao National High School
7. Cheey Elementary School
8. Cheey National High School

Each of the school’s valedictorian and salutatorian were awarded with cash gifts, which their families were able to use to help support the educational needs of these stellar students. This program aims to motivate children in the receipients schools to study harder and be the next valedicatorian and salutatorian of their graduationg class.

In July 2017, Club Paradise Palawan helped out in the roof installation in the elementary school of Sitio Camanga.
In May 2019, the resort launched a three-day Brigada Eskuela (School Brigade) activity which included cleaning of classrooms, painting of the school walls and benches, as well as cleaning of the school grounds of Decabobo Elementary School, Decalachao High School, and San Jose Elementary School. Also, throughout 2019, the resort conducted school supplies donations per quarter. Moreover, during the resort’s Family Day in the same year, 107 children were given school supplies

3. Poverty

As poverty is one of the prime problems of the families in the community of Coron and Busuanga, Club Paradise Palawan supported these families by sourcing out ingredients or materials from them, which in turn provided them with a steady source of livelihood.

In January 2019, the resort tapped the residents of Barangay Cheey in Busuanga to make Virgin Coconut Oil for the resort which was used for the spa treatments at the Glow Spa.

The following month, the resort started involving the women of the indigenous group, Tagbanua Community in San Jose, Coron, and taught them how to make welcome bracelets for guests. At the end of 2019, participants from the Samahan ng Kababaihang Tagbaunua ng San Jose were able to produce a total of 6,901 bracelets. These two initiatives not only provided a source of regular income for the residents in the community, but it also provided an all-natural, additive-free local products for the resort to use which also reduced the resort’s carbon footprint.

4. Health and Wellness

Due to poverty and lack of access to supplies, health and wellness are also two major concerns among the families in the Club Paradise Palawan’s immediate community. To answer the needs of these families, the resort launched several medical missions in the neighboring barangays:

    • March 2017 – Medical Assistance & Soup Kitchen for residents in Barangay Cheey in Busuanga by the Resort Physician Dr. Charmaine Callanga, with Philippine Red Cross certified first aiders, the Philippine Coast Guard 406.2 Auxiliary
    • March 2018 – “Together for Water” in Sitio Camanga, Coron, with NGO Waves for Water Philippines gave this community the much-needed access to clean water through the use of Sawyer water filtration buckets. This helped in proper hydration and in the reduction of water-borne diseases like diarrhea and cholera. The team demonstrated and distributed 60 water filters to the community of 280 people, mostly Tagbanua, the indigenous people of Palawan.
    • July 2018 – medical assistance and medical supplies to 147 patients, Sitio Camanaga in Coron led by Resort Physician Dr. Faith Ronolo with the Philippine Coast Guard 406.2 Auxiliary & Philippine Red Cross certified first aiders
    • April 2019. – Post implementation and house-to-house visit for the “Together for Water” program at Sitio Camanga. Out of 51 households surveyed, 100% declared that the donated buckets were still being used.
    • March 2020 to 2021. In spite of the ongoing pandemic, Club Paradise Palawan, initiated a gift box donation called “Box of Love.” The donations consisted of facemasks, medical supplies, linens, and school supplies for the Coron District Hospital, the Philippine Red Cross, PNP Maritime & Philippine Army and elementary and secondary schools in San Jose, Decabobo

KEY SUCCESS FACTORS:

With the help of employees, the management, the municipal government and the community, Club Paradise Palawan was able to achieve multiple projects in the different neighboring barangays because of:

  • Cooperation and openness of the community and its leaders to the ideas and projects of Club Paradise Palawan:
    •  All activities and programs of the resort were well received by the local communities. The resort saw an active participation from the families involved.
  • Training:
    •  Training was provided to the families and women in the communities for the livelihood projects, thus were able to come up with quality products that can be used in the resort.
  • The students (Discovery Model Student) saw the value of education:
    • The valedictorians and salutatorians who were awarded appreciated the importance and got motivated in exceling in their studies and how it will ultimately benefit them now and in the long run.
  • Staff involvement opened their eyes to the needs of the community.
    • The Community Outreach programs of the resort has created a deeper sense of commitment among the management and staff. The employees have since cultivated volunteerism and have come to understand the importance of the contributions that they can make to help improve the lives of the local people.
  • Impact on the Tagbanua Indigenous People
    • The native community and the local government see the positive contributions of the resort and its employees. There is a sense of family solidarity in the community where genuine care and concern is predominant.
  • Support from the stakeholders:
    • Creating a company culture that puts great importance on outreach activities of the company is a key ingredient in a having a successful and robust community outreach program. Because of this, resources, time and effort are properly allocated to these activities.

LESSONS LEARNED: 

In the earlier years, time constraint was the biggest challenge that the resort management and staff encountered in the execution of the programs due to busy daily work schedules. However, with proper planning and reassessment of the resort’s operational trends, community outreach activities were still achieved and executed well throughout the years.

Also, another big challenge was the 2020-21 pandemic as the projects were put on hold due to several lockdowns. The resort was also closed for a few months and then was on limited operations on other months, inadequate resources and manpower made a setback on the projects.

However, the resort found ways to still give to the surrounding communities, more appropriate to the current situation. Through the resort’s Box of Love campaign, Club Paradise Palawan was still able to assist, this time, the frontliners and those in need of medical care. Moreover, on months when the resort was on limited operations, new and old employees were constantly being trained with service standards, especially health and safety protocols as well as community outreach activities and programs.

RESULTS, ACHIEVEMENTS, AND RECOGNITIONS:

  • Water Pollution and Waste Disposal
    • 2019 Beach Clean-up Report:
      •  Total of 41.1 kgs of trash collected. Unusual items collected were plastic bottles from Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
      • Composition of Trash collected: 3.4 % tires, 24.18 % foam, 9.08 % can, 21.38 % plastic bottles, 16.41 % other plastics, 16.24%  rubber and 9.28 % electrical materials
    • 2022 Beach Clean-up Report:
      • Total of 19.5 kgs of trash collected
      • Composition of trash collected: 7.69% rope, 35.90% plastic bottles, 5.12% can, 20.51% plastic sack, 15.38% plastic and foam packaging, 15.38% styro
  • Livelihood
    • Virgin Coconut Oil project that was started in 2018 with the residents of Baragay Cheey in Busuanga generated 151 bottles of oil in 2018, 193 bottles in 2019, 31 bottles in 2020, 31 bottles in 2021 and 46 bottles from Jan to April in 2022
    • Welcome bracelets program that was initiated in 2019 with the Tagbanua Community in Barangay San Jose produced 1,097 bracelets in 2021 and 4,999 bracelets in the first quarter of 2022.
  • Education – yearly Discovery Model Student campaign:
    • The prize money awarded to the top 2 students of the graduating class were used in the tuition fees and academic supplies and tools of the participating students. In 2022, Club Paradise Palawan was awarded with a Certificate of Appreciation by the Bucatan Elementary school for its unwavering support to the school’s activities (photo link)
  • Heath & Wellness
    • Box of Love donation (program initiated because of the pandemic)
    •  May 2020: used linens and old mattresses to PNP Maritime and Phil Army
    • July 2020: cloth facemasks given to the Sanguniang Baranggay in Decalachao
    • July 2020: linens for the typhoon and flood victims in the communities in Cagayan de Oro
    • January and May 2021: blankets, towels, eco bags and used clothes to the victims of PGH Fire thru Phil Red Cross
    • June 2021: Neck immobilizers, syringe, and other medical supplies to Coron District Hospital
    • November 2021: bond papers for the modular learning program of elementary and secondary schools in Barangays San Jose and Decabobo

*There were several lockdowns imposed by the government from 2020 to 2021 which restricted some of the established programs of the resort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • THE BEST! This is great for couples. It’s small and quiet with a beautiful beach. My girlfriend and I had the beach all to ourselves! For such an amazing beach that surprised me!”

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  • THE PERFECT GETAWAY! As it is being handled by Discovery Hotels, we expected it to be excellent and that is what we got. We booked a sea view cottage which had a beautiful view of the sunrise.”

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