Our Be GREAT (Guard, Respect, Educate Apulit, Taytay) outreach at Palawan State University Taytay marks multiple firsts. It’s our first Be GREAT Beyond Apulit session in the municipality of Taytay. It’s also our first environmental education session aimed at college students. So far, our Be GREEN Beyond El Nido sessions have just involved elementary and high school students from multiple barangays (villages) around El Nido.
On July 24th and 25th, we headed to the PSU Taytay campus for a Be GREAT session with seventy-two 1st to 4th year BS Hospitality Management students. We covered topics similar to those in our Be GREEN staff training sessions. There are five main areas of sustainable practices: biodiversity conservation, ecological solid waste management, water conservation, energy conservation, and environmental legislation. We believe that these are integral, not just to sustainable tourism, but also to all businesses that value sustainable development. After all, the vision of Palawan State University is to “provide excellent and relevant Higher Education for Sustainable Development.” Rightfully so, because Palawan, their home, is the country’s Last Ecological Frontier.
Our session had a more mature tone than our previous experiences with younger students. Discussions delved into the topics of alternative sustainable livelihoods and highlighted the differences between eco-tourism and sustainable tourism. These topics are what they should keep in mind as students who are about to enter the workforce.
This was a good segue to our last topic: how we put our lessons into practice at El Nido Resorts. We showed them how we are Keeping It GREEN at the resorts, emphasizing the importance of putting our values into practice. Having a truly sustainable resort goes beyond facilities like expensive solar panels or sewage treatment plants. It encompasses all aspects of daily operations, from employee training to local community engagement.
Each day was wrapped up with some fun games and friendly competition among the students. Pinoy Henyo (the local version of the popular iPhone game Heads Up!) and charades tested the students’ memories of the terminologies that we discussed. Shrieks of excitement rang throughout the campus as the last few seconds of the timer ran out. The winners were the 4th year students for their outstanding acting and guessing during charades.
At the end of the second day, students signed the pledge tarp with their intentions to incorporate the Be GREEN lessons into their daily lives and their future occupations. Many students expressed hopes of joining the El Nido family one day and being a part of the Be GREEN/GREAT movement too. We hope that these students will eventually spread the principles of sustainable practices and development, whether it be with El Nido Resorts or any other hospitality establishment.
Many thanks to Ms. Joy Hiponia for helping with the planning and coordination of this event.
Gaby Coseteng is an intern for the environment department. She is a rising sophomore at Stanford University and is still undeclared. Gaby is passionate about nature conservation and climate change, and hopes to pursue a career in a related field. She enjoys kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling, especially since El Nido is so beautiful. Gaby is also a big fan of animals, but if she had to choose just one, her spirit animal would be a fur seal because they love to lay out in the sun and eat lots of fish. She’s really happy to be back in the Philippines for the summer and to have the opportunity to learn more about the local environmental situation.