Sewage Treatment Plant
El Nido Resorts operates a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant (STP) combined with native reed bed filters. This ensures that no raw sewage and grey water are discharged into sea. Treated water is utilized in flushing toilets, watering the plants, and supplying fire hydrants. This directly reduces consumption of water, which otherwise have to be produced through energy-intensive desalination processes or sourced in the region’s water sources.
Materials Recovery Facility
Solid wastes go through strict segregation before reaching the resort’s full cycle materials recovery facility (MRF). The MRF receives recyclable and organic wastes from the resorts and is looked after by the Garden Department. After segregation, the recyclable waste is stored in holding bins for pick-up by a local junk shop dealer for recycling, while the organic waste is composted onsite and later packed for use in the resort gardens or organic farms in El Nido mainland. Recognizing the negative impact of using non-recyclable wastes, El Nido Resorts implemented a refillable drinking water system in 2008 to try to eliminate the purchase of bottled waters during activities. The Kitchen Department also implemented its own refilling system, whereas instead of buying cooking oils in new containers, they just send the old containers to the supplier for a refill.
El Nido Resorts operates a rainwater catchment system to capture, filter, and store rainwater for use in the guest rooms and staff quarters. Water saving devices such as low-flow showerheads and low-flush toilets are also in place.
There is a very limited supply of fresh water in island resorts. El Nido Resorts operates a desalination plant to convert salt water into fresh water suitable for human consumption. The desalination plant enables us to avoid depleting mainland water sources and competing with local communities for water supply.
All bulbs were replaced with Compact Flourescent Light (CFL) in 2008. Guest rooms were also fitted with energy efficient water heater, and designed in such a way to optimize natural lighting. Solar panels are installed at the Deluxe Water Cottages of Miniloc Island Resort, and at Entalula Beach Club and Dibuluan Beach Club in El Nido, both operated by El Nido Resorts. El Nido Resorts observes the global initiative Earth Hour every March by turning off all non-essential lights at the resorts for 1-hour. As an offshoot of Earth Hour, El Nido Resorts has gone further to celebrate Eco-Hour every full moon during the summer months of March to May. The energy savings from the 1-hour electricity shutdown is used to purchase seedlings from Island Transvoyager Inc.’s Carbon Offsetting Program, to be planted in the El Nido watershed.
Low Impact and Sustainable Guest Experiences
El Nido and Taytay are areas of undoubtedly high biodiversity. El Nido Resorts is committed to promoting nature-based activities that showcase yet protect the richness of this biodiversity. Only low impact activities are offered to guests. There are no jet-skis and other motorized marine sports equipment. Marine sports guides accompany guests to supervise the activities, provide nature interpretation, and ensure guests don’t disturb or damage the environment. The resorts also started using eco-friendly boat engines in 2006 and are continuously upgrading engine maintenance systems to help minimize the negative effects brought about by carbon monoxide emission. El Nido Resorts only serves sustainable menus. The resorts no longer purchase grouper, as there has been an observable decline in their local population. Locally and organically produced vegetables comprise 60% of total kitchen purchases, while locally reared livestock comprise 90% of total kitchen purchases. Women from several barangays (villages) in El Nido have also been trained in weaving to produce native bags and slippers that are purchased by the resort. These local bags and slippers are given complimentary to guests as part of the El Nido Resorts experience.
Nature Conservation and Protection
El Nido Resorts embraces its leadership role in nature conservation, being the largest employer in the municipality and operating in small islands within the Protected Area. We work closely with the community and local government in areas requiring much support, such as in the prevention of illegal fishing, coral and reef fish assessments, environmental education campaigns, and more.
El Nido Resorts launched El Nido Biodiversity Online, a database of El Nido’s flora and fauna, in 2008. The database contains datasheets and photos of the plants and animals found in El Nido, where they are seen, and when.
Aside from the participation of guests and staff in monitoring wildlife, the academe is also involved. El Nido Resorts supports scientific studies on the flora and fauna of El Nido by providing board and lodging, boats, equipment (e.g. dive gear), and personnel to visiting researchers. Examples of studies conducted are the reef fish surveys by Dr. Gerry Allen and Dr. Mark Erdmann and carrying capacity of dive sites by Dr. Lyndon deVantier and Mr. Emre Turak.
Marine Ecosystems Preservation and Protection
Marine Turtle Conservation Program
All marine turtles found in the waters of El Nido and Taytay are endangered. At least five species of turtles are known to nest in some of El Nido’s beaches.El Nido Resorts champions the conservation of endangered sea turtles, with tag-and-release programs in cooperation with the Protected Area Office, and hatchling releases from nests safeguarded by resort staff.
To further educate guests, El Nido Resorts offers a Turtle Tracking Tour during the hatching season. This tour provides guests with the opportunity to track the gentle sea turtles in their natural habitat, participate in turtle releases, and learn about turtle biology and our hatchery program.
Lagen Island Resort has consistently supported and participates in eco-events such as International Coastal Clean-up Day, World Ocean Day, and Earth Day and has chosen to make coastal clean-up a regular activity, clearing beaches of marine debris twice monthly.
Installation of Eco-reefs at Tres Marias
In April 2006, El Nido Resorts partnered with the local community and El Nido Foundation, Inc. (ENF) in the installation of EcoReef artificial reef modules in Tres Marias, a former dive site devastated by illegal fishing, coral bleaching, and typhoons. El Nido is only the 2nd in the world to receive the ceramic modules, after Bunaken National Park in Indonesia.
Installation of Mooring Bouys
To prevent anchor damage on coral reefs, El Nido Resorts’ Dive Team installed (and maintains) mooring buoys in 21 sites around Bacuit Bay. These are especially important in high-traffic areas such as the Small Lagoon and South Miniloc.
Protection of Giant Clams
El Nido Resorts transplanted giant clams to the front reef of Miniloc Island Resort and Lagen Island Resort from different parts of Bacuit Bay, where these endangered species are harvested indiscriminately.
El Nido Marine Monitoring Task Force
The waters of El Nido are constantly under threat from various illegal activities. El Nido Resorts patrols the waters of Bacuit Bay and coordinates with local authorities in apprehending violators. Participation in the Marine Monitoring Task Force means extending more assistance in terms of logistics, drafting ordinances and lobbying for penal provisions both in the Protected Area Management Board and the Municipal Legislative Body.
Building Sustainable Communities
Our eco-resorts on Miniloc Island and Lagen Island in El Nido and Apulit Island in Taytay have been “good neighbors” by building mutually beneficial partnerships with key stakeholders; promoting responsible tourism principles in community and provincial tourism planning; enjoying community support and high morale of staff; and providing guests with unforgettable cultural experiences with local staff in a beautiful setting.
Employment and Livelihood Opportunities for the Local Community
Through creation of meaningful employment opportunities and the commitment to hire and promote locally, the people of El Nido and Taytay have a viable option to earn a decent living and stay in their own community. Scheduled trainings are offered to the local community to improve the skill set for potential employees not just for the resort, but also for other smaller tourist cottages in the area. Since 2005, resort supervisors have been training local people for basic skills in the areas of food & beverage, housekeeping, and kitchen. Working with professional trainers, local women are trained to become massage therapists. Over the years, banca owners from town have been regularly providing the transportation needs of El Nido Resorts guests.
Patronizing Local Products
Women from several barangays (villages) in El Nido have also been trained in weaving to produce native bags and slippers that are purchased by the resorts. The bags and slippers are given as complimentary room amenities, thereby ensuring ongoing demand.
El Nido Resorts tries to keep on reducing food miles by sourcing locally. Locally and organically produced vegetables comprise 60% of total kitchen purchases, while locally reared livestock comprise 90% of total kitchen purchases.
Annually, El Nido Resorts arranges Sea Scouts training for both staff and the community. A Sea Scouts certificate assists individuals seeking employment in the maritime industry. Increasing the local pool of Sea Scouts enhances the largely coastal community’s ability to respond to accidents. El Nido Resorts doctors augment the services of the lone Municipal Health Officer in El Nido, bringing healing and health education to the various villages at least twice a week. Resort doctors also render free services on the annual Mass Blood Donation Program of the Philippine Red Cross in El Nido. Staff are willing donors, making El Nido Resorts one of the biggest contributors in Palawan. El Nido Resorts’ 1.5-hectare organic farm in El Nido serves as demonstration site for locals to help improve the quality of their produce for long-term sustainability. Instead of using chemicals as fertilizer, composted biodegradable wastes of El Nido Resorts are used here. It also demonstrates the rearing of “Happy Pigs,” leaner pigs that feed on vegetables and effective microorganisms. Local farmers are welcome to learn about the technique so the resort can purchase locally and organically produced vegetables and meat from them in the future.
The Be G.R.E.E.N. (Guard, Respect, Educate El Nido) training program, in place since 2007, trains all staff on: ecological waste management; water, energy, and biodiversity conservation; and environmental laws. To encourage the staff to apply what they’ve learned in the seminars, “Pa-Berdehan: The El Nido Resorts Eco Challenge,” a company-wide competition for environmentally friendly initiatives, was established in 2007. Since then, innovative work practices have been developed and implemented, such as patronizing cooking oil retailers with reusable containers (initiated by the Purchasing department), and limiting the running time of air conditioning units without sacrificing guest comfort (initiated by the Engineering department). The Environment Department conducts yearly Nature Interpretation training seminars for the Marine Sports Guides and other staff who wish to attend.
Guests are reminded and encouraged to conserve our natural resources. The company’s Environmental Code of Conduct called “Ten El-NiDos” is provided in each room to remind guests about the environmentally sensitive Protected Area and the appropriate behavior to ensure conservation. Guests are actively discouraged from touching the animals, whether on land or underwater. Collecting shells, corals, starfish, and other animals is not allowed and is specifically stated in our welcome message. Guests are likewise informed of the Conservation Fees that the Resorts collect and remit to the Protected Area Office. El Nido Resorts also strives to be an industry leader by creating opportunities to be studied by numerous tourism practitioners. By participating in various eco-events, we are able to share best practices for others to follow.