It’s not everyday that we get the chance to actively participate in an eco-friendly activity, no matter how we want to support the cause. Most of you are probably thinking of joining these initiatives as well but don’t have the luxury of time or maybe don’t have the right access or network that will connect you to specific groups responsible for these kinds of initiatives.
I am fortunate enough that our company is committed to working with local communities for sustainable development and growth. Sofitel Manila, as part of AccorHotels, is continuously working hard to support sustainability as part of its Planet 21 program. Our talent and culture department has initiated a Mangrove Planting activity last 7th of April 2017, asking participation of volunteer employees to help plant mangrove propagules in two coastal areas in Calatagan, Batangas.
At first, I was hesitant to sign up because I haven’t really tried planting mangroves or even a tree before. But then, I thought that aside from this being one of my first-time experiences, it’s for a good cause and I’ll have the chance to meet my co-ambassadors from different departments. So I signed up with a friend and teammate even though I had this fear of deep water and encountering sea predators etc.
The meeting place was in Sofitel Manila and we took a shuttle bus that was able to accommodate the whole group: 16 ambassadors plus two representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Travel time from Manila to Batangas took almost 3 hours (so we took advantage of that and slept for 3 hours as the call time was too early in the morning). When we got off the bus, we had a 15-minute walk going to Villa Aurea.
We arrived around 12nn so we had lunch first with the whole crew. I enjoyed the food so much thinking that I would just burn all the calories away when I get back to Manila. There was a brief orientation facilitated by the DENR representative right after lunch, and after resting for half an hour, our adventure bagan.
We were divided into two groups, each group consists of eight people plus 3-4 locals. Team 1 headed to Barangay Talisay, while our group, headed to Barangay Gulod. We had a 15-minute jeepney ride and a 10-minute boat ride to go the area where we planted more than a thousand mangrove propagules.
The activity lasted for more than 2 hours and we were able to get back to Villa Aurea past 4pm. The whole Sofitel team aimed and was able to plant more than 2000. Kudos to the whole crew for the job well done!
Dinner and breakfast (on the next day) were like a feast for kings and queens. Was not able to take so much photos of the food because everything happened so fast 🙂 We left the place at 9am with good memories and stories to tell. Hope I’d be able to come back after 3 years when the propagules would finally have leaves, and after 20 years when the plants would eventually become mangrove trees.
Key Takeaway: It will take a lot of patience before we get to see the fruits of our labor, but great things do take time.