This Homegrown Resort Group Marries Science and Arts & Culture for Its Green Initiatives


Climate change has never been more urgent or more real. A few months ago, about a thousand scientists in 25 countries staged protests to call for governments and their leaders to act on addressing the climate and ecological crisis. A video of a NASA climatologist, Peter Kalmus chaining himself to the JP Morgan building in Los Angeles to join the global protest, even went the rounds on social media. The hashtag #LetTheEarthBreathe trended all over the world. But these all seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Bluewater Maribago consults with biological and marine experts for a coral propagation technique which enables recovery of damaged coral reefs 

Photo by Maribago Bluewater .

The Philippines has experienced the effects of climate change firsthand, being constantly exposed to destructive typhoons, with Odette being the most recent and one of the loudest reminders yet of what can happen if we neglect caring for the environment. This is why local businesses should be leading the charge in institutionalizing sustainability and green initiatives. Even if they’re not actively helping solve climate change, they can at least say that they’re not contributing to the further degradation of the planet.


Many resorts, hotels, and other businesses in the hospitality industry are in the frontlines of sustainability efforts. Bluewater Maribago, for instance, is a homegrown resort property group that has properties in Mactan Cebu, Sumilon, and Panglao Island in Bohol, and all are putting a premium on the conservation of natural resources. Esquire Philippines visited the resort in Mactan Cebu and witnessed firsthand the resort’s green initiatives. The property’s green initiatives take shape from the very entrance and extends across the whole vicinity. It has kept trees as much as possible throughout the resort, including a century-old balete tree. Before the pandemic, its investments in natural conservation reached P5 million. 

Broken pieces of coral starting to branch out and encrusting the coral frames

Photo by Maribago Bluewater.

“We want to create a sustainable environment and community wherever a Bluewater Resort is located,” Bluewater Maribago Corporate Marketing Communications Manager Erik Monsanto said. “The main objective is to ensure that we will be able to protect our natural capital which is the beauty of the destination where we built our properties,” he added. “We want our kids and their kids to continue enjoying the natural environment in these locations.” 

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Scientific approach to coral reef ecosystems

BluewaterMaribago has set its sights on a wide range of sustainability campaigns, including those underwater. The property in Mactan, specifically, works with local marine biologists and consultants for the rehabilitation and conservation of coral reefs, especially those that have been damaged by both tourism activities and natural disasters. It replicates a coral propagation technique from Maldives called Coral Frames.

We noticed during our clean-up dives that there are a lot of broken pieces of corals in the area because of unchecked tourism activities, so we take these broken pieces of corals and attach them to our coral frames,” Monsanto said. “In several months you can already notice that these broken pieces are starting to branch out and have encrusted the frame.” 

Arts and culture play a role in sustainability

For its Earth Day celebrations, Bluewater Maribago has been tapping local artists to encourage more people to join the cause. Its three properties have mounted exhibits, organized printmaking, etching and painting workshops, just to name a few.

“It started in 2012 with a goal to drive awareness to the plight of the environment,” Monsanto shared. “During our Earth Day activities we usually invite local artists. Before the pandemic, we would include experiential art installations, music festivals, underwater clean-ups and Pinoy palaro activities which we call Go-Analog Games, where we try to bring back classic Pinoy games like sipa, Chinese garter, sungka, jolens, and tumbang preso.

Maribago Bluewater invites brands, other properties, and government agencies in its activities during Earth Day

Photo by Maribago Bluewater.

Collective efforts 

The resort group envisions a holistic approach to responding to the threat of climate change, welcoming public and private sectors in their advocacy. 

“We welcome the other properties in Cebu to our green initiatives and vice versa,” Monsanto said. “When it comes to sustainability, there’s no competition among hotels and resorts here in Cebu. We see them as partners in making sure that our island remains a sustainable destination in the years to come.” 

For the same purpose, Bluewater Maribago has formed partnerships with the local government and government agencies like the Department of Tourism, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Department of Energy and Natural Resources. 

The property group emphasizes the importance of the little things that contribute to the bigger movement, particularly among its staff members and employees.

Bluewater Maribago preserved this century-old balete tree in its Mactan Cebu property

Photo by Maribago Bluewater.

”They can start from something as simple as turning off the air-conditioning and lights in our offices during breaks,” he said. “Once this becomes a habit, then we can move on to bigger things like reef conservation and regular underwater cleanups of the whole coastline. It is really important to create awareness from within the organization first and ingrain this into the company culture.”


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Roland Jelo Arevalo
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