By Sara Grace C. Fojas
Images by Ali Vicoy
Video by David Clarence Rivera
Before they scrambled for a place to buy the prettiest bouquet of roses and headed to church to get ashes on their foreheads, employees of The Manila Hotel checked in to work early on Valentine’s Day, but not to attend to their guests.
They’ll have more time for their guests and their relationship obligations and spiritual responsibilities for the rest of the day, but now, at 7 a.m. they’re planting trees to show their love for Mother Earth.
Entitled “The Manila Hotel Loves Earth, Love Life,” the corporate social responsibility project encompasses the hotel’s commitment to do its part in advocating the planting of trees to save the environment and to contribute to a greener Manila.
“This is the ‘Love Earth, Love Life’ project of The Manila Hotel, just in time for the Valentine’s Day celebration. This is in keeping with our corporate social responsibility that The Manila Hotel is opted to help protecting our environment. This is our way of saying that we are also committed to help solve the climate change problem that confronts the world today, which has caused a lot of disasters and resulted in the loss of lives and properties in many parts of the world,” says lawyer Joey Lina, president of The Manila Hotel.
The project kicked off at The Manila Hotel’s grounds, which covers the planting of over a hundred young trees of various varieties such as balai lamok, ylang ylang, banaba, Palawan cherry blossom, and golden showers at the hotel’s periphery near its main entrance on Katigbak Drive, just across Rizal Park and proximate to the Quirino Grandstand. This busy thoroughfare traversed by cars and passersby is a place of wellness and recreation where joggers and exercise enthusiasts are a common sight.
“It has always been the management’s mandate to make The Manila Hotel play a significant role in community building. Being proximate to areas like the Rizal Park where people converge, we want to be able to provide a more conducive environment and promote the well-being of Manila residents and habitués, as well as our guests. In order to achieve this, we need to plant trees and we have to start from home,” says Lina.
The tree-planting campaign will soon extend to nearby communities. As part of the next phase of growth, the hotel will be working with the Manila City’s government to identify these key areas of development and determine how best they could work together.
“We have to plant trees to make sure that oxygen and clean air [are] still available for us to breathe. This is our way for saying that we will help protect the environment by planting trees,” he says.
The iconic hotel by the bay was built in 1912 and touted as the “Grand Dame,” for the grandeur of its history. Throughout the years, its story keeps getting richer and richer.
Defined by its history, elegance, and world class service, The Manila Hotel maintains to be the hotel of choice of the most distinguished clientele, having hosted Manila’s illustrious set, heads of state, foreign dignitaries, royals, and international celebrities. The hotel continuously provides the best services and amenities for a truly memorable experience.
But its world-class service extends to the environment through proper segregation and environmental practices integral to its over-all operations.
“We make sure that we don’t discharge unclean water or substances to the environment, whether to the sea or to the air. We also require our employees to be in line with environmental protection practices and teach them to segregate their waste, to recycle or reuse it if they can or turn it into a biodegradable material, not just here at the hotel but even in their own respective households,” ends Lina.