As is the tradition of giving thanks for the harvest, a hotel’s celebration of Mid-Autumn Festival is a thanksgiving for Filipino women championing sustainability in their respective fields.
“We are turning the spotlight on the Filipino’s harvest of bountiful produce, born from the nation’s hard work and ingenuity,” said Conrad Manila general manager and sustainability advocate Linda Pecoraro at the launch of the hotel’s Mid-Autumn Festival event, themed “Harvest”.
Despite the challenges the pandemic brought to the hospitality industry, Pecoraro said Conrad Manila had “a good harvest season”. She said, “We did it with the strength of our corporate vision to spread the warmth and light of hospitality, and with our passion to make a difference in the market we serve.”
The awardees, dubbed Women Champions of Sustainability, served as an inspiration for the five-star seaside hotel, according to its general manager.
“All of the ladies have the same belief of sustainability as Conrad Manila, so it was a very easy choice for us,” Pecoraro added.
Pecoraro, together with director of operations Emile Otte, commercial director Michael Albaña, and F&B director Ben Nicholas, awarded, in a virtual event, House deputy speaker Rep. Loren Legarda.
The journalist-turned-political leader is noted for her work on women’s and children’s rights, Philippine culture, and the environment. She authored, among others, the Climate Change Law, the Environmental Awareness Education Act, and the Clean Air Act.
But at the end of the day, Legarda said, the laws must be “mainstreamed” to make a difference. She said, “We must institutionalize waste segregation, composting, and recycling. It’s good for the pocket, good for the health, good for the environment.”
Sustainability, she clarified, does not mean “everything should be bamboo”, albeit using it as an alternative will help. “Programs are in place and it would be great if institutions can mainstream them as well,” said Legarda, a 2001 United Nations Environment Programme Laureate and a UN Global Champion for Resilience in 2015, among other recognitions.
Pecoraro said sustainability measures in place at the “eco-conscious Hilton property” amid a plastic-ridden pandemic included using bamboo utensils for their takeaway food and beverage products. “As for plastics,” she added, “we still use a little bit of plastic because of safety factors”.
Also recognized for championing sustainability was Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat. Deemed the hospitality industry’s driver on its journey towards recovery, her work focuses on the development of areas supporting sustainable tourism, increasing investments in the sector, and enhancing programs for tourism infrastructure.
Pasay City Mayor Imelda “Emi” Calixto-Rubiano was also awarded for her efforts in health, infrastructure, diversity and inclusion, and empowering persons with disability.
DFA Ladies Foundation chairperson Maria Lourdes Locsin’s promotion of Filipino indigenous fashion, heritage cuisines, and visual arts earned her a place in Conrad Manila’s list of sustainability champions.
Mons Romulo, Katutubo PH founder, rounded off the list for promoting local products on her platform as well as championing children’s rights against abuse and providing healthcare for cancer victims.
Each woman sustainability champion was presented with Conrad Manila’s limited edition bag designed by Zarah Juan and made from upcycled wood by community artisans from Paete, Laguna.
Called Harvest, each bag features an embroidery depicting the traditional barong fabric with an intricate design of rice grains. It comes in luscious red and coral tan. The bag packs four mooncakes – including the new Baked Fragrant Pandan with Taro Black Gold Charcoal Mooncake – by executive Chinese chef Eng Yew Khor of China Blue by Jereme Leung.