Conrad Manila recently recognized six outstanding Filipinos as “Champions of Sustainability” for their commitment and meaningful contribution to the social, environmental and commercial welfare of various communities. The hybrid recognition was held in celebration of the coming Mid-Autumn Festival, themed “Prosperity,” as an homage to the awardees’ accomplishments in line with the hotel’s “Travel with Purpose” advocacy.
Conrad Manila’s general manager Linda Pecoraro, who is committed to spotlighting the Philippines on a global stage, shared that the six awardees are all inspirations for their sustainability endeavors.
“They all represent prosperity, through inspiring others and contributing to various sustainable endeavors throughout the country. They have shown how we can all be purposive now and in the future. We celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival or Lunar Reunion through Filipino elements and Chinese traditions,” she says.
The Champions of Sustainability are Mayor Lucy Torres Gomez , DOT Secretary Cristina Garvia Frasco, Joanne Rae Ramirez, Ann Dumaliang, Ana Patricia Non, Illac Diaz, and Leeroy New.
Lucy Torres Gomez is the newly elected mayor of the City of Ormoc, Leyte, after serving as Congresswoman of Leyte. As the chairperson of the House committee on tourism she filed House Bill No. 7229 seeking to integrate and establish pertinent policies and regulations to ensure sustainability in the tourism industry. She also led the protection and restoration of the Banaue Rice Terraces; 6200: Mission Possible Project of Leyte IV, and supported relief efforts, boosted tourism, and adopted sustainability principles.
Joanne Rae Ramirez is an award-winning journalist and editor of People Asia Magazine, founder of People of the Year Awards, Men Who Matter Awards, Women of Style and Substance Awards, which continue to have an outstanding impact on industry leaders to steer sustainable economic growth in their respective fields. She served at Malacañang as editor of the Presidential Press Staff during former President Corazon Aquino’s term. Joanne is a respected professional and zealous advocate sustainable tourism. Her body of works reflects a genuine passion for re-purposing, re-inventing, re-aligning lives for the betterment of sustainable communities.
Ana Patricia Non is a household name, an entrepreneur whose operations were also challenged by the pandemic. She is the founder of the Community Pantry and a US Ambassador’s Woman of Courage Awardee. The Maginhawa Community Pantry initiative sparked a nationwide movement in 2021 amid hardships and quarantine restrictions. From a bamboo cart along Maginhawa Street, she has inspired many Filipinos to open community pantries and share everything sustainable that can help the underprivileged.
Ann Dumaliang is a managing trustee of the Masungi Georeserve, a conservationist and geo-tourism advocate working in the mountains of the Philippines. Masungi Georeserve Foundation focuses on using geo-tourism and the geo-park model as a bottoms-up guide to conservation, development, and aiding rural growth. Masungi, a 450-hectare land, was damaged and depleted because of quarrying and deforestation. Ann and her sister Billie fought it out in protecting the land against illegal quarries and loggers while educating the community and benefiting the local economy. Today, Masungi has transformed into a model for privately driven conservation, sustainable reforestation, and geotourism.
Illac Diaz is the founder and executive director of Liter of Light Foundation, a non-governmental organization that advocates for sustainable energy while providing its own lighting solutions to communities to combat energy poverty. Liter of Light started in Tacloban after the super typhoon Yolanda and expanded locally and towards international recognition that sprouted lighting projects in multiple communities around the world. To date, Liter of Light has helped over 382,000 Filipinos and 690,000 people throughout the world to get out of energy poverty.
Leeroy New is a multi-awarded sculptor, street artist, and a practitioner of what is called “applied sculpture” for the environment. He challenges us to think about the waste produced from everyday materials by constructing elaborate sculptures out of discarded plastics. Leeroy’s large-scale works are made by cutting, twisting, and tying together found objects like water jugs, film reels, tubes, and bottles into forms that evoke a sense of movement or migration.
Pecoraro, was joined by Conrad Manila’s executives Yogeswaran Veerasarmy, director of operations, and Michael Albaña, commercial director. They were also joined virtually by guests of honor Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco and Peggy Angeles, executive vice president at SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation.
The launch’s highlight was the official unveiling of Conrad Manila’s innovative Mid-Autumn Prosperity handcrafted bags, which was presented to each Champion of Sustainability. It is the brainchild of the Conrad Manila team together with Filipina artisan Reese Fernandez Ruiz of Rags2Riches. Each “Lunar Prosperity” bag, which comes in two signature colors—Periwinkle Blue and Coral—is packed with the hotel’s signature Mooncakes specially prepared by executive chef Eng Yew Khor of China Blue by Jereme Leung and his staff.