Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort and Spa opens marine conservation hub
IT’S EASY to get carried away when you’re at the beach. You just want to take it all in—swim to your heart’s content, dive into the sea, frolic in the water.
And with all this beauty around you, it’s easy to lose sight of environmental issues. We forget that many marine species are dying out at an alarming rate because of human activities.
At luxury beach resort 5-star hotel Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu is a six-hectare marine protected sanctuary that is home to a rich and diverse community of marine life. Here, in connection with the sanctuary, a new center—Maco’s Hub-Marine Conservation Kaakohan Center— opened last week. (“Maco” is short for Marine Conservation while ”kaakohan” is a Cebuano word that means “ownership.”)
Located just steps away from the water, the setting is very relaxed: open-sided hut with a thatched roof, repurposed wood, log stools and a display highlighting the sanctuary’s incredible underwater environment.
There are photographs showing the Moorish Idol, Parrot Fish, Blue Sea Star, Titan Triggerfish, Sergeant Major Fish, Giant Clams, Lion Fish and Anemone Fish in their natural habitat—a glimpse of the marine life found in the six-hectare protected area fronting the resort.
While appreciating the photos, guests can sit on stools made of fallen electric posts from super typhoon Yolanda. There’s a small aquarium decorated by a turtle figure made of plastic bottle.
According to marine biologist Lourdes Jimenez, the repurposed and recycled pieces found at the center only proves how many waste items can be reused and turned into useful or decorative items.
During the launch of Maco’s Hub, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa General Manager Rene D. Egle talked about how he envisions having interactive displays, where guests can explore the sanctuary’s marine environment and also their personal roles in protecting our underwater treasures.
“Sometimes when you go to the beach, you will be amazed at what ends up on the shore,” said Egle. “We want to educate especially the young about marine life, conservation programs and how improper waste disposal negatively impacts animal, humans and communities.”
Barry Arriola, the sports and recreation manager, along with Jimenez joined the media in snorkeling around the marine sanctuary, which was officially established in 2007, granting the resort a 15-year stewardship rights and obligations.
According to Arriola, the underwater world has a lot to offer, and it shouldn’t only fuel our fascination but also our sense of responsibility as stewards of nature.