While I was completing the final stage of my Pacific row, my mother told me one day during our satphone call, “A very nice man in the Philippines has invited you to spend some time at his eco-resort…” And having been invited, it seemed rude not to accept. Plans quickly evolved, and now I find myself in the province of Palawan, about 270 miles southwest of Manila.

Limestone cliffs en route to El Nido by boat

El Nido is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to – and the fact that it is an award-winning eco-resort just makes it even better. Visitors are provided with a biodegradable bag into which to place any non-biodegradable rubbish, and are strongly encouraged to pick up any trash that they see while kayaking or snorkelling. On checking in we were provided with a checklist of local birds and marine creatures to look out for and record our observations. Resort staff have to attend a course to obtain their certification of G.R.E.E.N. (Guard, Respect, Educate El Nido). For every passenger being flown to the resort, 6 trees are planted to offset their carbon emissions.

All this is hardly surprising given that the owner, Vince Perez, is CEO of Alternergy Partners, a renewable power company for emerging Asian countries, and is chairman of Merritt Partners, an energy advisory firm to companies doing business in Asia. He is also chairman of WWF-Philippines and member of the WWF-International board. In the same way that David Lambourne (Solicitor General) was my guardian angel in Kiribati , and Sir Peter Barter (former Governor of Madang Province and owner of the Madang Resort) filled a similar role in Papua New Guinea, Vince is fast becoming a good friend and excellent conversation partner.

Planting a tree - one sixth of my carbon offset

This morning he and I went out in sea kayaks to explore the Big Lagoon, a short paddle from the resort. It was like stepping back in time, to a primordial peace and quiet. A shallow lagoon, with corals clearly visible beneath the calm, clear waters. Steep limestone cliffs on every side. Tropical trees and shrubs clinging onto roots in unfeasibly tiny nooks and crannies. I closed my eyes for a few minutes and felt the slight rocking of the kayak beneath me, and listened to birdsong echoing around the acoustic chamber of the cliffs. With no significant stretch of the imagination I could feel myself in a dugout canoe, several thousand years ago.

It turned out to be a very special morning. We saw a baby shark, no more than 18 inches long, swimming swiftly just a few feet from our kayaks. A couple of turtles appeared as large shadows under the water. Then Vince and I returned to the resort for a late breakfast and a hugely productive caffeine-fuelled brainstorming session, the results of which will become apparent in due course.

As so often in my life these days, business and pleasure are inextricably linked…..

Navigating the Big Lagoon by sea kayak
With Vince and the staff of El Nido after my presentation last night
Presentation for the Young Presidents' Organisation in Manila a few days ago
My haul of trash for the morning - even in paradise, plastic intrudes.

14 Comments

  • You were brought to my attention about six months ago by a colleague, and I’ve been following your adventures. You are such an inspiration in that you not only follow your passion, but your passion is for the benefit of all. I have decided to live the same way, and it’s the happiest I’ve ever been. Row on, Roz! You are an inspiration.

  • Great description if the cove, kayaking. I’d be keen to know if there is or isn’t going to be a book about the Pacific rowing adventure like you did about the Atlantic. I like your longer format writing, like the book and the above.

  • ALOHA ROZ! MAHALO … for the beautiful inspriring moments you
    continue to bring to us, your fans, your friends, your family…
    We are still following you with amazement and joy… AHO… THANK
    YOU for sharing this spot on EARTH with us… CONGRATULATIONS
    to these people for moving forward in a positive way for the oceans
    and earth… lets continue on this path for us all… Hugs, Love,
    Peace, Carol in Oregon

  • Hi Sharron – so delighted to hear that it’s working for you! đŸ™‚

    As to the brainstorming, I was up from 3 to 4.30am tapping away at my laptop, brain buzzing with ideas, devising my Grand Master Plan. All looking pretty cool – but I’m sorry, I’m going to keep you in suspense for a while longer!

  • Hi Roz, I’m still eagerly following your adventures and inspirations and look forward to the unveiling of the “Grand Master Plan”–how exciting!! What an amazing life you are living!

    Hugs from the west coast!

  • Hey Rozita! Glad you’re still fighting the good fight!, however; I can’t help but notice that while everyone in the group portrait is staring proudly at the camera, “Vince” seems distracted by something else. I must say I will be most satisfied when you are safely aboard your ship and heading east to the west.
    Please be safe.

  • Hi Roz! I’ve been following your adventures via your website for about three years and enjoy every blog post. I’ve been trying to reduce my carbon footprint by cycling to work (16 miles each way) nearly every day, using the bike for local errands and never accepting plastic bags when shopping. I’ve been cycling for more than 22 years and hope that more people choose to be truly green in their choice of transportation. I try to pass my passion of cycling to young people like my daughter and her friends as they are more accepting of cycling as a way of life than older people who are in love with their fossil-feuled vehicles. Maybe cycling safety classes could be added to all elementary and high school curiculums? I’m hoping to see you at one of your speaking engagements in San Francisco someday.

  • Hi Matthew – I will be making a couple of appearances in Sacramento, as well as San Francisco, so I hope to see you there. Details to be announced on this website in due course.

    Meanwhile, have you thought about doing the California Climate Ride? This September I’ll be taking part in this ride from Eureka to San Francisco – see http://climateride.org. I did the east coast version last year, and it was absolutely brilliant. We’re putting together a “Team Roz” and it would be fantastic if you could join us.

    To register, go to the Team Roz page at http://climateride.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&eventID=500&teamID=5012

    I’ll be making a cross-country dash to join the Ride on Day 2, coming straight from the Ocean Champions reception in DC. I wish I could be there for the start – those redwoods look just incredible. Hope you can make it – I’d be over the moon if you (and others) could find the time to ride with Team Roz!

Leave a Reply to texino tomas Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.