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Bohol resort sees stricter approvals after Chocolate Hills public outcry

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THE local government of Bohol is enforcing stricter approval processes for new developments following the Chocolate Hills resort controversy, a resort owner said.

“They have been very strict… The Protected Area Management Board is very cautious, and I don’t think they have approved anything in terms of development in those areas,” Amarela Resort Corp. President Lucas M. Nunag told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of a Philippine Hotel Owners Association event on June 21.

According to the latest Philippine Hotel Investment Outlook Survey by Leechiu Property Consultants and the Philippine Hotel Owners Association, Bohol led with 41% of respondents showing interest in exploring hotel development.

The report attributed this to the province’s popularity, bolstered by its UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Global Geopark status, proximity to Panglao airport, beaches, and high tourist volumes.

Additionally, Panglao ranked third among domestic destinations with 1,798 keys in development. Other notable locations include Metro Manila (39%), Cebu City (36%), Siargao (36%), and El Nido (34%).

In contrast to the famed resort, Amarela Resorts said it has received the ASEAN Green Hotel Award three times and holds the highest certification level in the Anahau Greenleaf Certification System.

Among Amarela’s green practices is an installed waste management system, addressing a common issue in island destinations: pollution, it said.

“We installed a biological wastewater treatment facility using the roots of plants in weeds but then, later on, we found out that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is requiring more stringent measures,” Mr. Nunag said.

The resort, he also said, employs rainwater collection for landscape irrigation and uses a solar system to heat bathrooms and kitchens.

“The cost of solar panels has decreased. When calculating the return on investment, it’s approximately 3.5 years,” said Mr. Nunag, adding that their solar panels help reduce electricity expenses. — Aubrey Rose A. Inosante

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