Sunday, January 31, 2010

Feydhoo Pre-school!

Feydhoo pre-school – In collaboration with the Feydhoo Island Women’s Committee, Banyan Tree helped establish and develop a pre-school on Feydhoo island.

By building to the specifications of the local community and educational board requirements, Banyan Tree was able to provide a model facility to support education on Feydhoo.

After building the school, Banyan Tree also provided necessary teaching and school administrative equipment.

The first batch of 15 students graduated to grade 1 (Primary School) on 24th October 2009! Congratulations!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Banyan Tree Ungasan Road Clean Up

Prior opening Banyan Tree Ungasan, Bali, all associates were invited to participate in removing trash and debris scattered along the way to the main gate of the resort, caused by construction and the waste disposal from the local population.

More than 30 associates from JG1 to Excom showed up in the event that was held on 6 November 2009, in the middle of a warm afternoon (30°C). Carrying large trash bags, and equipped with disposable hand gloves, associates started the 1km walk from the main lobby down the road at about 3.30pm, starting to collect many different type of non-organic rubbish such as beverage containers, plastic bags and cans, along the way to the main gate. For over an hour and a half, associates managed to gather more than 10 large trash bags full of rubbish.

As part of the CSR program we educated associates on proper waste management practices, to strive the importance of regularly maintaining the cleanliness of the resort and surrounding areas. This road clean up is the first one in many of upcoming similar activities in order to raise awareness among associates and the local community on environmental cleanliness, hygiene, and waste management.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Was in Mayakoba!

Day One - Arriving in Mexico

After a long, arduous swim through natural canals and lagoons, connected underground to the sea, I’m finally in America!

Met in the lobby by the Banyan Tree Mayakoba team of associates, I was told that situated in the eco-haven of Mayakoba, Banyan Tree is a harmonious blend of nature and luxury, and the first all-pool villa resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Our Mexican associates escorted me past the splendid banyan tree looming over the two-storey water courtyard to my lavish Garden Pool Villa. As I relaxed in the privacy of my own villa facing eco-landscape and enjoying the natural surroundings of lush nature, I could certainly see why Banyan Tree Mayakoba lives up to its promise as the most eagerly anticipated brand in the Americas!

A myriad of dining options are available in Banyan Tree Mayakoba, from the Mediterranean-inspired Tamarind, signature Thai cuisine of Saffron, modern Mexican cuisine from Oriente and in-villa dining. Being in Mexico for the first time, I headed to Oriente for a truly gastronomical experience.

Tired after the long swim and happy with a full stomach, I went to sleep almost as soon as I returned to my Garden Pool Villa.

Day 2 - Exploring Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Waking up to a beautiful day, I was eagerly anticipating the boat tour through the enchanting canals and lagoons. Bird-watching is one of the most popular activities in Mayakoba, with over 250 different vertebrate species coexisting in Mayakoba.

Hopping into the boat, which is electric-powered to avoid noise pollution, I observed many species of herons, a few neotropic cormorants, and midway into the tour, was even lucky enough to spot an iguana who obligingly posed for a photo!

After the peaceful, magical boat tour, the biologist brought me to visit the protected nests of baby turtles!

Banyan Tree guests are invited to help the little turtles out as they are hatched, and all of us protectively watch over them as they make their first steps towards the oceans.

Truly a magical experience, I hope to see many of these turtles return to Mayakoba when they are older to lay their own eggs!

Day 3 - Visiting a School
Waking up after a deep, restful slumber filled with dreams of birds and baby turtles, I had a huge breakfast at the Oriente, their buffet breakfasts are legendary.

After breakfast, the CSR team picked me up, taking me to “Vida y Esperanza” community, where we will be teaching the children art and ecology. I was told that this is would be the first class given to the 15 students from this community, by a Banyan Tree Mayakoba associate, so everyone is very excited.

There were smiles all around as the children drew native animals, trees, and learned more about the environment they are in. In addition, we also taught the basics of waste management, and why it is important to reuse and recycle instead of burning and disposing of waste.

Before leaving we visited a very special place in the community: an apiary that is going to be protected by the members of the community. The Mayan bees will live in this apiary; these amazing bees don’t have a sting so there’s no danger of being harmed.

These incredible, hardworking insects are endangered, and fortunately, Banyan Tree Mayakoba is working hard to prevent its extinction.

After my enriching day, I retired into my villa with a sense of peace and tranquility, inspired by the activities and efforts of the team in Banyan Tree Mayakoba, and hoping to visit again another day. Until then, I will continue to cherish the many fond memories, the new friends I’ve made and experiences I’ve gained.