Development Perspective of Le Reve Resort

ABSTRACT This paper aims to describe the development perspectives of Le Reve Resort, both in the business and the community level. It begins with an overview of the Resort and how it came about in Kisante. Then, the paper covers the social, economic, and political conditions in Kisante, Makilala, Cotabato where the resort is situated, as well as the major global trends affecting the Resort. It is in this part that the supply side of the business is presented as a major basis of the Resort’s planned sustainable development efforts and development strategies to be used.

The writer also recognizes the idea that the demand side of the business, that is, the Resort’s existing and potential customers, is important in choosing sustainable development initiatives. For this study, regions XI and XII customers are given attention because the Resort’s visitors are mostly from nearby provinces and cities. For one, Le Reve resort is located in Kisante, Makilala, Cotabato (Region XII); and secondly, Le Reve is just a two-hour drive from the City of Davao (Region XI). The succeeding parts, then, identify the proposed sustainable development actions and strategies.

Also included in this paper is the diffusion campaign in Barangay Kisante in order to bring about positive change quickly and sustainably. Lastly, this paper deals with the application of concepts in development perspectives that have relevance to the study. I. Brief Background Le Reve is a five-hectare inland resort. It boasts of four (4) free swimming pools fed with cool natural spring water originating from the foot of Mt. Apo. Its facilities include cottages, fishpond, lodging rooms, as well as a flower garden. It is also connected to a forested area where fruit-bearing trees can be found.

The resort is located along the national highway of Kisante, Makilala, Cotabato, a two-hour drive from the City of Davao and approximately thirty minutes away from Kidapawan City. The place is ideal for retreats, seminars, and social events. One of the appeals of Le Reve to guests is the province’s cool and humid climate. There are no typhoons but rainfall is frequent in the area. Le Reve was founded by the couple Luisa B. Balagot, a former elementary teacher, and Antonio M. Balagot, a former professor at the University of Southern Mindanao and Provincial Agriculturist of Cotabato.

Antonio’s interest in inland resorts dated back to his out-of-the-country trip experience at France. In fact, it was in France that the name of the resort, Le Reve, which means “the dream”, was originated. It was a modest beginning by the couple to sell their house and lot property, as well as their agricultural and educational supplies business in Kabacan in order to move in Kisante, Makilala for a new life as businessmen. They initially bought three (3) hectares of land where the resort’s first swimming pool for adults and a kiddie pool were positioned.

They were granted the license to operate on January 1985, and at that time, they only charged people with a P5 entrance fee. By 1987, they had managed the construction of another swimming pool. Promotion was only through word of mouth but they saw the positive response of the market, so that by 1989, they were able to acquire bigger lot which allowed them to make the fourth pool, the multi-purpose hall and other improvements. II. The Socio-Economic Conditions in Kisante, Makilala and the Global Trends (Supply Side) 2. 1 Kisante, Makilala Kisante is one of the 38 barangays in Makilala.

According to the August 2007 census, Kisante has 4,154 out of 71,543 people in Makilala, some of whom are indigenous people. Makilala is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Cotabato. The economy of Makilala is largely agriculture-based. Its people are into rubber production and other agricultural crops such as corn, and banana. Coconut plantation occupies 8. 65 percent of its total land area. Aside from commercial crops, fruit trees also abound in the municipality. Makilala has only one private hospital with a capacity of 25 beds, one rural health center, and 45 day-care centers.

It has only 6 physicians, giving a ratio of 1 doctor for every 11,923. 83 persons. 2. 2 Global Trends Environmental Several studies and our experiences suggest that there is a global environmental issue on climate change due to deteriorating ecological conditions and increasing environmental disasters like deforestation. Philippines, for one, is said to be adversely affected by global warming first because it is largely dependent on climate-sensitive sectors, such as agricultural and forest resources, both in national production and in the number of people directly dependent on those resources for livelihoods.

Secondly, one of the expected impacts of climate change is in water. It can cause El Nino or La Nina eposides, therefore, increases risk of droughts and floods, respectively. One emerging issue now is also the decreasing supply of potable water. In the Philippines, we can say that there are ample water resources because approximately 70% of the area is considered as watershed areas (lakes, springs, streams). In fact, demand is estimated at only one third of the actual supply. The problem, however, lies in the quality and distribution of water.

Pollution of both surface and ground waters continually becomes a problem, not to mention, the wastage and inefficient use of resources and continued denudation of forests. Social Worldwide population is increasing but human development improvements across geographical, income and ethnic groups continue to widen and become more uneven. Economic There is a global trend in the rise of prices of the basic food commodities, including the increasing price of energy. Food and energy is competing each other in the use of arable land resources.

Farmers may use their land in either for production of food or energy. III. The Social and Economic Realities of the Resort’s Customers (Demand Side) The demand and supply economic concept shows that as customer’s income increases, the more people spend more money for luxury, and not for basic necessities. Le Reve Resort has to know and understand the social and economic conditions of its customers considering that its business is under the recreation industry, which is further under the luxury category. Table 1. Socio-Economic Development Indicators in Regions XI and XII INDICATORREGION XIREGION XII

Total population 2000 3,676,1632007 4,156,6532000 3,222,1692007 3,829,081 Annual per capita poverty threshold (in Pesos) 1/2003 11,3992006 14,9422003 11,3282006 14,225 Magnitude of poor families 2/2003 231,0682006 257,5542003 227,0932006 253,009 Incidence of poor families (%) 3/2003 28. 52006 30. 62003 32. 12006 33. 8 Magnitude of poor population 4/2003 1,346,2692006 1,450,5422003 1,319,5632006 1,482,130 Incidence of poor population (%) 5/ 2003 34. 72006 36. 62003 38. 42006 40. 8 Gini coefficient 6/ 2003 0. 45502006 0. 42252003 0. 48432006 0. 4006 Unemployment rate1999 8. 92006 7. 31999 6. 32006 7. 0 Human development index 7/1997 0. 142003 0. 55721997 0. 4892003 0. 5397 Average income 2003 114,0652006 135,0002003 113,0002006 114,000 Average expenditures 2003 114,0652006 115,0002003 85,0002006 96,000 1/ This is the annual per capita income required or the amount to be spent to satisfy the nutritional requirements (2,000 calories) and other basic needs. 2/ The number of families whose annual per capita income falls below the annual per capita poverty threshold. 3/ Proportion of poor families to the Total Number of Families 4/ The number of individuals in families whose annual per capita income falls below the annual per capita poverty threshold. / Proportion of poor population to the total population. 6/ Gini coefficient can range from 0 (which means perfect equality) to 1 (which means perfect inequality). When gini coefficient increases over time, it means that income inequality has worsened. 7/ Human Development Index is an indicator used to gauge improvements in the quality of human life. Following the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) formulation, the HDI is a composite index of three indices: (1) life expectancy at birth; (2) education; and (3) real per capita income. An index of 0. 800 and above is considered high; 0. 500 to 0. 790 is considered medium; and below 0. 00 is considered low. Source: National Statistical Coordination Board. Table 1 shows that together with the increase in population in regions (1. 71% in region XI and 2. 41% in region XII), the incidence and magnitude of poor families and poor population have significantly increased from 2003 to 2006. The annual per capita poverty threshold also indicates that a person in regions XI and XII needed 14,942 and 14,225, respectively, to satisfy his/her basic food and non-food requirements in 2006. The poverty threshold in region XI was 31. 08 percent higher than the 2003 threshold, and 25. 57 percent higher in region XII within the same period.

Moreover, despite an increase in average incomes between 2003 and 2006, income disparity or gap of the rich and the poor in regions XI and XII only slightly declined as revealed in the values of the gini coefficients. However, the unemployment rate in region XI went down from 8. 9 in 1999 to 7. 3 in 2006. But in region XII, unemployment rate increased from 6. 3 in 1999 to 7. 0 in 2006. Also, based on the HDI figures above, human development or the quality of life of the people in the said regions has improved over the years, although at a relatively lower rate. IV. Existing Community Development Initiatives in Kisante

The Rural Improvement Club (RIC) of Kisante, Makilala, Cotabato was organized in April 27, 2001. Just like any typical successful community development efforts, like-minded people in Kisante were the ones who identified and assessed the community’s needs and they developed a common understanding to address some of their problems. Initially, a group of fifteen (15) rural women envisioned to improve the lot of women in Kisante. They pooled their resources together in order to undertake various livelihood projects, such as ornamental and medicinal plants growing, poultry-raising, sari-sari store, and swine-raising and -breeding.

The members also attend trainings from time-to-time to increase their knowledge in microbusiness and to empower its members. Today, a total of 35 active members sustained the livelihood projects and activities of the club. They meet at least once a week during which time they discuss community issues, club activities and other matters. The RIC of Kisante is closely-tied to the Le Reve Resort considering that its President, Luisa B. Balagot, is the owner-manager of Le Reve. One issue of the community was the absence of sustainable livelihood for women.

Since Kisante is an inland province and is blessed with favorable climate, flower gardening and selling became Luisa’s additional source of income. The increasing number of buyers of Le Reve’s ornamental plants and palm/pine trees, gave Luisa an idea to expand Le Reve resort’s flower business and eventually share this expertise to the people in the community, particularly the women. Thus, the creation of the Kisante Flower Garden owned by people in the area. At its inception, Luisa together with a number of local people, searched for ornamental plants that are saleable and then taught them how to do business from them.

Luisa spearheaded in encouraging women in Kisante to grow and sell ornamental plants for a living. To date, not only do they generate additional income for families from flower/tree business, but the community also helps in generating tourist revenue while women learn to become entrepreneurs compared to being mere housewives before. The members of the Kisante Rural Improvement Club are now enjoying the fruit of their labor. They can then testify that indeed great things happen when people work together and build on the strengths of the community. So far, economic development in the ideal sense is not yet achieved by the community.

However, efforts and series of dialogue are still ongoing to improve the lives of the people in Kisante by exploring other livelihood opportunities. V. Development Perspectives of Le Reve Resort A development perspective is a concept used to combine ‘development’ and ‘management’. The United Nations defines development as ‘a comprehensive economic, social, political, and cultural process that aims at the improvement of the quality of life of all people and the full enjoyment of all fundamental freedoms and human rights without distinction as to race, gender, religion, status, or political belief. Management, on the one hand, is defined by wikipedia as ‘the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals, and therefore, comprises planning, organizing, leading and controlling an organization. Le Reve Resort aims at becoming a sustainable enterprise, that is, an enterprise that adds value to its shareholders by contributing more than its competitors to the three goals of a sustainable common future: i. providing a decent standard of material life to (all) people [ECONOMIC]; ii. maintaining ecologically sustainable natural systems [ENVIRONMENTAL]; and iii. roviding just and meaningful social conditions for (all) people [SOCIAL]. Sustainable Development, then, for Le Reve would mean that while it partakes and enjoys what Mother Nature offers (i. e. water), it rests upon the resort the responsibility to take good care of it and ensure that no harm is inflicted. This would allow future generations to enjoy the same benefits provided by natural resources. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, “The earth has enough to satisfy everyone’s needs but not everyone’s greed. ” 5. Le Reve Resort’s Stakeholders and the Three Legs of Sustainability To ensure balance in the three legs of sustainability, a matrix-form of questions is made for a sustainable Le Reve Resort. STAKEHOLDER GROUPPLANET (Environment)PEOPLE (Society)PROFIT (Economy) OwnersHow can Le Reve maximize the use of its natural resources without destroying the ecological balance? What can Le Reve do to gain good public image? How can Le Reve maximize its profitability and ROI? EmployeesHow can Le Reve provide a safe and favorable workplace to its employees?

How can Le Reve provide satisfying employment to its workers? What can Le Reve do to help improve its employees’ standard of living? Visitors (Customers)What can Le Reve do to protect the natural resources located in the area to make them available for the future generations? How can Le Reve provide quality service to its visitors? What can Le Reve do to ensure value-for-money to its visitors? Community of MakilalaWhat can Le Reve do to encourage cooperation from among the people in Makilala to protect their environment?

How can Le Reve provide more employment opportunities to the people in the community? What can Le Reve do to help improve the condition of the people in Makilala? Government of CotabatoWhat can Le Reve do to help promote Cotabato’s tourism while preserving its natural endowments and rural ambiance? How can Le Reve establish partnerships to local government/ non-government agencies for sustainable development initiatives? How can Le Reve contribute to Cotabato’s general economic development? 5. 2 Proposed Sustainable Development Efforts

Considering the socio-economic realities of the Kisante community and Le Reve Resort’s existing and potential customers, as well as the major global economic, social and environmental trends, the owner-managers of Le Reve Resort may want to look into engaging into the following sustainable development efforts: To address the ENVIRONMENT-related concerns: 1. Payment for Environmental Services (PES) or ‘Bayad Kalikasan’ 2. Reduce the chlorine content of its swimming pools, and control the discharge of pollutants/wastes in the environment. Wastewater treatment may also be considered by Le Reve.

Better yet, Le Reve should look into using chlorine-free swimming pool water treatment system. To manage the SOCIAL- and ECONOMIC-related issues: 3. Hire native talent 4. Refer some of their cut flower orders to the people in the community 5. Tie-up/ partnership with the local government and other government agencies, as well as not-for-profit sectors aiming for positive outcomes in the social, economic and/or environment aspects. 6. Assistance in agricultural extension programs 7. Creation of a ‘Business Sustainability Policy’ 8. Change of business structure from ‘sole proprietorship’ to a ‘corporation’ 9.

Creation of a Management Development Plan Explanations of the Planned Sustainability Efforts Environment Payment for Environmental Services (PES) or “Bayad Kalikasan” The resort may allocate a certain percentage of the swimming fees paid by the customers to be given to appropriate agencies to protect Mt. Apo and its forests. This fee is called PES, an innovative scheme that ensures that those who benefit from environmental goods and services (e. g. local residents who extract drinking water from the river, resorts and bottling companies whose water come from freshwater in the upstream forest), pay those who manage these services (e. . those who protect the forest) to ensure that these benefits go well beyond present generations. Le Reve has been able to sustain its swimming business operation in an inland province primarily because the water being used is available without cost on their part from the spring of the foot of Mt. Apo. As a duty of gratitude, it is but right for the owners of Le Reve to make such contribution, especially that irresponsible trekkers caused the accumulation of garbage in Mt. Apo and indigenous people are not so concerned with the preservation of water cleanliness.

It is to be noted that initiatives such as water conservation/protection activities like tree planting/ reforestation provide immensely important environmental services such as protecting water flow and quality and regulating global climate through carbon sequestration. Furthermore, through PES, Le Reve can provide support to agencies or people who conduct environmental awareness campaign and/or clean- up drive. Usage of a chlorine-free swimming pool water treatment system According to a study, the use of chlorine water treatments poses a serious biological hazard if the bacteria are not destroyed.

It used to be possible to say that if chlorine and another sanitizer were present then there would be no bacteria. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. Bacteria have “learned” to live in a chlorine environment. Thus, a chlorine-free water treatment would be best. The product is already available in the market. Source: http://cgi. ebay. co. uk/New-Chlorine-Free-Swimming-Pool-Water-Treatment System_W0QQitemZ230268641836QQcmdZViewItem? IMSfp=TL080707102a9744 Social and Economic Employ Native Talent

Providing jobs to local people, particularly those residing in Kisante, would not only benefit the company as it creates loyalty and commitment from the community and thereby through word-of-mouth, increase its number of customers, but also benefit the people as it improves the condition of their lives. Several studies also suggest that employees living in the same community where the company is located are more loyal (thus, low turnover or high retention level) and more dedicated to their work and in improving the business.

Refer some of their cut flower orders to the people in the community The increasing number of buyers of Le Reve’s ornamental plants and pine trees, gave the owners an idea to expand their flower business. Luisa, the owner-manager of Le Reve and the President of The Kisante Rural Improvement Club and Cotabato Floriculture, Inc. , encouraged the women in the community to plant flowers to sell for a living. Referring some of the resort’s cut flower orders to the people in the community would be of great help to the latter.

Furthermore, it is to be noted that through the owner’s participation of community development activities and their good relationship with the people in the community, Le Reve has continued to be protected for several years now from bombings and other terroristic activities in nearby provinces and cities. This is a good local example of the benefits of having good reputation/image in the area. Partnerships in Government and NGOs Tie-ups with both government and non-government agencies for sustainability projects would make this seemingly unrealistic vision (“robinhood approach”) for the community achievable after all.

Building partnerships with organizations that work on issues important to Le Reve’s corporate philosophy would hasten in attaining the vision of making the community a better place to live and work. This is in consonance to the idea of creating tipping points- the 5% that changes 95%. This activity would keep the management of Le Reve up-to-date of the issues that wouldn’t be known to them if they were doing sustainable development efforts alone. They would also be able to avoid unnecessary conflicts and hostility with other groups and build links with business and influential people.

It is to be noted that as of 2007, the mayors of Kidapawan City, Makilala, and Magpet in Cotabato signed a declaration of understanding to protect Mt. Apo. (source: http://www. encyclopedia. com/doc/1G1-169435271. html) Assistance in agricultural extension programs This is considered a good initiative since the common livelihood of the people in Kisante is farming. These farmers work under the scorching sun everyday with an uncertain future. Helping these people increase their daily income would improve not only their standard of living (i. e. economic condition of the community) but would also create better numbers for the resort (i. . as income increases, people tend to spend more money for recreation/luxury). Creation of a ‘Business Sustainability Policy’ Creation of a sustainability policy would be one good step to establish owner’s commitment to long-term environmental, social, and economic strategy. Change of business structure from ‘sole proprietorship’ to a ‘corporation’ This is to encourage entry of outside stockholders. The creation of board of directors, as part of the corporation’s legal requirements, would address the need to create/ review its business policies, procedures and internal controls.

The board of directors will be the ones who will oversee the affairs of the business and therefore, direct and guide in the strategic and policy formation. Creation of a Management Development Plan Its purpose is to plan the career paths and management development programs of key family and non-family managers. This also includes development of the successor (or successor candidates). The above initiatives are in line with the Resort’s commitment to shift in business practice from being a purely profit-maximizing firm towards being a responsible organization, addressing the social, environmental and economic issues, both locally and globally. . 3 Development Strategies to be used: The development strategies to be used are as follows: > For agricultural extension programs, the strategy to be adopted is normative reeducative. > For Payment for Environmental Services, facilitative strategy can be applied. > Leading by example by hiring native talent, referring flower orders to the people in the community and partnership with government and non-government agencies is a persuasive strategy of development. V. A Proposed Diffusion Campaign in Brgy.

Kisante Based on the foregoing, Le Reve Resort’s development perspective can be diffused by involving influential people in Kisante and by using authority innovation-decisions. Since the owner-manager of the resort is herself the president of the Kisante Rural Improvement Club, and the Balagot family has good public image in the province of Makilala, convincing local government unit officials and other private organizations to help in making Kisante a sustainable community would not be so hard.

Le Reve can also maximize its involvement in the community without disregarding its ability to generate increasing profits by taking very influential people in relevant sectors and convincing them to be part of the resort’s board of directors. VI. Insights and Application of Concepts ?The development initiative/practice of the Kisante Rural Improvement Club is an example of a simple immanent change, that is, the recognition of the need of change and the change itself comes from within the social system- the people in barangay Kisante. It is a planned positive change or simply an attempt for community development in economic, social and environmental dimensions. ?Despite the asymptotic character of development- that genuine development is never fully realized, the people in the community of Kisante try in their own little ways to strive in alleviating poverty in both individual and community levels. ?The concept of affluence reduction in uplifting the poverty sectors in society is being practiced by the owners of Le Reve Resort and that is to share to others, instead of control, the benefits that the natural resources give to the community. The development image that characterizes barangay Kisante at present is ‘turtle’. Development is very slow in Kisante because it is hampered by a heavy shell of anti-development factors such as the perennial problem of unstable peace and order condition, lack of capital, and people’s resistance to change because of their economic situation and laid-back culture. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Andrews, R. N. 2003. Sustainable Enterprise: implications for international finance and investment. Working paper for a seminar series on International Finance and the Environment, New America Foundation,28 Feb. . Anonymous. 7 Elements of a Sustainable Enterprise. Undated. 3. Laszlo, C. 2003. The Sustainable Company: How to Create a Lasting Value through Social and Environmental Performance. Washington, D. C. , USA: Island Press, pp. 9-15, 35-54. 4. National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). Regional Statistical Yearbook. Region XI and XII. 5. The World Bank, 2004. Responsible Growth for the New Millennium: Integrating Society, Ecology, and the Economy. Washington, D. C. : The International Bank for Rural Reconstruction and Development/ The World Bank, pp. 127-166.

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