AS travelers make more eco-friendly choices every year, having environment-friendly hotel practices can set a property apart from the competition.

For Bluewater resort chain, an investment for the environment’s protection and preservation can go a long way.

Homegrown Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort, a property owned by the Alegrados, was one of the recipients of the Asean Green Hotels Awards by Asean Tourism Standards held last month in Thailand.

This is the second time the resort reaped this award in the same category. The award is given by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) only every two years and the hotel needs to pass again the rigorous assessment process being implemented before it can qualify or maintain its standing as an Asean Green Hotel.

The Cebu Provincial Board yesterday approved a resolution congratulating the resort.

According to Enrico Monsanto, Bluewater Resorts marketing communications officer, the company invests an estimate of P5 million (and growing each year) to roll out its green initiatives.

“Bluewater Maribago was awarded due to its consistent efforts to protect and care for the environment,” he said, adding that the resort already implements green initiatives since we started.

“It is evident on how the natural landscape of Bluewater Maribago remained untouched. The old banyan trees are a living testament to that...Our aim is to become the country or even Asia’s first green hotel chain,” he said.

The Alegrados own three Bluewater brands in Central Visayas. Bluewater Maribago and Bluewater Sumilon are in Cebu while Bluewater Panglao is in Bohol.

Although, they were already practicing several green initiatives, the company in 2012 made going green an official policy, starting off with its flagship property— Bluewater Maribago.

One of the resort’s initiatives is “blue goes green,” an ongoing program that promotes eco-responsibility.

Recycled wood and other materials are used on repurposed surfaces. An example of this is ararog, a rattan by-product of the furniture industry, used as a decorative pattern echoed in all three Bluewater properties.

The hotel also invested in nurseries that provide fresh ingredients to its farm-to-table and spa offerings. These include herbs, spices, vegetables and honey. Its gardens are also enriched with fertilizers from its in-house vermiculture and trash composting.

Bluewater Maribago has also stepped up its efforts in taking care of the environment. It formed “Project Blue” composed of volunteer divers who are certified for regular underwater cleanup dives and coastal maintenance.

Monsanto said they were able to gather about 120 divers during their annual International Coastal Cleanup day last September.

Other sustainable practices for the resort include water conservation, energy conservation and culture development through the support of local arts and practices.

While the award pinned another seal of excellence for the Bluewater group, Monsanto said their sustainability efforts will continue as they plan to roll out the same initiatives in its other properties.