Updated: Jun 20, 2020
Some of you that have been following my project from the start might wonder what the current status is and what are the next steps knowing that the tourism industry was suddenly halted and has left us with uncertainty. Will the tourism industry survive? Is it safe to invest in tourism anymore? Only time will tell. But I continue to be optimistic with the project because I think of all the positive changes that will occur as a result of this global awakening. Rainbows happen after a storm. Some of the reasons I believe Covid-19 is good for tourism include:
The earth is healing; Reduction of pollution from using fossil fuels and less destruction of nature by human activities
Awareness in humanity; Now people start are pondering how they can improve their lives, how to travel better, how to help other people, increasingly people are going back to essential services such as starting to garden
Quality tourism will increase; Tourism businesses will transform into a better and more sustainable practice
Wild animal trade will hopefully be reduced and eventually disappear
What is our current status? We have completed three buildings earlier this year and have started receiving guests just before the pandemic hit us. Two buildings for guests, and one building for our private use. We built and are currently expanding our permaculture garden and are gradually improving the landscaping of the island. The tasks are never ending actually.
Kalaumang, a double bed studio jungle house fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, home theater and big terraces overlooking the forest and permaculture garden.
Bia-bia, is cute private bungalow for two with an open shower over looking the sea and Colo mountain of Una-una. You might be able to spot Tarsiers right from your terrace.
Our permaculture garden supplies our kitchen with native herbs, vegetable and fruits and is fully irrigated using a rainwater catchment system and fertilized using compost from kitchen waste. We would like to learn to plant Pachouli, a native plant in the adjacent village of Tumbulawa, that produces oil to make organic soap for our own supply and hopefully other resorts nearby. We are also getting many flowers and seeds from the village to decorate the island. It is exciting time for us right now as every day we learn new plants species and gain a lot of knowledge from locals. Traditional medicinal plants are also on our bucket list.
Since we are located on a small remote island, we don’t have potable groundwater (we tried to dig for water without success) probably because the ground consists of limestone. We made a rainwater catchment system on our roof and collect the water from the kitchen and bathrooms for use in the garden. Next month we will start building a 5000-liter water tank with ferro cement. During the rainy season there is plenty of rainwater that, if harvested, could last us for the whole year.
We are also in the process of learning to raise chickens. Currently we have four, but we are struggling to train our two dogs not to chase them. As soon as the dogs start behaving, we will gladly let them run free on the island.
Once the pandemic situation improves, our next construction will be a Yoga deck. A circular platform of 10m diameter with a roof also built using alang alang natural roofing. Other items on the list include extension of the jetty at the back, build an open kitchen area and a sunset deck near the beach.
It is uncertain whether tourism will resume this year. Hopefully in September we can start accommodating domestic tourists! We will organize workshops and courses related to sustainability, conservation, and self-employment opportunities for the locals living in the nearby villages. We are currently raising funds to kick start various sustainable projects for the villages of Togean. We will do tree planting, compost making, rainwater catchment workshops, and an upcycle project to provide revenues for woman in Togean. If you wish to participate, click here for details.
Will it be safe at our ecolodge? We are in a remote area and the island only accommodates a small number of guests (it is also possible to book the entire island to yourself). Nevertheless, we have purchased disinfectant and will be regularly cleaning all the surfaces, we have organic liquid soap for the kitchen and bathrooms, we upgraded our medicine kit, and can provide our guests masks and gloves if needed. We hope to share the wonders of our private island ecolodge with you in your upcoming travel plans.