Farms and Sustainability Projects
The island also produces a lot of its own food, which is made possible by the careful collection, storage, and distribution of rainwater. The original fishing community that continues to live on the island supplies the fish served in its restaurants, and also staffs the aquaculture facilities, which include fish and shellfish farms. The banana plantations on the island produce a surplus, which is sent to the mainland and marketed there. In addition, 40,000 coconut trees on the island, with more planted every year, provide an ample supply of coconuts. Compact, high-technology organic vegetable farms established near the airport yield much of the produce needed by the island’s restaurants, although some items (like rice and meats) will always be brought in from the mainland, as we would rather not clear forest to accommodate these.
Seeding and planting at the newly expanded organic vegetable farms (over 5 additional hectares of planting area) at the Tahik area, as well as the addition of the guyabano, avocado, rambutan, lemon, and melon farms, were conducted in 2020 to ensure an abundant supply of fruits and vegetables for Balesin members and guests. Growing our own also reduces our carbon footprint by eliminating the need to transport into the island a significant amount of our fresh produce.
The newest projects are the Balesin sea salt beds and the Balesin Honeybee Farm. The seawater around Balesin is pristine, thus enabling us to produce an unusually pure quality of sea salt. At the Balesin Honeybee Farm, pure, raw, unheated, and unfiltered honey is made. Balesin’s organic honey is harvested on the island to preserve all the natural enzymes, pollen, and aroma, and offers natural antibacterial benefits.
As part of our drive toward sustainability and ecological responsibility, we have replaced all our plastic drinking straws with biodegradable paper straws. We have also replaced plastic water bottles with our own refillable glass bottles of Balesin purified water, which has passed all required sanitary and laboratory tests. Globally, there are 150 million tons of plastic items floating around or washed ashore. Balesin is doing its part to address this very serious problem.
In addition, Balesin has zero emissions of waste water into the sea around it. From the start, each of Balesin’s villages had a sewage treatment facility. In 2017, we completed the construction of a state-of-the-art central Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), where all the waste water and sewage from the individual villages is treated. The STP plant cost us Php 40 million, but it was worth every penny.
We are proud to maintain the highest standards of environmental protection, which have guided us from the beginning of Balesin Island Club.