Hi, my name is Craig and together with my wife, Jona, we own several hectares of beautiful lands in the lower hills of Leyte. Agriculturally, the area is very poor, and depends a lot on what can be harvested from the coconut trees and the small amounts of various other crops that may be planted on hillsides. There are no jobs really, certainly not in the sense of call centres, manufacturing, or government offices. People help each other out. Those with excess help to feed those without. Harvest time brings some cash from copra, and rice. Lately, dry weather has forced many farmers to switch from rice to other staple items like corn and potatoes.
Leyte is an area that has been long ignored by the mainstream politicians of the Philippines. But recently that seems to be changing. Maybe since the typhoon Yolanda blasted through the area two years ago, people are seeing both the needs of the area, and the opportunity. The government is spending money on infrastructure, with airport redevelopment at Tacloban and Maasin being sure signs of economic benefits to come.
Our background is in business and hospitality. After many years working abroad, we would like to come home to Baliw in Leyte, and create a business. I don’t mean some internet trading company that depends on the clicks of the keyboard. We want to do something that employs people, and brings income to the area.
We’re going to build a small resort and a village for city dwellers and ex-pats to get away from all the stress they endure, and provide them with a secure and secluded place to live and vacation. We’re going to create jobs, and a place where young people can learn skills to develop careers. We’re going to erase poverty in the area through assistance to education. Our Gugma Foundation has been helping local kids for a few years now, but there is no much more we should be doing.
We have two properties along the road we are thinking about transforming into a hillside Bali-style resort. Each is about 3 hectares, and planning has started. I will share the construction ideas and look to receive your feedback as we go along. Wish us luck!