The Permeable Meandering Pavement at West Gorordo Hotel, Cebu

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Sustainable buildings and Permeable Pavements

We often equate progress with cement…
thus the statement that :
asenso na kay kongkreto na ug balay (a house is made of concrete),
nacemento na gyud ang agianan ( concreting of a pathway),
and we refer to this in developments of houses, churches or any building.

But what happens when we cement structures or pathways?
Simple: there is a blockage of the flow of air and water.
So, why do we do it?
Because we uncritically copy the dictates of foreign architecture and design.
And the result: very stuffy houses, no air ventilation in buildings
and our worst and ever present challenge in Cebu and most cities in the Philippines:
Flooding.

Flooding has three major causes:

weather:
heavy and extensive rainfall in a short period,
high tide during stormy conditions-

poor maintenance of  infrastructures:
faulty sewage networks, poor & insufficient drainage,
inadequate maintenance of watercourses-

and development & planning issues related to
development in flood plains areas,
badly designed flood prevention infrastructures,
and building on land in a way that it prevents rain water from draining naturally.

So, what is the fuss about permeable pavers?
Permeable pavers manage runoff from paved surfaces,
ease the burden on the drainage systems
and allow groundwater recharge
through the natural draining of rain water back into the water table,
an added bonus is that it irrigates the trees in our urban green lungs.

At West Gorordo Hotel,
we  originally installed a porous, permeable or pervious pavement
using open jointed blocks,
but the blocks could not handle the weight of the vehicles..

So, Joel Lee, our permaculture designer deviced a very simple solution–
to mimic the natural world before the application of cement:
by installing a gravel pavement with a meandering pathway…

and why meandering?
to demonstrate the flow of a river:
it meanders and hydrates the surrounding land before it flows into the seas.

So, when you walk by West Gorordo Hotel,
take a minute and observe a simple flood control solution,
which you can do at home or when making any land developments.
Walk on the meandering pathway
and experience the joy of what it is like to be a body of water
before it drains into the sea.

the permeable pavers (open jointed blocks)  installed in 2007 sourced locally

 

could not handle the weight of cars

 

had to be removed
Joel Lee driving the back hoe and digging the meandering pathway

 

the replacement

 

meandering cement path to contain the gravel road

 

how the pathway was installed by using tin sheet mold

 

after the cement was  poured on the tin sheet mold

 

the gravel (single sized aggregate) was poured after compacting the ground

 

our new permeable and meandering pavement
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Edible Landscaping at West Gorordo Hotel, Cebu, Philippines

Sustainable Land Use,  Edible Landscaping and Food Self-Reliance
Edible Landscaping?
Edible…
something that is fit to be eaten;
Landscaping…
an activity that changes the visible features of an area;
Edible landscaping…
an activity that changes the features of an area,
by adding plants that are fit to be eaten,
especially by humans…
At West Gorordo Hotel,
upon the advice of Joel Lee, our permaculture designer,
we chose to alter our facade 
through edible landscaping.
So, what did we add?
kangkong, peanuts, tomato, lemongrass,
gabi, aloe vera, mint, fern,
bisol, alugbati, okra…
We chose the vegetables that are
endemic to the tropics;
that are easy to maintain;
and simple to prepare…
and be eaten.
You can do this at home, too:
For what reason?
Lots of reasons…
To enjoy fresh home grown fruits and vegetables;
To be in control the quality and types of the pesticides in your food;
To be able to grow heirloom and endemic varieties;
To save on food bills;
To see and interact with nature right in your home;
To shorten the farm to fork distance and 
lessen the burning of fossil fuels;
To exercise and experience what its like to be a food gatherer;
To grow your own medicine…
The reasons are endless.
You don’t need a large space,
to grow your own food,
and start experiencing food self-reliance.
It can be done anywhere,
at schools, offices, churches, city open spaces…
A food revolution right in our cities,
can avert hunger !
We will have no more excuse…
kangkong, aloe vera, fern

peanuts

tomatoes, gabi, bisol, kangkong

gabi, kangkong

okra, peanuts, gabi