BACOLOD CITY – Hápon (hah-pon) is a Hiligaynon word that means “roost” or “to come home,” loosely translated.
“Naghapon na ang mga manok (The chickens have come to roost)” is a thought that immediately comes to mind in Negros Occidental where gamecock breeding is an industry that employs thousands and earns millions.
The word, said with a different inflection (Ha-pon), can also refer to the Japanese who came here as invading troops during World War II then as humanitarians in the 80s when the sugar industry was in the doldrums.
Such were the usual meanings of the word.
Now, tucked away in the western corner of BS Aquino Drive where it meets Aguinaldo Street is a place that gives a different meaning to the word, the first-ever boutique hotel in this bustling and growing urban center of half a million people.
Inspired by the endemic birds of Negros island, some already endangered, Roost Hotel was named by its owners based on how birds make their way to trees in the forests of Negros, once lush, now balding, that used to be home to endemic hardwood and wildlife.
On the walls of this hotel, local artists handpainted designs of endemic birds like the Negros bleeding heart, and fruit pigeons, flowerpeckers and babblers whose songs and chirps are being replaced by the hum of machines in the mountains or the occasional drone of Budots when politicians come visiting as the forest cover is fast receding, hotel marketing head Ma. Charise Reoner tells DNX.
Apart from the bird designs that pay homage to endemic species in the island (also a marketing tool in the age of Instagram), Roost is also putting its money into being a “green hotel” not only by name but also as part of its design.
And why a hyperlocal emphasis?
First, locals, not any conglomerate, not any chain, own Roost. Locals who grew up understanding local culture because they grew up in that culture.
If to some, painting birds on their walls are being environmentally-conscious already, the owners of Roost have taken it a step further.
“Environmental care is a priority,” Charise adds, which is why they decided to use solar panels for power, reused old wood in its interiors,” she explains.
There, too, are LED lighting that will not only cut power costs but also bring down heat and an interior atrium that uses natural light.
And a sewerage system, too. Approved by the environment department.
Guests can also have the chance to “support the environment” as the hotel does not use polyethylene terephthalate or (sorry for the tongue twister, high-density plastic bottles.
Plastic. Unlike the owners’ concern for Mother Earth.
Without bannering it as a tagline, all these scream GREEN hotel.
As a boutique hotel should be.
Perhaps, with all these features, tucked in a corner of a not-so-busy street, locals here could say that Roost is a place to stay for everyone, from whatever part of the world.
Or as we would say it: “Hapon ka man ukon indi, sa diin ka man halin, pwede ka gid diri ka hapon.”
“Japanese or not, from whatever part of the globe, you can roost here.”