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"A society grows great when the elders plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." - Greek Proverb


About Us

The Asian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is a non-profit and non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to conserving biological diversity and developing sustainable communities by providing technical and funding support for conservation and community development projects and initiatives.

ACF seeks to achieve long-term conservation of globally significant marine and coastal biodiversity through innovative partnerships involving private companies, like-minded conservation organizations and the host communities. ACF projects are focused mainly in El Nido, Palawan.


Our vision is that of sustainable local communities which meaningfully participate in and equitably benefit from the conservation of their biological diversity resources.


To move towards the attainment of our vision, we shall commit to:

1. Provide grants and/or technical support to local community-based organizations for projects and programs that conserve biodiversity resources.

2. Stimulate and/or create financing mechanisms that support/provide initial incremental costs of biodiversity conservation programs or projects in identified priority areas/communities.

3. Promote and facilitate the creation of a network of private sector entities committed to advancing sustainable biodiversity resources in communities where business operated or intend to operate.

4. Initiate the development and/or implementation of community-based biodiversity conservation projects or programs where no CBO (Community- based Organization) exists or qualifies to undertake projects (and endorse/ turn-over such to an entity that is capacitated by ACF).

5. Build capacity of priority local communities in the management and implementation of biodiversity resources.

Board of Trustees

Leigh Talmage-Pérez – Chairperson

Leigh is Chairman of the Asian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and served as President of the Asian Conservation Company (ACC) from 2001 until its sale in November 2013. ACC owned Ten Knots Group and its multi-award winning El Nido Resorts. Founded in 2001 by venture philanthropists, ACC leveraged private equity investment with grant funds, specifically from GEF/World Bank and Seacology, to carry out biodiversity conservation in critical areas of the Philippines. A sustainable financing model of landing fees, corporate donations, and individual user fees, established a future of environmental protection and community benefits in those areas. In related affiliations, Leigh was Treasurer of the El Nido Foundation, a Trustee of The Beacon Academy, and is currently a member of the National Advisory Council of WWF-Philippines.

Marie Franchesca Amatong – Executive Director

Chestnut is currently Executive Director of ACF. She is also associated with other environment-based organizations such as WWF Philippines (conservation and climate change) and the Philippine SIKAT Solar Challenge Foundation (renewable energy) and is currently a consultant to Alternergy Philippines, a renewable energy developer. Prior to her involvement in NGOs, Chestnut, whose experience is in trading and treasury operations, was part of the management team that handled several foreign investment funds under the Next Century Partners group, a Philippine-based investment advisory company. In the early years of her career, she was a fixed income trader in both Peso and USD denominated debt securities and later on, traded in the Japanese Government Bond (JGBs) futures market as well.

Mariglo I. Laririt - President

Mariglo is currently the Director for the Environment of El Nido Resorts in Palawan. As its Environment Director for over ten years, she has paved the way for El Nido Resorts into becoming one of the world’s best eco-tourism resorts, having received numerous local and international awards, the most notable of which was the 2013 World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Community Benefit Award. She has published papers on sustainable tourism and has been asked to present in several conferences and forums on eco-tourism in the Philippines and in other countries as well. Marigs has a BS degree in Biology from the University of the Philippines.

Luisito Pangilinan – Treasurer

Louie is Manager of Finance at Merritt Partners. A Certified Public Accountant, Louie has over 12 years of experience in financial analysis, modelling and evaluation. Since joining Merritt Partners, he has worked on significant projects. Louie was part of the team that evaluated the commercial prospects of several renewable power projects in the Philippines. Also recently, he conducted a comprehensive financial assessment and forecast for a biodiesel plant being acquired by a petroleum company.

Vince Pérez – Trustee

Vince is currently Chairman of the Alternergy Group of Companies and Chairman of WWF-Philippines where he was one of the founding trustees since 1996. Mr. Perez is a Trustee of the WWF-International Board and a member of the advisory board of the Yale Center for Business and Environment.

Mr. Pérez was Philippine Secretary of Energy from June 2001 to March 2005. He boosted energy self-sufficiency, promoted clean indigenous energy, and crafted an ambitious renewable energy policy framework. After his cabinet stint, he was a World Fellow at Yale University from 2005 to 2006, where he researched and lectured an MBA class on various policy frameworks that promote renewable power in emerging countries. He has also consulted for ADB and IFC on renewable energy policy.

Dr. Mark Erdmann - former Trustee

Mark is the Senior Advisor to Conservation International’s Indonesia Marine Program, with a primary focus on managing CI’s marine conservation initiatives in Raja Ampat and the Bird’s Head Seascape in Papua. He is a coral reef ecologist who has lived and worked for the past 20 years in Indonesia, with frequent excursions to neighboring countries in the Coral Triangle including the Philippines. Though his work is now largely focused on marine conservation and the management of marine protected areas (MPAs), his continuing research interests include reef fish biodiversity, mantis shrimp ecology and systematic, genetic connectivity of MPA networks and reef restoration techniques. He served on the El Nido Foundation Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2015 and helped lead El Nido EcoReefs reef rehabilitation project in Tres Marias.