40 Under 40: Meet the new breed of game changers in Cebu (Environment & Sustainability)

“SunStar Cebu: 40 Under 40” is a campaign by SunStar Publishing Inc. in celebration of SunStar Cebu’s 40th anniversary. The campaign identifies and recognizes 40 Cebuano individuals no older than 40 years old who have greatly influenced and contributed to their respective fields of expertise.

On the days leading up to the anniversary on Nov. 25, these individuals will be featured in separate lifestyle articles that cover each category—from Tech & Innovation all the way down to Business. A special publication release will be scheduled on Nov. 23 covering all categories and honorees.

Today, Nov. 11, meet the candidates who placed a prime on environment and sustainability not only in Cebu but also in Central Visayas. Couple Marvin and Sheryl Mariñas; Core Capital founders Carlo Delantar, Jason Gaisano and Ken Ngo; and environment and sustainability advocate Fiona Lim. All have made incredible strides in pioneering sustainability in their chosen fields.

Marvin (38) and Sheryl (36) Mariñas

M+S Studio architect, M+S Studio interior designer

Marvin and Sheryl Mariñas founded M+S Studio which focuses on providing nature-inspired and sustainable design of built spaces, and the preservation and improvement of its natural environment.

They intend to spread appreciation in simple, minimalist and semi-outdoor living as the couple themselves homed with three native trees inside their tree-hugger home in the mountain with mostly screens and just a little bit of solid wall to separate them from the world outside.

“Our end goal is to share our visions through the proof of concepts that we’ve built that are achievable by simple means and that using an alternative sustainable building material such as bamboo, will not just lower the carbon emissions of the industry but can also make an impact on people’s lives for this generation and most importantly for the future generations whom we.”

To further their advocacies, the couple will continue to host bamboo design and build training, permaculture workshops, Nature Youth Camps and Kid’s Green Camps.

Carlo Delantar (30), Jason Gaisano (34) and Ken Ngo (33)

Core Capital founders

Venture capital firm Core Capital was founded by a group of young Cebuano entrepreneurs and friends—Carlo Delantar, Jason Gaisano and Ken Ngo—who had the same vision for sustainability.

It first funded the Gobi-Core Philippines Fund, which is co-managed by Gobi Partners. Founded in 2002, Gobi has raised 15 funds to date, invested in over 320 startups and nurtured nine unicorns all over Asia-Pacific.

“The Gobi-Core PH Fund focuses on holistic ecosystem development. Opportunity for Cebu is boundless being a major trading and BPO hub. We see the technology industry unlocked by Cebu to impact the Visayas and Mindanao regions, creating sustainable development.”

Individually, the three maintain illustrious careers.

Gaisano handles the developmental arm of Taft Properties, a real estate development company under the Vicsal holdings umbrella of his family. Prior to working for the family business, Gaisano worked as an associate for a boutique private equity firm in New York focusing on deals related to health tech, biotech, asset management, and fintech.

Ngo is an award-winning entrepreneur and was recognized as the 2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) for his work in the hospitality industry and real estate development.

Ngo is also a member of the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines, where he was awarded the 2014 Most Outstanding President and served as its 2017 executive vice president.

Delantar is an award-winning social entrepreneur working at the nexus of environmental opportunities and challenges in the Philippines. Awarded with the Development Award and the Bayanihan Award from former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, he is also recognized as a Top 30 under 30 innovator by numerous publications including the most recent one being 2018 Forbes Asia 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs.

Fiona Lim, 34

Youth for Livable Cebu founder

Environment and sustainability advocate

Fiona Lim has become a household name for environment and sustainability in her younger years in Cebu when she founded the Youth for Livable Cebu (YLC).

The program started various initiatives that encouraged the youth to think about sustainability and start their own programs and practices to protect the environment.

As Lim married, she moved with her husband to Negros Island in late 2021 to pursue their dream of co-creating a medicinal wood forest in the Philippines.

“It has been a long, arduous process to declutter, simplify, and realign all my beliefs, values, and choices to be worthy of answering this Divine assignment. I am exchanging the rush of living in a city, the income of running a family business, and the pressure of achieving big for a well-balanced, slow life of inner ease, self-compassion, and flowing creativity,” said Lim.

For years, she has been an advocate of personal transformation, inner healing, and sacred empowerment to be the change she wanted to see in the world.

The couple’s piece of land in Negros is a space of love that is shared to all their relations in Cebu. They envision it to be a learning hub on how to live successfully on planet earth with reverence, honor and respect to all beings.

“May I be your guide to teach by example that through aligning ourselves with our uniqueness, we will get what we need. May I inspire my fellow Cebuanos to follow your individual, unique path carved only for you to tread, whatever it takes, wherever that leads you,” she added.

Follow SunStar Lifestyle for the next edition of “SunStar Cebu: 40 Under 40.”