Promisedland Resort in eastern Taiwan encourages guests to bring along spare stuff for benefit of needy children

The Promised Land Resort (花蓮理想大地渡假村) in central Hualien, eastern Taiwan has embarked on a “bring your spare stuff and bring back a kilogram of love” campaign to benefit needy children in a community near the resort

The Promisedland Resort in Hualien, eastern Taiwan

The Promisedland Resort in Hualien, eastern Taiwan (By Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—The Promisedland Resort (花蓮理想大地渡假村) in central Hualien, eastern Taiwan has embarked on a “bring back a kilogram of love” campaign to benefit needy children in a community near the resort by calling on visitors to bring their used or spare stuff with them when they visit the resort and donate to a local shrift store, which the resort routinely take its guests to visit.

As a guest of the resort on March 15 and 16, I witnessed the good deed the resort is doing for the local children.

Promisedland, a sprawling resort of 250 hectares set between the Central Mountain Range and the Coastal Mountain Range in Shoufeng Township, was founded 15 years ago by Liang Ching-cheng ( 梁清政 ), a devoted Catholic. The resort’s most prominent features are its Spanish-style architecture and a canal that meanders through the entire housing area. Therefore, each of its 262 guest rooms and suites affords beautiful views of the canal.

The Promisedland Resort

On the afternoon of March 15, a hotel bus took a busload of guests, including me, to a vintage Japanese-style house in front of TRA Fengtian Station in the neighboring Fengtian Village. The originally dilapidated house was refurbished and turned into a thrift shop, which depends on donation of used and spare stuff from the public, according to a tour guide at the store. The house has also been used as an activity center for local children,the guide said.

The multi-purpose house, which was given the special name “House of Five Tastes”(五味屋), opened in August 2008, and it has been the place where local children in need do their homework, learn how to run a business, and play together, an introduction on the shop’s website said.

The store sells a surprisingly wide variety of donated commodities, ranging from hairpins, stationery, bags, toys, electronic devices and small home appliances. The proceeds of the store go into running the store and providing support to the children.

The House of Five Tastes'

'The House of Five Tastes' sells a great variety of items

'The House of Five Tastes' sells a great variety of items

According to the introduction to the shop, children attending the shop have to solve problems they face in running the store, including making display shelves and posters from existing materials in the house, helping raise used and spare stuff to fill up empty shelves, and learning how to answer shoppers’ questions and react when they are bargaining over the price.

Children will get merit points according to the work they contribute to the store, with which to get the items they need and to earn opportunities for them to participate in outside activities.

On the morning of March 16, after enjoying a rich breakfast buffet, I participated in an activity package in the resort, which included taking a canal tour on a boat as well as attending leather sculpture and coffee making classes.

After having a delicious set lunch cooked by the resort’s Spanish chef, I continued to participate in another activity package, which included a bamboo raft tour that took me and other guests around the resort’s ecological park, where a great variety of plants grow, a guided trip around the park, as well as classes that teach guests how to make pizza and a fragrant pouch.

Thanks to the classes, I was able to taste the coffee I made from grinding roasted coffee beans with a manual coffee grinder and eat the pizza I made from making my own dough for the first time in my life.

The bamboo raft ride

My finished products from the leather sculpture and coffee making classes

My finished products from the pizza making and fragrant poach making classes

I also learned from Promisedland staff that many couples have chosen the resort for their wedding as the resort has an outdoor grill area that perfectly caters to the need.

I feel Promisedland is truly a great resort for families and lovebirds and generally a good place for “slow living” and relaxation.

The resort is about 45 minutes from the Danongdafu Forest Park (大農大富平地森林園區) in the county’s Guangfu Township (光復鄉), where the annual month-long firefly season started on March 17. On the night of March 15, I participated in a pre-opening firefly viewing trip co-organized by the resort and Forestry Bureau’s Hualien Forest District Office, which manages the forest, and saw a satisfying amount of fireflies beaming lights in the dark forest.

The photo was taken at the Danongdafu Forest Park last year when the firefly season was at its peak (photo courtesy of Forestry Bureau’s Hualien Forest District Office)

As I was impressed by the ambiance of Promisedland, I was even more impressed by the charity campaign the resort has been engaging in as the resort is still reeling from the ripple effect of the February 6 earthquake. According to Promisedland Resort General Manager Jerry Kang, even though the resort was intact by the quake, it still lost about NT$20 million from cancellations and reduced bookings due to the quake.