One of the best things about this bike trip is getting the chance to talk to so many people working on their own goals for a better world. When I feel like an ant, at least I know I am not alone. After all many ants can move big things! Here are some of my favourites…
Straw Wars Philippines, Dumaguete
Nikko and his team at Silliman University are on a quest to ban plastic drinking straws. They are advocates for saying no to the straws and since we visited them at Silliman they’ve managed to procure some students to make them bamboo straws so they can encourage establishments that must use straws to at least go natural. Inspirational stuff guys, we are behind you every step of the way.
La Casita De Baclayon, Bohol
Sometimes we stay in luxurious places that don’t feel right. I think its because luxury can sometimes mean a disconnect from nature. La Casita de Baclayon merges luxury and nature in one. From the minute I cycled down the driveway I felt at peace, sunset pinks were scattered through the abundant vegetation. The place is so open and airy. Green everywhere. Healthy.
The Pedersons in Baclayon have big visions for the future. Not only are they running an amazing B&B employing many from the local community, they are also working towards longer term livelihood projects under the banner of the El Casa Foundation. Inherently these projects don’t just care about people but the environment. They are making their own chutneys.
They are also making their own natural dyes from plants on the property for woven raffia. This project involves local weavers and the Baclayon community. They haven’t just managed to make earthy tones from the plants, they’ve even managed to make different shades of blue. It’s amazing to see these natural dyes.
If you’re in Bohol please stay with these guys and learn more about their amazing community projects!
People and the Sea, Malapascua Island
In only a year People and the Sea have set up an incredible NGO that is not only focused on Marine Conservation but also extremely active in all aspects of the local community.
They have started community gardens, school lessons, water projects, and a network of homestays so that their volunteers can fully immerse themselves in the local community.
I absolutely recommend these guys if you are going to stay on Malapascua. Obviously I am a big advocate for traveling with a purpose. Actually it’s the selfish thing to do as you get so much more out of the experience by giving back. Yes voluntourism is something incredibly hard to get right, but these guys are living on the island and have long-term goals and a commitment to the community. If you join one of People and the Seas expeditions you will have the opportunity to swim with the thresher sharks, to collect data for marine conservation, and add your inputs to their long-term community projects.
Marine Conservation Philippines
Like People and the Sea these guys are extremely committed to the community in Zamboanguita, organising weekly beach clean ups, providing lesson plans on plastic pollution that are open source, and drawing on a committed team of dive volunteers to collect reef data. Set near the amazing dive playground of Apo island there is no doubt that these guys are contributing to a better world. Not to mention they did a dive clean up to kick-start my Plastic Free Philippines project and were able to collect around 10 sacks of trash from the ocean. Kudos.
At the end of this trip I would love to create a network of committed organisations all keen to see a reduction in plastic on the beaches and in the oceans of the Philippines. That way we can share information on what has worked in our local areas. Stay tuned!