Archive for Green

Green Buying Guide

Posted in Agri Tourism, Coron, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Sustainable Living with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2013 by Sustainability Guru
Tokyo Midtown Champagne Illumination

Tokyo Midtown Champagne Illumination

Note: First published in December 2010, we have updated this blog with some news and great green items! Enjoy!

For a non-Christian country, Japan celebrates Christmas to the max, but not for traditional or religious reasons. Not to mention that most Christmas trees and decor are depressing blue color lights! Singapore inaugurated the Orchard Christmas light up with no less than their President, a national event to herald shopping hoarders.   Ti’s the season of extreme enterprise just like everywhere in the globe. In the Philippines, they put up the Yuletide trimmings as early as September, to bring the holiday cheers early amidst typhoon time. It’s simply a silly spell of trash and bash for profitable purposes. So before your Christmas becomes just a blur of stress and duress, get guided by these holiday eco ethos and lighten your impact to the environment.


1. Buy green gifts.  Consider eco-friendly and socially-conscious products and think about impact and environment when buying gifts. Remember the environmental effort and message gives more meaning, so look for a green approach for each gift: i.e. organic products, reusable, recyclable and really useful.

2. Reuse, reduce & recycle. Be creative in practicing these principles: reuse gift wrappers, reduce waste, recycle unused gift items and give them off. These 3Rs in gift giving is not only economical but less stressful!

Echo Store Gift Bag

3. Eco shopping bags. Bring your reusable shopping bags when heading out to your gift buying spree this season and avoid plastic bags abound. Check out these ideas from Echo Store, Serendra, Philippines.

Reusable gift box from Echo Store

Reusable gift box from Echo Store

Reusable Gift basket from Echo Store

Reusable Gift basket from Echo Store

4. Shop online. Save fuel and energy. Instead of charging out in traffic and lining up kilometric queues in stores, shop online instead! Items purchased online can be delivered straight to your recipient, so it can also cut down effort in personal delivery and again, fuel in driving around to give those gifts!

Save energy, avoid rush crowds!

5. Cool gift certificates. Instead of buying ordinary gifts, buy something special like a concert ticket, spa certificate, book club or gym trial and the like.  Your friend will think of you as a cool and considerate giver.

Green Gift-GCs

Green Gift-GCs

6. Gift of charity. As a great alternative to buying another picture frame, mug or socks for the person who may not need more of the same, give them the gift of charity, a donation to an environmental project or to any other organization for the needy. Donate to these charities or purchase gift cards in their name- donation for a community devastated by typhoon, solar power for grassroots families,  or reconstruction of a school in ruins, etc. There are so many humanitarian and environmental organizations in need of support where you can contribute, in the name of a friend.

Donate for Green Reconstruction

Donate for Green Reconstruction

7. Christmas cards from recycled paper. Thousands of cards each year are bought every yuletide season. Consider the alternative E-greeting card and if you must, buy Christmas cards from recycled paper. Think Amazon Forest and deforestation before you buy that Christmas card.

Macrame Bags made by Aeta Community

Macrame Bags made by Aeta Community

8. Biodegradable wrappers and bows.  Use recycled paper and natural materials instead of plastic or metallic wrappers and bows. Needless to say, they’re easier to dispose and less harmful to the environment. These calls again for creativity: reuse materials, or make the wrapping part of the gift, such as scarves, baskets and or reusable decorative boxes.

9. Re-chargeable batteries. When buying battery operated toys, encourage use of re-chargeable batteries; educate children as early as tots about the proper use of recharging – they’re not only eco friendly but also economical.

Going (green with) banana xmas tree!

11. Live instead of plastic Xmas tree. Purchase a live tree to use as Christmas tree and it doesn’t have to be a traditional fir. Santa will not scold you if you use other foliage as Christmas tree as you can re-plant them in your yard after the holidays. Besides, it serves a natural indoor air purifier. Use natural décor non-plastic, non-hazardous materials and low consumption lights.

12. Avoid wasteful consumption. Think.Eat.Save. as UNEP campaign goes. Christmas is a garbage fest. Before the gift opening and feasting begins, set up your garbage disposals accordingly – for cans, bottles, paper etc. Again, practice the pre- and post party 3Rs. Remember to be thankful, not wasteful.

Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your footprint Campaign by UNEP.

13. Last but not the least, if you are planning to spend Christmas holidays elswhere, travel green and make your vacation more meaningful with our Green Travel ideas. Support our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. – SSTDI campaign for Green Reconstruction of Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron, Palawan, in the Philippines. Help our grassroot communities recover their livelihood, with sustainable reconstruction and green energy. 

Support Green Reconstruction for Coron

 Christmas has almost lost its essence due to over- commercialization and excessive hype. Make your Yuletide more meaningful and less stressful. Think outside the gift box a little and you can have greener Holidays that may benefit the environment and humanity. Is your Christmas green? Share your eco holiday season tips, please add them to the comments section!

Photo Credits: Echo Store for the Reusable Gift Packs, Gift Bags. Tokyo Midtown for its Champagne Illumination.


Easy to be Eco! Ways to be environment-friendly

Posted in Coron, Environment, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Living with tags , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

Start at home!

Be the change that you want to see in the world” – Ghandi

Save the Philippine coral reefs!

There is so much hoopla about the “rape of the ocean”, switching off lights on “Earth Hour”, landslide disasters due to deforestation and mountains of garbage and plastic within our city, that we are just getting confounded and confused by the day on how we can start doing our part for the earth.

Climate change and global warming?

We complain no end about smog and pollution, filthy floods on typhoons aftermaths, brownouts/blackouts, water shortage, epidemics and uncollected garbage, yet we do not even know where to begin to solve these “environmental” and basic utilities issues.

Every election, we try to choose public officials who are supposed to bring progress to our cities, but end up mostly with broken promises. Then, when a natural catastrophe happens, it is the only time we see them again, “working to the rescue” and aid their constituents, but mostly for publicity and ratings. And we are supposed to know better!

So, how do we really begin to do our part, in being eco-friendly and help protect the environment? If Kids found organization to save endangered species and college students become “Green Ambassadors”, for sure we can do it, too! Simple, we begin at home, with our families and with our own neighborhood. Here are some easy, no-brainer, beginner eco steps:

Live frugally. Just buy the basics

1. Live frugally.
Eco also means economic, and in these hard times, we have to learn to live simply. We don’t have to wait for a disaster (such as the Japan earthquake) to start saving electricity, water; go prudent on clothes or shoes shopping and the like. Just buy the basics.

2. Start your car pool and commute wisely. Save up on gas, parking expenses and carbon emissions with commuting. Avoid taking taxis and you will be surprised how much transport savings you will have at the end of the month!

Reduce toxins. Identify and segregate!

3. Practice proper waste segregation. Here in Tokyo, garbage will not be collected if you don’t separate correctly Avoid using plastics, BYOB. Bring your own bag. Not just to the supermarket but every time you shop. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Be an eco-model among your neighbors and teach them as well. Clean and green your neighborhood.

4. Save electricity. Un-plug all appliances including your PC when not in use. Best to use power strips for multiple appliances and un-plug these so you cut-off most if not, all at the same time. You will see a dip your electricity bill when you start doing this.

5. Save on water. During rainy season, practice rain catchment and store clean rainwater to wash your car or water your garden. This is big water savings for the next dry season!

Rainwater catchment systems

6. When going on a trip, start travelling responsibly. Pack light to avoid excess baggage fees and carbon emissions. Travel to cultural and natural sights but make sure your activities do not destroy the traditions and environment you visit. Start giving back to communities whose natural and traditional resources are threatened or endangered, or even join volunteer trips.

The Coron Initiative – volunteer vacation

7. Last but not the least, get educated, enlightened, pro-active in being green. Make sure to learn at least one sustainable tip a day. There are millions of resources onlineYahoo Green is a great portal with many useful sources on living green,  nature, food & health, recycling, energy, technology and other essential topics. You can also follow yours truly on Twitter for more on sustainability practices.

These may be small and simple steps, but if done altogether with your ‘hood and city, and serve as an example for your province or region, more people will take notice and before you know it, millions in the country will follow suit. When we make a  difference in our own small way, collectively, this will make a big impact and perhaps, we can convince our so called “public servants”, to start doing their jobs, too.

How do you think you can do your part? Share and let us know!

The Coron Initiative, towards sustainable Coron and Calamianes islands

Posted in Clean Blue Asia, Coron, Good Governance, Green Hotels, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , , , on October 6, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

Foreword. Coron, Palawan, Philippines (site of The Coron Initiative– UNEP APFED Sustainable Tourismshowcase program) welcomes visitors back on its way to recovery after the Typhoon Haiyan devastation. Linking Green Resconstruction for Sustainability & Resilience, restoration, protection and tourism while helping boost the grassroots cultural and natural heritage. Book with Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours or Coron Ecotours, our ground tour operator in Coron. 

Support Green Reconstruction of Coron for Sustainability and Resilience

Support Green Reconstruction of Coron for Sustainability and Resilience

It was providential that I met Al Linsangan III, an Environmental photographer by passion and ecotourism operator by profession, Executive Director of the Coron & Calamianes Cultural Conservation Networks Inc., our lead NGO Advocate for The Coron Initiative,  working towards sustainable Coron in the next millennium.

The Coron Initiative Capacity Building Series on Sustainable Tourism Development & Stewardship,  Environmental Conservation & Green growth for grassroots

The Coron Initiative Capacity Building Series on Sustainable Tourism Development & Stewardship, Environmental Conservation & Green growth for grassroots

Coron Ancestral domain, Calamianes group of islands

Soon after graduating from his Economics course, in what the Westerns would call their “gap year”, Al took off from his home town, Coron to venture across on the island next door of the same name and lived in the ancestral domain of the indigenous cultural communities of the Tagbanuas, immersing himself in its primitive living culture while wandering in its natural wonders. From then on, Al trained and worked his way to become Coron, Palawan’s Eco expert in the truest sense.

Saving Siete Pecados Marine Sanctuary

Trailblazing training. His training through the years boasts of a broad reach of Ecological awareness and Geotourism know-how: from Bird watching basics to Reef assessment course, from Environmental interpretation to Project Learning Tree & Water Education for Teachers (WET) workshops. To further his knowledge on the geological and environmental character of his native region, he trained in a Fisheries management & assessment workshop, under the USAID-F.I.S.H. project and the Sustainable environment management program for Northern Palawan. In the field of tourism, his groundwork is rock solid: a Product development workshop, Tour guide training, and Hotel and restaurant services, management and consultancy as well as his employment with environmental NGOs, natural parks & wildlife management, a cruise/dive company, among others.

Focus on Environmental Photography

To promote his hometown natural specialties and splendor, he took a Basic and  Advanced Photography course, while doing actual research literally on the road about the local arts and crafts, criss-crossing his province. All these, plus various workshops in management, leadership, paralegal, emergency first response, solid and ecological waste management, as well as internship in a natural protected area management, Al has practically learned and earned veritable and valuable credentials as an innovative and trailblazing Conservation connoisseur.   




Eco Entrepreneur. With all these up his sleeve and hard earned capital in his pocket, he set out to establish several creative and authentic SME operations, to include Coron Galeri, an arts and crafts shop and Palawan Outdoors, an adventure specialist and expanded to Calamianes Expeditions and Eco tours, a low-priced full serviced tours utilizing the local service groups such as tour guides, boat men, restaurants and caterers, his Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at grassroots application. He then sat as President of Calamianes Association of Tourism Establishment in 2008-2009. Aside from these, he set up the Calamianes Conservation & Cultural Networks Inc. (CCCN), an NGO that took part in the restoration and establishment of the Siete Pecados Marine Park, a coral reef sanctuary and the Calamian Geographic Society (a group of outdoor oriented youths supporting the programs of CCCN, Tribu Calamianen, a Palawan indigenous cultural music group (see, I told you he looked like a band member!), Calamian Planet Online Internet Café and ultimately Al3 Studios.

Award winning photo of Banol Beach, Coron

His current focus is on Environmental photography and videography (no pun intended) where he dramatically depicts images of people, arts & culture, underwater, landscapes, events, cultural and historical heritage, most were featured in brochures, calendars, magazines and coffee table books while some were award winning.

Now more than ever, Al has a new challenge in the Ecological call of duty, establishing The Coron Initiative©, a vanguard Conservation, Social Responsibility and Sustainable Tourism model for Northern Palawan, with a comprehensive coverage to surpass all so-called paradigm of ecotourism practices.

Al Linsangan, leading the way forward

The Coron Initiative by the Calamianes Conservation & Cultural Networks Inc. (CCCN) headed by Al Linsangan as Executive Director, will be working with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & Clean Blue Asia, Sustainable Beach Management.

Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs for communities and destinations  include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Prevention and Management with UNEP’s GPA Manila Declaration, DENR’s Integrated Coastal Management Program & Coral Triangle Initiative guidelines. Educational programs are customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general.

Zero Carbon Resorts helping SMEs in the tourism industry reduce carbon footprints

Green Hotels Asia Pacific our network of reliable eco-responsible hotels

CLEAN BLUE ASIA is the new industry standard for beach management and safety – ISO 13009  – the “Clean Blue Industry Standard” CBIS – to help provide beach operators with the information and guidance to effectively manage the beaches of Asia – Pacific.

For more info visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

All photos of Coron are courtesy of Al3 Photography & Videography