Archive for sustainable living

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.


PJ’s take on Greening Boracay

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , on July 21, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

PJ Aranador, International Environmental Design Activist, Nautilus Boutique owner in Boracay and consultant for Go Green Philippines wrote his comments to my blog post, “Boracay Beckons”.  This is his take about environmental concerns and issues that we must deal with on the island.


Nautilus in Boracay, by PJ Aranador, International Environmental Design Activist

 I support you and the rest of those who will join us. Ecological destruction is still reversible in Boracay now, that is when many will act together. “One is too small a number to achieve greatness!” so to say. And if you are alone in this cause, you are in a lonely planet. And at this time I know you are in this stage. Ah, who will listen? Any hearts? So count me in.

We can start with simple basic ECO-solutions. CLEAN UP!

The task is huge! Nobody can do it alone and we all co-exist in doing so, the public included. We can start with simple basic ECO-solutions. CLEAN UP!  I still see horrendous plastic cups and ice-candy bags, cigarette butts, empty beer bottles at the beach. Scour the beach every morning after the big night parties or just one of those regular lazy days. The scenario is harsh. Many tourists and local vendors’ attitude is unforgiving:  “We can throw anything anywhere and everywhere in Boracay because we pay environmental fees, taxes and whatever!” So why, bother when there are six to ten teams of four people every morning cleaning up the entire long stretch of the beach?

The arithmetic is not that simple for so little number of people to clean up other’s people thrash. For over 30,000 tourists coming to Boracay each month, the cleaners are out-numbered! Count the locals in and the businesses’ staff members in and it swells to thousands more. And we are only talking about trash. We can draw up an environmental “Shit list”. How about poor environmental sanitation? Inland water swamps which were trapped due to land filled for tall buildings to rise? Break water structures that destroy the shoreline ecological balance which washes away the white Boracay sand and replace them with rough rocks.

Too many boats spoil the beach: it's a matter of simple NATURE HOUSEKEEPING. It is our responsibility-each one of us becomes a nature police

This is not even money issue from environmental fees and taxes, etc. It is responsibility. It is simple NATURE HOUSEKEEPING. Each one of us becomes a nature police. Each is an eco-friendly disciple— a follower, a mentor, a teacher, a crusader. Each reminding one another of our abuses to nature. Apparently, it is a process. As the ECO-EVERYTHING CAMPAIGN outlines, it starts from AWARENESS, IMPLEMENTATION and finally CERTIFICATION. In the near future, one will be certified as a CARBON NEUTRAL CITIZEN OF THE WORLD. If you are not, shame on you!

Top TOO heavy.Sustainable Eco-construction must be organic shapes in harmony with the environment, match site topography, respect the integrity of the landscape with appropriate scale

I once talked with old folks in Boracay and they say that Boracay is a mushroom shaped island, meaning the base underwater is smaller than the landmass on top of water. They said that over- construction may not be good for the island. It is like an overweight body with weak legs. Top heavy. We can compare it to our knees which have ligaments that act like scaffoldings. When the weight is too heavy, the scaffolding collapses. I am not a marine biologist or ecologist by profession, but I reckon, some wise old folks may know better by common sense.

Sustainability is a renewable leadership amongst each one of us. If we are not all careful, I would say 25 years from now, or even less, Boracay environmental abuse may be irreversible. And it would be a grim reality. A turquoise paradise turned into a muddy nightmare.

Let us not wait for Boracay environmental abuse to be irreversible and a grim reality: A turquoise paradise turned into a muddy nightmare

Each living creature who can talk and think on the soil of Boracay should understand and protect each and living creature who cannot talk but are capable of thinking while within the waters and vegetations of the island. We do not take away their natural rights to live as creatures on earth. We do not take away their habitation. Theirs is more delicate than ours. Theirs is more sensitive than ours. Theirs is a support system that makes ours inter-dependently sustainable. The law of natural significance is that we co-habit in symbiotic relationship with our natural environments. It is absolute. When there is no nature, there is no life for all of us. Without our eco-systems, we will all perish.

Carelessness and greed- we know that we are all GUILTY in our lives that we have cut a helpless tree, thrown plastic in the sea which were mistaken as food by the fishes and they die

Many years in the past, we fear that planetary collision, meteors hitting the earth or similar extra-terrestrial forces will endanger our planet. Today, it turns out we are all killing ourselves with our carelessness and greed. Inside all of us, we know that we are all GUILTY in our lives that we have cut a helpless tree, thrown plastic in the sea which were mistaken as food by the fishes and they die; abuse the use of too much electricity and we do not care if oil spills on the ocean floor. We build where we are not suppose to build driving away the littlest creature that lives there to be replaced by a concrete jungle than preserve a life that gives forth support to other lives to co-exist in harmony.

Indeed, we are destroying our only habitation faster than we think.


PJ Aranador launched the green for good projects of the Go Green Philippines & Bijoux Cebu at the Accessories, The Show in Javits Center, New York City last year. A preview to his collection “Green Waters: The Ocean Floor” held its world premiere in Shangri-La Mactan Resort Cebu also last year.  Ms. Janet Chua, A Piece of Green boutique owner in D’Mall Boracay and founder of is also supporting our Boracay Initiative.  

How do you think you can green Boracay Island? Thank you in anticipation of your your support –  please post your comments.