Last weekend, I was invited to Human Nature's campaign for a cause. While all roads lead to Boracay to party at the biggest, and coolest event in the country every summer, I was boarded in a huge bus, sleeping with my backpack as unan and towel as my kumot, as the group exchanged their comfortable beds for a 6-hour ride to La Union.
Sun's already up when we reached our destination, the Urbiz Garden Place in La Union. I slept around 4am na the night before, so I made sure the 1am ride was dedicated to just recuperate from my lack of zzzs. It was still too early to check-in our hotel rooms, so first agenda was breakfast. This was simultaneous with the sand art to maximize our one-day trip to LU.
Ahhh.. sand, sea, sky... My favorite combination. :)
With this view, nagising lahat and started taking out their camera phones. Nature is indeed a gift, we are lucky and should take care of it bago sya mawala sa atin.
After eating, off we go to "Save Our Seas" at the sand art area - the main activity of this out-of-town event. The bayanihan artwork is headed by Sir AG Saño, a celebrated muralist and climate change advocate.
That's Sir AG with Human Nature's Wowie Meloto:
Not knowing that Sir AG was standing behind me, I asked the kuyas what we needed to do. The artist handed me this make-shift wooden sand rake, and told me to just follow the lines and smoothen the sand.
I am not a morning person, but this activity really woke me up. I love the challenge! I was also super curious kung ano na ba ang finoform namin. It was also super hot, so they distributed Human Nature's chemical-free sunblock.
We paused with the artwork as the sun continued to make it harder for us to work in the afternoon. We gathered in front of the stage for a while to learn about Human Nature and the SOS (Save Our Seas) Coastival initiative.
The event is in partnership with World Wide Find for Nature, Save Philippine Seas, Coastal Underwater Resource Management Actions - Project CURMA, and community-driven eco-tourism movement La Union Soul.
This first Human Nature Save Our Seas Coastival also highlighted how daily personal care habits - how we shower and slather - impacts our seas. The event hopes to inspire more vacationers to take conscious steps in protecting marine life, including limiting what they bring into open water.
Our Human Nature, eco-friendly kit:
“Saving Our Seas can be as simple as making sure that what goes down our shower drains won’t pollute our water ways & affect marine life. What we use on the beach does end up in open water. Over 5,000 metric tons of sunscreen containing coral-bleaching ingredients wash off from swimmers annually,” shares Anna Meloto-Wilk, Co-Founder and President of Human Nature’s.
More Human Nature products that I need to try:
Ngayon ko lang nalaman to, but turtles feed on jellyfish! When turtles die not only from the trash that we leave (who saw the straw video?!), but also from the chemicals from the products that we use, then there will be more and more jellyfish - making our favorite beaches less swimmable. Turtles are our friends!
Anyway, for the rest of the day, they allowed us to just enjoy La Union. There are several booths from their partners where we can learn more about their advocacies, and all sorts of fun beach activities that we can participate in.
Also, randomly, throughout the day, they signaled us through a certain music to pick up any trash in sight (cigarette butts, water bottles).
World Wide Fund for Nature, a group that will always empower the underprivileged and marginalized to promote equality and quanimity among all groups, while conserving our natural resources:
My first time to try Bayani Brew:
Save Philippine Seas:
A practice on segregating:
Our fun lunch set-up:
Hang-out in Meg Magazine's booth, where they gave everyone free buko juice! As you can see, they did not provide us straw, to practice what we preach:
Social media time! Our new friend Rica from Out of Town Blog, with Ava:
Ava and I also went on our own to explore the place:
We went to my friend @tracyayson's recommended coffee place, El Union:
The vibe in El Union is super "chill", and people there are very friendly. During our 24-hour stay in La Union, we dined here twice (for coffee break, and then breakfast the next day), and was able to get to know people who decided to take a "break" in life... And stay in La Union. Nakaka inspire sila!
LU's famous smores + iced coffee and cookie skillet. Everything's good, TBH!
The best grilled cheese sandwich:
We went up El Union's second floor, and discovered their Co-Working Space where people can work, read books, set meetings, attend the yoga classes, etc. Sobrang maaliwalas ng lugar. I like it here already!
Late in the afternoon, Ava and I decided to go back to the group.
Our reading materials c/o Meg and Travel Now:
We also participated in Paolo Soler's Poi 101, while others tried the Capoeira and Yoga. It was my second time to try poi, but still, my coordination failed me! Haha. It was fun though, a nice way to loosen up and also meet new people.
When the sun wasn't so harsh na, we got back to work with the whole group. The sand art measured over 180 meters long and followed the "leave no trace" principle - no paints, plastics, or any other materials were used - only sand, water, and flat wood rakes were used to create it.
This, while we enjoyed good live music:
During the event, I also learned that only one percent of turtle hatchlings will come back in twenty years.
"They will come back to hatch in the place where they were born and it’s our task to make sure that they have a home," shares Toby Tamayo, Founder of Project CURMA.
Tamayo narrates that they are happy to be working with former pawikan poachers who are now Project CURMA volunteers. He emphasized that many turn to poaching because of abject poverty.
Final touches and cool drone documentation with the whole group! I am proud to take part of this cause. I learned a lot, and also, it inspired me to become a better person. I realized that the beach is ours to take care of. If we can't help in restoring it, AT LEAST do not contribute to its destruction.
Sunset was spent swimming with @artsyava. Side story lang, I left my contact lens at home kaya naka glasses lang ako the whole time. Nakakatawa kasi BV na BV ako that morning when I realized I left my whole vanity kit at home sa pagmamadali. Things turned in full 360 throughout the day as I realized that there are far more bigger things in life to care about than vanity.
When I saw a Boracay local's interview in When In Manila after this beach weekend, I wished that I have enough money to go to my favorite beach in the country and start a clean-up drive. I hope that more brands will extend their campaign... Not just leave after the party, but also initiate a post-LaBoracay clean-up. Like an after-party na mas cool pa, hahaha!
We enjoyed the view, took photos and posted them on Instagram pa nga! Don't we want to have THIS for many many more years to come?
We were back in the bus when I saw our sand art's drone photo. SOS: Save Our Seas. I love the turtle detail! Congrats and thank you Human Nature for starting with this initiative... I really hope that more brands will follow. :)
For more information, visit Human Nature: Save Our Seas. Special thanks to Jenny Suguitan for having me!