Taking a Stand for the Earth


In recent years, I have become more conscious of the impact of plastic pollution. Tons of plastic end up in the seas, and these cause great harm to the animals who ingest them – hundreds of them dying choked or trapped by the plastic. Knowing how these animals suffer break my heart, and there was a time a couple of years ago that I had a break from Facebook because I was deeply bothered by animal photos. I appreciate that many countries have taken big steps to reduce the plastic pollution. In the Philippines, I know that some cities have already moved to paper bags in the supermarket counters, or switching to paper straws in cafes. I have also seen more effort in terms of waste segregation, where composting and recycling are encouraged. But we have a long way to go in this war against plastic pollution. D and I join coastal cleanups regularly, and I feel that the amount of trash in the oceans are just not getting any lesser.

As I  start this year, I made a pledge to go as plastic-free as much as I could. I locked in this pledge at National Geographic’s Choose the Planet campaign. The goal is to prevent 1 billion items from reaching the oceans by 2020. This initiative incites everyone signing to drive the change beginning with ourselves. So, hand on my heart, this is how I’m going to contribute.

Little ways to contribute

Ditching the plastic bag

Now I’m so happy I’ve received several eco-bags from family and friends, more so over last Christmas. I have them neatly tucked in my bag so I can use them whenever I end up buying stuff from the supermarket. This should cut off at least 3 plastic bags from me per week. Annually, that’s at least 156 bags.

Bringing my own cutlery

When I eat out, or purchase food to go, I use my own cutlery. I won a set of foldable cutlery two years ago, and glad they’re quite handy. This helps cut off plastic spoons and forks.

Stainless over Single-Use Plastic Straw

Single-use plastic straw is smaller compared to the plastic bags and plastic spoons and forks – but these are one of the most commonly found items in the oceans. I remember picking up dozens from my coastal cleanups. Lately, big cafes in Makati and BGC have switched to paper straws, and some do not readily offer straws for folks taking out drinks. I’m not sure if paper straws are really plastic free (I read some comments in forums that they still have plastic linings), but one thing’s for sure: my stainless straws are. So, they’re also one of the items neatly tucked inside my bag. Last Christmas, I received around 3 of these from different friends. I hope it’s not just a fad and people will consistently use them.

Refillable containers

I’ve found shops where I can refill my shampoo, body wash, liquid castile soap, conditioners and laundry detergents. And since I am into DIY, I am also able to recycle the containers I use for my cologne, face wash, salt scrub, and linen spray. Another way to reduce plastic is through packing my own lunch using reusable containers.

I know that there are thousands of people in the world who are as concerned, if not more than I am, in taking measures on preserving our mother earth. I am grateful to them, for taking a stand and for not giving up in sharing their knowledge and passion to the people around them, sparking inspiration and change everywhere they go. #ichooseplanet

Sustainable Living: plastic-free shopping

dry goods

Hello everyone, for those of you new to my blog, I’m an environment advocate. And so, I support companies that promote recycling and plastic-free shopping.

I’m so excited to share with you a new find: I recently discovered Ritual.ph – it’s a small general store at the Languages International building along Arnaiz Avenue in Makati City.

At the onset the store makes quite an impression with its modern, clean, and chic interiors. I like how the merchandise was organized and placed in glass jars, or wrapped with paper. The shop supports local producers and farmers. I saw some wooden bowls that were beautifully crafted and I was told they were sourced from Dumaguete province in Visayas.

Ritual.ph sells various pantry items such as dried lemongrass, dried pandan, dried wild mint, turmeric, virgin coconut oil, salt, rice, flour, and beans. For food and drinks they have ice cream, coffee, cacao and cacao bits, kombucha, and chocolate bars. They also have bath and body items like gugo (sourced from Mt. Banahaw and used to increase hair volume, prevent hair fall and strengthen hair strands), scented salts, oils, liquid soap, shampoo, activated charcoal, balms, and kaolin clay. For cleaning materials they have baking soda, deodorizer, laundry bars, and liquid dish soaps. I also saw vegetable crayons, stainless straws, vintage notebooks, matches, and cigars displayed near the cashier.

I’ve recently tried their coffee – unfortunately at the time only Robusta was available so that was what I had. Next time I will try their Arabica coffee.

How it works is I, the buyer, would bring my recyclable containers, then I fill them up with, say, the liquid soap and weigh how much I got. The pricing of their refills are by the gram and I’m always pleasantly surprised by how affordable my purchases are. More importantly, I always leave the shop feeling quite contented that I didn’t add up to the plastic usage problem of our planet. img_2591

My favorite purchases are the lemongrass liquid soap, rosemary clarifying shampoo, and the lemongrass conditioning shampoo. The ingredients used for these are 100% biodegradable and do not contain harmful chemicals like sulfates, parabens and fragrance oils. The shampoos use coconut base, aloe vera and essential oils. They all smell so divine, to the point that I look forward to my showers so I can enjoy the refreshing scents.

I hope more and more shops like Ritual.ph open up in Metro Manila so that their reach will be wider. Ritual.ph can also be found at the Legazpi Sunday Market in Makati. For more details about my new favorite store, check out their website

This blog is not sponsored by Ritual.ph, and I wrote this because I’m so happy with finding them and the products I’ve bought so far. 



Sustainable Living: Composting at Home


Years ago I’ve heard my dad talk about composting in his backyard, and at first I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. He taught me that it helps with waste management, and compost can be used as organic fertilizer for their plants at home.

I found later on that composting does not only provide free organic fertilizer, but more importantly it is a sustainable way for me to contribute to leaving a green footprint. Compost scraps that end up in the landfills produce methane – and methane emissions cause global warming. The materials that can be used for compost are readily and abundantly available at home anyway – so in short composting is free, easy, useful, and sustainable. For those that do not have a garden to use the compost soil for, I’m sure there will always be a neighbor in need of some. I remember one of our neighbors giving us compost soil when we ran short planting some herbs in our pot garden.

Compost bins can be bought from garden depots. In my home we made our own DIY compost bin by using the extra bricks that were piled up in the yard to form the bin’s walls. Then for cover, we used a scrap metal sheet. We designated a dry shaded spot at the backyard for our DIY compost bin. We made sure it is covered at all times because our animal friends love roaming around the backyard – we wouldn’t want them digging away on the compost.

Bricks and scrap metal sheet for our DIY compost bin

At least twice a day we get to fill up the compost bin with scraps. For an efficient compost pile, we make sure that the greens (or wet) are balanced with the browns (or dry). The greens provide the nitrogen for the soil, while the browns provide carbon – that’s why they have to be balanced so that the chemical composition of the soil will be good. Examples of green or wet scraps are vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, used loose tea leaves, and chicken poop. Yep, we have 4 lovely hens in the yard that provide us our free-range organic eggs everyday. For the brown or dry scraps, we use eggshells, paper bags, toothpicks, bamboo skewers, feathers that fell off the chicken, dog fur (which we get from our dogs’ grooming combs), dried leaves and twigs from our backyard, used paper towels, and tissue paper rolls.

Lastly, we mix the compost at least twice a week so as to ensure that the moisture is balanced. If it is too dry, we add a bit of water; if it is too wet we turn the soil so the moisture is equally distributed throughout the bin. We carefully do the turning though – there are worms in the compost bin and we wouldn’t want them harmed. The worms help in the organic decomposition of the scraps.

So there you have it, a glimpse to our composting practices at home. I am glad our neighbors started a composting community.