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By Terence Repelente
Images by Noel Pabalate

Let’s face it. Planet earth is deteriorating, and there’s no one else to blame but us. It’s something we’ve inherited from the people before us, and if left without action, something we’ll pass over to the next generation. But pointing fingers will not do anything—what we need, according to WWF-Philippines president and CEO Joel Palma, is awareness and collective action. Which is why to further extend the reach of their calls, WWF-Philippines has created a Millennial branch of its organization—WWF-Philippines’ first and only National Youth Council. This is a green-driven team of eight young advocates chosen from different backgrounds—three from private schools, three from public schools, and two from social media.

  • WWF-Philippines National Ambassadors Rovilson Fernandez and Iza Calzado on a Mt. Makiling trek

  • WWF-Philippines National Ambassador Iza Calzado takes time to enjoy the fresh air of Mt. Makiling

  • From left: NYC members Yza Nazal, Nikki Huang, and NYC chairperson Alexa Cancio

  • The Green Team from left: WWF-Philippines president and CEO Joel Palma, WWF-Philippines NYC chairperson Alexa Cancio, and SSI Group, Inc. president Anton Huang

  • Underwater photographers go to great lengths to capture shots of marine life to be better illustrate their beauty and their plight

  • WWF-Philippines’ work in Donsol has helped pave the way for a robust and sustainable ecotourism industry in the locale, which ensures that the whale sharks are properly conserved


“The youth is the future. Let the youth speak for the planet,” says Palma.

Alexa Cancio, chairperson of the WWF-Pilippines NYC, steps up and commits unwavering dedication in involving the youth to WWF-Philippines’ overall goals in maintaining a greener earth.

“They brought us in to understand what the youth wants to hear from WWF. What are the important issues to us in particular? When I was brainstorming with my team last year, we tried to drill down on a specific topic we wanted to educate and move on. We’ve decided that sustainable living would be the most appropriate thing to discuss to the youth because it’s a relevant topic,” she says. “What we’re trying to relay to the younger people is that sustainable living is something that we need to do. It impacts every aspect of our life, whether it’s the food that we eat, the way that we commute, or just the general choices we make every single day.”

World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines’ National Youth Council and the SSI Group, Inc. are cutting the ribbons to the Green Wanderer Travel Fair, where traveling meets sustainability and awareness. A brainchild of WWF-Philippines National Youth Council member Nikki Huang, Green Wanderer will be presenting sustainable travel options—from products made by Filipinos to ecotourism destinations with uniquely created itineraries for the curious, green traveler.

As an active and committed green traveling advocate, Nikki believes that, along with transport, accommodations have the biggest impact on our ecological footprint when traveling. “Travel takes on a whole other level of significance when done in a way that not only reduces harm, but is beneficial to the environment and local people and animals, and this is something that all of the organizations represented at this fair stand for,” says Nikki, who has taken her passion to the next level with Green Wanderer.

According to WWF-Philippines president and CEO Joel Palma, travel and tourism contribute around nine percent of the world’s total GDP. One out of 11 jobs is related to tourism and travel.

That is why the vast benefits from travel are one big factor for development, which we cannot afford to fail.

Experts in sustainability and the environment will be delivering talks during the fair. Renowned travel and food blogger of Our Awesome Planet Anton Diaz and famed underwater photographer Scott “Gutsy” Tuazon, as well as representatives from Lagalag, Circle Hostel, and Qubo are among the speakers. National Geographic will be holding a film showing of Years of Living Dangerously. There will be a cooking demo and food tasting courtesy of the award-winning book author Clang Garcia. Resort and hotel sponsors will also be giving away exciting prizes, while airline sponsors will be raffling off tour packages to local green locations. The exclusive and limited-edition Green Wanderer merchandise will be on sale during the fair and a portion of the proceeds, together with the contributions of all the exhibitors, will be donated to WWF Philippines.

Green Wanderer is, in essence, an eye-opener and an action-sparker. Only through combined efforts and initiative could we make a change. Let us save mother earth—one green footprint at a time.

“We’re trying to show people, that every single decision, big or small, makes a ripple effect. And that’s not something we underestimate,” Alexa said.

Green Wanderer Travel Fair will be held from Aug. 11 to 13, 2017 at Central Square, BHS Central, BGC, Taguig. www.wwf.org,ph | Instragram/@ssilifeph

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