Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mactan Resort & Spa
cebu, Philip

Two decades ago when first visiting Cebu, I was taken back at the sight of huge ships turned over like turtles on their backs, still tethered to the jetty. Hurricane Ofa had recently crashed into the islands and left a sea of destruction. Then as now, I was amazed at the resilience of the locals who seem able to take all in stride and continue singing.

This trip to Cebu was to speak at a Green Day Conference organized at the Shangri-La Mactan resort. With a panel of distinguished speakers, all experts in the fields of ecology and conservation, I felt markedly under qualified. The message I tried to convey was one of stewardship and that we can all be positive role models. Translating this into action however, proves a bit more daunting a task. Using less and recycling more would be a start. I recalled my first college apartment in which I made it my mission to turn of lights after people left rooms. Sadly, the owner of the lease did not like this attempt of mine to save the planet and I was asked to find other accommodations. We cannot always be popular when trying to do good.

Cebu is blessed with some of the planet’s most abundant reefs; the diversity of life is astounding. Yet this is all threatened by man’s unconscious attempts to feed himself. Through pollution or fishing methods, the area is an example of how the Garden of Eden is loosing its garden status. Plastics alone are one of the main culprits. I referenced studies provided by Plastic Oceans at, a foundation set up to help clean up the seas of this deadly intruder. Scuba diving in the area offered a stark reminder of what dynamite fishing can do to coral reefs. Thankfully, there is now an ocean refuge where fishermen are discouraged from destroying what is clawing itself back to life under the sea.

We can all do our part to use less and recycle more. It is just common sense but one way we can make our tenure and impact on the planet gentler.


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