Embrace sustainability this holiday season

December 13, 2021 Monday

MANILA, 14 December 2021 —  The 74th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Change Pathways” highlighted the eco-friendly practices and alternatives made by micro-and social enterprises for gift-giving and celebrations this holiday season.
The online conversation conceptualized and hosted by a three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, with CCC Commissioner Rachel Anne S. Herrera as co-host, featured guests including Shine De Castro, Co-Founder of Old Manila Eco Market in Intramuros, Manila; Erin Larissa Canto, Project Officer from Wala Usik Economy in Bacolod City and Talisay City, Negros Occidental; and Jade Joquiño, Co-Owner of Darlings’ Milktea in Maasin, Iloilo.
“Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are all over the country and comprise around 99% of the Philippine economy. They are very important in our national productivity. Kaya gusto natin i-emphasize na kung ang ating MSMEs at social enterprises ay environmentally-conscious, they can play a significant role in reducing waste, promoting culture and heritage, and creating green jobs and opportunities in the community,” Commissioner Herrera emphasized.
De Castro shared the COVID-19 response of the MSMEs and how tourism places like the Intramuros are bouncing back sustainably through Baluarte San Diego Eco-Market, which offers eco-friendly and naturally-made products, upcycled and handmade products, regional products, and fresh produce from Intramuros urban farm.
“Naniniwala po kami na having a sustainable lifestyle doesn’t stop in just refusing single-use plastic. Ito po ay nasa lahat ng aspeto ng ating pamumuhay. From food to tourism, to building a sustainable community, to even fashion,” said De Castro.
Canto introduced Wala Usik stores, which prototypes reducing single-use plastic packaging from fast-moving consumer goods sold in small quantities.
“We got inspired with how we used to see sari-sari stores before here in the Philippines nung hindi pa widely-used yung plastics. We can see that items are stored in glass jars, banana leaves, people are using their own bayongs in purchasing items, tapos we are supporting local economy. We thought of, “Why not bringing that back in the modern times?, and this is where Wala Usik Tiyangge and Kapehan were born,” said Canto.
Joquiño introduced Darlings’ Milktea, a local milktea shop that serves their beverages not on plastic cups, but in reusable and locally-made bamboo cups.
“We are receiving great feedback that Darlings milk tea is a sustainable milk tea shop. We also receive recognition in different magazines and tv shows about our shop and this helps us send a message to everyone that we need to go back to our sustainable way,” said Joquiño.
Legarda lauded these small businesses’ efforts in integrating sustainability in their daily operations. She encouraged other MSMEs and businesses to join the crusade towards sustainability, especially during this holiday season where Filipinos are accustomed to buying presents for their loved ones.
“All that glitters is not gold, because you can find gold even in trash. Recycle, upcycle, and find beauty in everything around us,” said Legarda.
As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, "Stories for a Better Normal" aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.
This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Department of Education, Philippine Information Agency, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation.