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On the eve of Earth Day, I was fortunate enough to find myself on one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, enjoying happy hour at El Nido Miniloc Resort, when a petite college-aged woman quietly started setting up a projector and a microphone. I watched as she proceeded to interrupt the crowd of honeymooners and vacationers to excitedly inform us about the resort’s eco-responsible efforts. She spoke over the clinking of glasses with tiny umbrellas, the various bubbling languages and laughter, and the whispering of newlywed couples, confidently wrapping up her presentation by inviting guests to join the staff the next morning for a variety of Earth Day celebrations, including a beach cleanup.

I was the only person to turn up at 8:15am, which was disappointing but not surprising. But that’s where the disappointment ended. Along with a boat full of resort staff, I got to pay my small respects to this particular, and particularly glorious, corner of Earth.

While taking part in these Earth Day activities was awesome, it was also a somber reminder of how far we have to go, especially as tourists. “Responsible tourism” is on the rise, but there needs to be a stronger demand for eco-sensitive resorts and tour companies, which starts with travelers knowing their own impacts, voicing their expectations to service providers, and voting with their wallets. Earth Day is a great start, but at the end of the day, it’s barely a drop in a very beautiful, but very deep bucket.

[Note: Kate's visit to Palawan was sponsored by the Philippines Tourism Board.]

Photo EssayEnvironment


 

About The Author

Kate Siobhan Mulligan

Kate Siobhan Mulligan is a Vancouver-Based writer, photographer, seeker of social justice, Beatles expert, coffee snob, and trophy wife. She also operates and travels with The Giving Lens, blending photography with humanitarian aid. In her spare time she enjoys surfing, craft beer, more coffee, and her husband. (And, for the record, it's Gaelic and it's pronounced "Sha-Vaughn")

  • Christopher DeMero

    great

  • Christopher DeMero

    great

    • Kate Siobhan Havercroft

      thank you Christopher!

    • Kate Siobhan Havercroft

      thank you Christopher!

  • Green Pinoy

    Awesome photo essay! It’s More Fun In The Philippines! :)

  • Green Pinoy

    Awesome photo essay! It’s More Fun In The Philippines! :)

    • Kate Siobhan Havercroft

      Thank you Green Pinoy!! You have a stellar country on your hands :)

    • Kate Siobhan Havercroft

      Thank you Green Pinoy!! You have a stellar country on your hands :)

  • Emmanuel Mendoza Vicencio

    The right thing to do… : )

    • Kate Siobhan Havercroft

      It really is. Not only is it right, if the tourists do trash the place, future tourists won’t come. So there’s also the fact that the communities not only live there, and love their home, but rely on these resorts for much needed income. Still, not every resort thinks this way, though they should!

    • Kate Siobhan Havercroft

      It really is. Not only is it right, if the tourists do trash the place, future tourists won’t come. So there’s also the fact that the communities not only live there, and love their home, but rely on these resorts for much needed income. Still, not every resort thinks this way, though they should!

  • Evelyn Del Pilar Agujar

    It’s great to show this picture to the public,of each and every beaches & just to let everyone know to becareful to thru thier garbage in a properway. Job well done.

    • Kate Siobhan Havercroft

      Thank you Evelyn! You’re right. It’s not easy to call people out, but sometimes the time to be polite passes – and when it comes to global warming and the state of the earth, it most surely has. Cheers!

    • Kate Siobhan Havercroft

      Thank you Evelyn! You’re right. It’s not easy to call people out, but sometimes the time to be polite passes – and when it comes to global warming and the state of the earth, it most surely has. Cheers!

  • Macy Anonuevo

    Thank you for joining the cleanup Kate! :D

    • Kate Siobhan Havercroft

      Thank you for having me along, Macy!! And thanks for all the great work you are doing.

    • Kate Siobhan Havercroft

      Thank you for having me along, Macy!! And thanks for all the great work you are doing.

  • Dinah Titong Guillamon

    thanks, Kate! may this serve as an example to us, filipinos….(and also to tourists who comes to visit our beaches).

    • Kate Siobhan Havercroft

      Thanks Dinah! It is a great example of what can be done when people really care. And I was surprised how many tourists were filipino! They truly love their own country, seeing it and experiencing it. I thought that was great!

    • Kate Siobhan Havercroft

      Thanks Dinah! It is a great example of what can be done when people really care. And I was surprised how many tourists were filipino! They truly love their own country, seeing it and experiencing it. I thought that was great!

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  • Dave Ryan Aguirre Buaron

    I’ve done exactly the same when I was in El Nido in September 2011. We even found trash with Vietnamese writings on it.

  • Shana Dagny

    Minilocrather pricey. Did you look into staying on the main island? El Nido .. Same activities during the day.

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