Greenpeace Southeast Asia

I was part of the change I wanted to see in the world by Jenny Tuazon
November 8, 2009, 5:22 am
Filed under: Philippines, Stop climate change | Tags: , ,

From Solar Generation-Pilipinas

It was the 30th of October when Albert told us about his planned trip to Eastern Samar. He said that the Governor invited him to become one of the resource speakers to the 1st Provincial Youth Congress on Climate Change. Since my project contract to Greenpeace has ended a week before the said event, and Mitch and Miguel who also volunteered on my project were a bit tired of what we have done for the past few weeks, with Manila pollution, old same surroundings, and since we were really looking forward for a vacation and refreshments, we came up with the idea of going to Samar with Albert. And so our main objective was to help Albert while enjoying the beautiful Samar.

The bus left Cubao Terminal at 3 o’clock in the afternoon last November 3. This was it! We were all excited! This was our first time. It was expected that the trip will take long so I brought my Kiko Machine Comic, 2 one-meter utility ropes, knot tying pamphlet and a lot of stories to tell to kill boredom. We arrived at Bicol by 3 o’clock in the morning the next day. We rode a ferryboat and after 1 hour, ta-daah! We’re at port of Northern Samar. It wasn’t over yet. It took 12 hours of travel to get to the Provincial Capitol of Borongan, Eastern Samar. Dinner, breakfast, lunch at stopovers. Wheeew!

We met Ms. Sentay Quiterio, organizer of the event; Ms. Konika Catapang, Albert’s contact person; some students of Borongan; and Floyd, President of BANOG (Borongan Awareness and Nature Outdoor Group) who took us to the place we’re going to stay. We ate dinner and planned on what to do the next day.

November 5th, the 1st Provincial Youth Congress on Climate Change, we finally met Gov. Ben Evardone, “the young and energetic governor”, as was described by Ms. Sentay. The organizers said that the participants were almost 200 students from different schools of Borongan. There were speakers from The Provincial Tourism Office Environment Unit who talked about climate change facts; tsunami, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions were discussed by Philvolcs; sea level rise, flooding, weather disturbances and temperature changes were discussed by speakers from PAG-ASA; folks from DENR talked about landslides and mudslides; UNFPA discussed adolescent reproductive health; and Albert, as the last but not the least speaker talked on the solutions to climate change and what the youth can do. He also taught them how to organize an event. Albert let the students think and decide for themselves. A lot of brainstorming. Blah, blah, blah, blah. As he explained the do’s and don’ts of the workshop, we set up a freedom wall with question, “Ano na an imo nahimo para mapugngan an Climate Change?” in Waray which can be translated as, “What have you done to stop Climate Change?”. We asked the students to write their answers creatively. We provided them marker pens of different colors and oil pastels. We also requested the students to sign the Virtual March, a photo petition that calls to action for world leaders who will attend the Copenhagen Summit this December demanding for a fair and binding climate deal. After a few minutes, we decided to stop the activity for a while and let the students present the product of their brainstorming. There were 7 groups and each group presented their report artistically. I was overwhelmed as I heard the bright and new thoughts of these students. In a span of 25 minutes, they were able to come up with ideas on how they can help  solve the climate crisis. The good thing was Gov. Ben Evardone promised and committed himself to help and support these bright minds’ thoughts. Yehey!

The program ended by 7 o’clock in the evening but the Virtual March wasn’t over yet. Some of the students weren’t done writing their feelings on the freedom wall. We ate dinner with Gov. Ben Evardone, event’s organizers and some students who helped in the program. By then, we were told that we will have a local AM and FM interview the next day. All were tired yet excited.

The next morning, we were accompanied by Ms. Dolindra of PENRO (Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office) and Floyd to Radyo Natin’s station. We were also introduced to DJ Mel Vincent, DJ Red, and DJ Jake. In the afternoon, we went to the Provincial Capitol of Borongan for the AM interview. We were both interviewed on-air. Questions about how Greenpeace and Solar Generation Youth work, climate change, on how Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) affected us, and our role as volunteers. And whenever I talk about volunteering for Greenpeace, everyone will notice how glad and proud I am. It just feels good when you know you’re doing something to help save the environment and how you take your part in every single way. And we hoped it helped.

After the interview, Floyd took us at Baybay to see the sunset. We saw locals surfed the waves while we unwound and chitchatted. It was great!

The next day, November 7, Floyd, our tourist guide invited us again to go to Divinubo Island. It means Divine Island. We thought this will be our last chance to go swimming since we’re leaving on the 8th. When we got there, DJ Mel Vincent and his friend Ronald were already waiting for us. We met the local head of Divinubo Island. He talked about how the island was altered because of climate change. We also met some locals and tourists from Germany who happened to be missionary volunteers. It was indeed surprising to know that one of them used to volunteer for Greenpeace and WWF. From there on, we invite them to participate in Virtual March. Yey! We accomplished a lot! Time to enjoy the beach! Enjoy the sun! Swimming!

Time was really running fast. It was time to go home. Definitely, this wasn’t the first and last trip to Samar. Solar Generation will surely be back to help the people save their beautiful place.

Another 24 to 29 hours of bus travel. And still, Albert kept working and preparing for a school engagement in Manila, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo and Boracay specifically on Energy Efficient (EE) campus and the virtual march petition. Even inside the bus?!! Whew! Tiring but I know my carbon footprint wouldn’t be that much unlike travelling by plane. Also, breakfast, lunch and dinner at stopovers WITH FRIENDS. Sleeping inside the bus WITH FRIENDS. Enjoying the scenery WITH FRIENDS. Wasn’t that nice?

I was not a member but been involved in some SG activities in the past months helping Albert establish SG partnerships in schools and campus organizations in Manila. Ever since he told me that when an individual does an SG campaign work, you become part of the team. You will be part of the Solar Generation Youth. So yey for me! It was great! I am an SG member! And well, I am proud to say that I am part of the newly established SG Eastern Samar! I was part of the change I wanted to see in the world.

Roni Rodriguez

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