Pinoy Travelers Share Easy Ways To Travel Responsibly

July 30, 2018

Tourism, particularly air travel, contributes eight percent to the world's greenhouse emissions, a 2018 study by the Nature Climate Change reports. Too, the Philippines' is the third largest contributor of plastic wastes in the ocean.

As the effects of global warming become more evident, it also becomes increasingly necessary for travelers to practice eco-friendliness.

Help reduce the impact of global warming and pollution. Travel responsibly with these useful and simple tips from Filipino travel bloggers.

  • Pack light. 

Bringing bare essentials doesn't only prevent unnecessary baggage fees at the airport, but it also reduces emissions,  Lai Reyes Samangka of The Little Lai tells.

"The lighter your baggage is, the lesser the fuel used in trains, planes, and other automobiles, (so) the lesser greenhouse gases (there are) in the atmosphere."

READ ALSO: Travel Bloggers Share Tips on Packing Light

  • Travel to lesser-known destinations.

As one of the Philippines' youngest provinces, Dinagat Islands in Mindanao is still a relatively untapped destination.

Celine Murillo of Celineism advocates traveling to "lesser-known places to spread the impact" and lessen carbon footprint in famous destinations.

READ ALSO: Let's Stop the "touristy places cannot offer an authentic experience" Mentality

  • Bring your own water bottle or cup.
Reusable water cup from Ecoheroes

Christine Fernandez of Jovial Wanderer proposes bringing a reusable water container to minimize plastic waste. "If traveling via plane, just fill it up with water when you get to to the hotel or buy from a local refilling station (applicable when traveling around the Philippines). If hiking or traveling in remote areas, bring your own garbage bag, so you can dispose your waste properly."

  • Avoid using wet wipes.

"Wet wipes are nonbiodegradable," says Missy Penaverde-Ilarde of Love Eat Wander.  Lloyd Salac of The Lost Boy Lloyd agrees. "They block waterways," he says.

Use good ol' toilet paper instead. It's biodegradable and a lot cheaper too!

  • Cook your own meals. 

Cooking your own meals helps reduce plastic waste (and also helps if you're on a tight budget). Gian Carlo Jubela of Adrenaline Romance says, "If our accommodation allows it, we cook our own meals. We don't order take-out food. Preparing our own meals and dining in eliminates the need to have our food packed in plastic bags or styrofoam trays, which are harmful to the environment."

  • Opt for eco-friendly hotels and resorts.

Hotel Kimberly in Tagaytay markets itself as an eco-friendly hotel.

As environmental awareness increases among travelers, more and more hotels are engaging in green initiatives. Mervz Marasigan of Pinoy Adventurista suggests "staying in an eco-friendly hotel" that place a premium on sustainability. He personally recommends Hive and Cocoon Boutique Hotel in Manila.

  • Avoid single-use plastics.
Metal straws from  Ecoheroes

Single-use plastics like straws and plastic utensils are the biggest waste products in the ocean today. Not only do plastics entangle marine creatures, but after prolonged sun exposure, they also release harmful chemicals that lead to the destruction of reef systems. "Bring your own pair of utensils and forego plastic straws," Celine shares.

Some eco-friendly alternatives that Marky Ramone Go of Nomadic Experiences swear by are Ecoheroes' reusable cups and metal straws and Bamboo Lao's bamboo straw.

  • Always carry an ecobag.

Ferna Mae Fernandez of Everywhere with Ferna believes eco bags are "a must for every traveler".

"It can help save the environment. I always bring mine wherever I am. Bought it at a reasonable price and (it) has been with me for a long time now."

READ ALSO: 13 Pinay Travel Blogging Moms Who are Rockin' It on the Road

  • Bring refillable containers for toiletries.

Ruby Batallones of Travel and Perspectives also recommends bringing travel-sized toiletries that you can refill at home or on the road. Her commitment: "No to sachets."

It also helps to "leave a suggestion note in the accommodation to use shampoo/body wash dispenser instead of sachet toiletries," remarks Sarah Berthe of Travelosio.

  • Minimize vehicle use.

In terms of size and passenger capacity, studies found that airplanes and small non-hybrid cars (those that can carry four passengers or less) contribute significant greenhouse gases.

"Vehicles produce too much carbon emissions," Grasya Bangoy of This Grasya cites. Her advice is to minimize the use of vehicles while traveling, especially if it's just for short distances.

Choose walking or biking instead. Not only is it more eco-friendly, it's good for your heart too!

  • Use reef-friendly sunscreen.

"I don't use sunblock ever. Eventually, I found out it's for the better, since sunblock's chemical ingredients can kill corals," Marky adds.

Most sunscreen brands on the market contain a harmful chemical filler called oxybenzone (or benzonephenone-3), which causes coral bleaching and coral death. 

Luckily, reef-safe sunblock brands, such as Magwai and Human Nature, are now available in the Philippines.

  • Support local vendors and avoid haggling.

Anna Varona encourages travelers to "buy from local food providers instead of McDonalds and Jollibee".

"Find a local  to cook local produce/ food for you. Usually, sa mga sari-sari store, they're willing."

The reason? "Your patronage may be the only thing keeping them from unsustainable practices such as kaingin and poaching," Celine opines.

  • Minimize noise. 

Anna adds that tourists should make a conscious effort to "keep the volume down, unless it's okay" where you are visiting. She relates, "Noise is also a form of pollution. It bothers plant life and animals. Birds get scared sometimes."

  • Reuse towels. 

Did you know that laundry ranks second in terms of water consumption in the hotel industry? Mark-Anthony Villaflor of 365 Travel Dates prefers not to ask for daily replenishment of towels, unless needed. Such practice saves water and electricity.

  • Observe energy-efficient measures. 

Another way to save energy, Mark-Anthony notes, is to "turn off the lights and electronics when not in use." 

  • Help educate local guides.

You'd be surprised to know that in some attractions, local guides are not well-learned about responsible tourism. We've gone on hikes wherein I noticed local guides throwing wrappers and cigarette butts along the trail. 

It pays to have a discourse with guides. Gian intimates: "Before parting ways with our guide, driver, or service provider, we always tell them to take care of their tourist spots and natural treasures. Often, we suggest tips based on what we experienced during the trip or adventure. Educating locals on environmental preservation is probably the best long-term solution. By leaving snippets of knowledge, we are doing our part in preserving the environment."

How about you? What sustainable practices do you adhere to when traveling? 

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