Human Nature Save Our Seas Coastival 2016

Last April 29, I participated in the 1st S.O.S (Save Our Seas) Coastival in San Juan, La Union. Organized by Human Nature, the country's largest manufacturer of natural personal care, this one day event was dubbed as an eco-friendly version of "Laboracay", the massive summer celebration that happens in Boracay island every Labor Day weekend. 
Arrival in Urbiztondo beach in time to witness a beautiful sunrise
Conservationists, fellow bloggers and other members of the media helped in building a sand art led by muralist and climate justice advocate, AG Sano, aka the Dolphin Guy (Story here).  The 180 meter long sand art was built  along Urbiztondo beach with the "leave no trace principles" in mind, using only sand, water and recycled wood rakes. Its creation was a call to encourage every Filipino to do their share in saving our Philippine seas. 

Responsible Travel Tip #1 : Use products with ingredients that won't harm the ocean. Most synthetic suncreens that contain ingredients like parabens, oxybenzone and benzonphenone can contribute to coral bleaching. (Related Read : National Geographic | Swimmers' Sunscreen Killing Off Coral) 
*Coral bleaching, which is primarily caused by global warming, drives away algae that gives corals its color and may also lead to its death. (More info about coral bleaching here.) 
AG Sano (in blue shirt) creating the outline 
After having breakfast at Urbiz Garden, we headed to the beach and assisted in reinforcing the outline of the sand art. While we were building it, I couldn't envision the outcome even as it was described to us. We were on a massive beach, raking sand and pouring water on it while the sun was merrily blasting. We stopped working on it a little before 9:00 AM as the heat became unbearable. We were told that we were resuming around 4:00 PM. 

I was happy for some down time as this gave us time to just enjoy the beach and mingle. We left Manila at 1:30 AM and none of us had a proper sleep. 

(Heading to the beach soon? Check out cool new summer shades from Ray Ban available at ZALORA)
Lazing on the beach :) 
Responsible Travel Tip #2 : Bring your own water bottle/container. Not only will it save you some money, you will be able to help reduce waste. 

Aside from participating in the sand art, we listed to performances by local artists  such as Paola Mauricio and Yellow Submarine.  There were also low environmental impact beach activities such as yoga, capoeira and poi.

Responsible Travel Tip #3 :
 When you spot a sea turtle/pawikan, an endangered specie, leave them alone. Do not come closer to avoid disrupting them from laying their eggs. Sea turtles eat jellyfish and keep their numbers at bay, allowing us humans to wade in the water. 

I  recently discovered that yoga is a good complement to swimming, my new sport, so I decided to join the session by Corey Wills. It's  only my second formal yoga class, since birth :P and  I suffered on the earlier parts. My face contorted like I've just seen a platter of crispy bacon get thrown in the garbage. It was tough, especially since my back muscles seem to be entangled and it's just painful to hold on to some of the poses, but when we finished, I felt refreshed and the tightness on my upper back caused by swimming had disappeared. 
Our yoga session with Corey Wills. Photo from Human Nature
After the activities, we gathered to the beach to work on some finishing touches on the sand art. Due to the heat, we needed to pour some water on the outlines so it can be more visible when the drone pass over it.
The 180 meter sand art. We're standing at the "O" part as the drone flew over us for  this 
monumental shot.  (Photo fr Human Nature)

Even as the sand art was finished, I couldn't picture what it was the we helped create - well, not until we finally saw the drone shot and saw how beautifully it turned out.  In retrospect, our work with the sand art is similar to how we can contribute to saving the environment. If each person did their share, our collective efforts  could lead to bigger and more effective results. :) 

The S.O.S Coastival 2016 was initiated  by Human Nature in partnership with WWF Philippines, CURMA (Coastal Underwater Resource Management Actions), Save Philippine Seas and La Union Soul, an eco tourism movement by the local community. 

More tips on how to be a more eco-friendly traveler ->  17 Incredibly Easy Things You can Do to be a More Eco-Friendly Traveler

Sharing with you a video of the highlights at the 1st Human Nature S.O.S. Coastival : 

Where to buy environment-friendly personal care products?

For reef-friendly sunscreen and non toxic personal care products, visit Human Nature's website here.

Where to stay in La Union?
We stayed for a night in Chill'N, a new inn in San Juan, located 10 minutes on foot from Urbiztondo beach. It has its own pool, air conditioned rooms. 

Brgy. Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union, Philippines 
For rates, get in touch with them through their facebook page, :
Contact Numbers : 
+63 917 575 0414 (Mobile)
+63 (072) 252 25 33 (Landline)

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