Thinking Beyond Swimsuits and Sunglasses
By Ime Morales
You’ve found cozy accommodation, ordered a couple of hot swimsuits, bought new sunglasses and sunblock, and filed your leave for the long weekend at the beach. This is how planning beach trips usually goes. But there is a more responsible way to prepare for your summer vacations and out of town trips. The state of Boracay is enough to tell us that being a responsible traveler is not anymore an option these days. Here are 8 suggestions to consider when planning your next summer getaway.
1. Choose an eco-friendly resort or hotel.
There are places that encourage responsible and sustainable tourism. In fact, there are accommodations that impose zero waste/leave no trace rules. Hideout, for example, is a guest house in Liwliwa, Zambales that doesn’t have waste bins! Guests are thereby discouraged to use disposables, or otherwise urged to bring back their trash with them upon leaving.
2. Observe restaurant/cafe eco-etiquette.
Try to finish your food and drinks inside rather than taking them out with you in disposables. Make sure, too, that you’re using reusable/washable eating utensils to minimize waste. If you’re the type who needs to often bring out food or drinks, carry a reusable container and water bottle with you at all times. There are big resorts that actually throw out as many as 30 bags of trash on a daily basis! Just imagine the impact of this much waste on our eco-system.
3. Say no to commercial bottled water!
You don’t really need to buy that bottle of water–just bring a reusable container with you and just keep on refilling in hotels, restaurants, and cafes. Safe drinking water is usually free in these places, so you even get to save money.
4. It’s time to think twice about videoke
We all know that singing (loudly) is already a solid part of our culture here in the Philippines. But it’s true, too, that more and more people these days actually appreciate silence more. Probably they have had too much of the noise in the city and are actually coming to the beach or the vacation destination for some peace and quiet. Have some consideration and keep the noise to a minimum.
5. Take in the view and enjoy the moment.
This need not be mentioned anymore but in reality, more people are so focused on taking photos or selfies and posting them online that they actually forget to do this. When you get to your destination, it would be nice to settle down and actually enjoy the atmosphere and scenery first, before fishing out your phone and clicking away.
6. Shop local.
Support the livelihood of the individuals or families in the area you are visiting by patronizing their businesses. Try to pick up a local souvenir or two before you leave, buy their delicacies, or eat in their restaurants. And, it would be nice to promote these as well on your blog or on social media.
7. If you have to smoke and/or drink, do it responsibly.
It is heartbreaking to see empty alcohol bottles, cigarette butts, beer cans, empty bags of chips, candy wrappers, and all sorts of garbage on the shore, in the water, along the narrow paths around the resorts–everywhere except in the proper garbage containers. Perhaps your group is so drunk that you can’t pick up after yourselves, but at least do it the next day. Trash is not just the issue related to getting drunk, but also the preservation of peace and silence for the sake of other guests. It’s all a matter of common sense, decency, and basic courtesy.
8. Make responsible traveling your advocacy.
Let’s face the fact that the items mentioned above are not yet a part of the consciousness of many Filipinos today. Many people are not aware of the implications of their actions, the impact of every choice. So every little bit helps. Talk about it with your friends and family. Make people notice the small acts that you do. Post it, blog it, Instagram it. Write about it and submit it to 8List, for example. Add to the growing amount of information available online and offline that would surely help strengthen the movement to protect Mother Earth as we earthlings continue to enjoy her beauty.
Got any more suggestions? Share them with us below!