Reef x WWF: Free the Sea Movement 2 in Baler, Aurora

I cannot remember the last time I saw myself in a clean-up drive (or if there is really one that I joined) but my recent participation together with some friends from the media and other volunteers in Free the Sea Movement 2 was something to remember and somehow inspires me to do more in the future. This year, Baler being the famous surfing spot in Luzon was the chosen venue for this said event.

Reef, a surf and lifestyle brand known worldwide, has partnered with WWF Philippines once again to promote responsible travel and environmental conservation thru this coastal clean-up drive. An early morning arrival at Nalu Surf Camp woke up my sleepy soul to excitement as it signaled the start of fun activities and at the same time the start of our own little way to help save the environment particularly the ocean.

Breakfast. Checked-in. Orientation.

We gathered near the Reef Booth for the official welcome of the participants. Mr. Ruel Bate from WWF Philippines gave us instruction on how we are going to start the activity. By groups, we started picking whatever trash we found along the shore then placed it in each corresponding sack. They taught us of proper waste segregation. To make it more exciting, the organizer placed some specially marked bottles somewhere and whoever gets the bottle will win a prize. I got one! ;)

In the middle of the clean-up drive, one local asked me where are we from and why are we doing it. That is when he realized and told his companion that, if tourists can do this in their own place, they should also start it themselves. I just smiled after hearing that.

In a span of almost an hour, covering a distance of around 1 kilometer, the whole team gathered a total number of seven sacks/bags of garbage, weighing a total of 98 kilograms and cigarette butts being the top trash collected in terms of numbers, 1,426 pcs to be exact. Yes! We counted and recorded everything.

I am hoping that one day; everybody will get on board and exert an extra effort in helping conserve the environment.

In the afternoon, participants enjoyed a free surfing lesson given by the instructors of Nalu Surf Camp. The list for that session was already full so my friends and I just grabbed a bottle of beer and enjoyed the whole afternoon talking and watching the people tumble on their surfboards yet patiently repeating until they perfect at least 3 seconds of riding the waves. The joy in their faces, priceless!

The night was still young, we all gathered at the resort’s lawn with some nicely printed roundie beach towels and pillows, some beer and overflowing rum complimented with salty pica-pica.  Ann Clerigo set the beach mood followed by the soulful music of Banna Harbera. The highlight of the night was when Reef turned over the cash donations worth P30,000 to WWF for their environmental programs. However, when the DJs dropped the beat, the millennials got wild and so were we.

I was having a hard time to wake up as I had barely slept from last night’s party. However, part of me was excited to join the next event, Surfari Beginners’ Competition. Four waves competed in the eliminations where the best two from each wave will then compete in the semis. The four top scorers will then face off in the finals. I made it to the semis, but was a little disappointed with my performance. That was the reason why my friends and I were so shocked after hearing my name announced for the finals. I did my best, but those three lovely women nailed me on the last spot. I had so much fun that I asked my instructor if I could borrow the surfboard to try surfing alone. Moreover, I realized, it was quite tough. Hahaha!

Tired but happy, and the after party was crazy! It started with the awarding of the all the winners and Baler’s lambanog drinking contest which I must say, dangerously soothing but dragged others to hell. Hahaha! It ended with the performances from indie rapper Eazyhead and party-starter remixes and originals from DJ Doms Badwolf & DJ CC.

That weekend made me look forward to do more volunteer works for the environment. I hope more people or organizations continuously initiate this type of corporate social responsibility and more volunteers will extend their hands to help. I am also looking forward to more surfing sessions which I really had fun doing ever since (if only surfing spots are closer to Manila). And to Reef, thank you so much for this opportunity. Til the next one. ( Siargao! Siargao! Siargao! )

Reef’s ‘Free the Sea Movement: Baler” was sponsored by Juan Light Studio, Bike King’s Kitchen, Madison’s Cafe Baler, La Patricia Hotel, Baler and The Shack, Baler with music partners Ann Clerigo, Banna Harbera, Eazyhead, DJ Domes Badwolf and DJ CC.



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