Shifting gears toward green

As the world battles a global economic meltdown, more and more people are concerned with issues affecting the future of our environment. Living a sustainable life has become one of the top priorities in 2009. People have started making lifestyle changes. Luxe is suddenly out; ‘back to nature’ has become oh so fashionable.

Green Trends

Discovering the healthy benefits of organically grown produce has encouraged more individuals to plant in their own backyards. With the growing demand for eco-friendly fashion, even textile developers are looking into the suitability of organic materials (like maguey, saluyot, water lily, etc.) as substitutes for the now rare natural cotton. Today, there is an endless choice of beauty products and health supplements that make use of natural ingredients. Many budding entrepreneurs in the country continue to capitalize on the current trend.

The push for green gismos or eco-gadgets is gaining momentum. Energy saving light bulbs are flying off store shelves.

Walking or bicycling to work is not only healthy and economical; it also reduces carbon emissions in the air. Plug-in electric cars are the new hot wheels for those who have extra buck to spend. Everyone benefits from the current crop of hybrids and alternative fuel-powered cars out in the market today.

In the aviation industry, the latest “high bypass” turbofans burn less fuel, so less greenhouse gases are produced.

Cheap and cool summer vacation ideas

Nowadays, with less money to spend for travel like we used to, there is an emerging vacation trend all around the world—staycation or stay-at-home vacation. Discovering and appreciating the very same attractions that lure tourists to your hometown is a great way to experience new things.

If you’re from Ilocos Norte, here are affordable summer staycation suggestions for the whole family:

  • Visit museums like the Juan Luna Shrine in Badoc or Gameng Museo Ilocos Norte in Laoag and learn about our own rich cultural heritage. When in Badoc, look for Mino’s Italian Pizza and try their reasonable mouth-watering pizzas, ravioli, lasagna, cannelloni, crema, tiramisu, etc.

the world-renowned "Spoliarium" by Juan Luna

the world-renowned "Spoliarium" by Juan Luna -image from Pambansang Museo ng Pilipinas, Wikipedia

  • Build your arm muscles, go kayaking at Paoay Lake and enjoy the tranquility of the place. You can inquire at the Paoay Tourism Office for availability of kayaks.
  • Schedule a trek to Kaangrian Falls and Kapurpurawan Rock Formation (both in Burgos) and get exhilarated.
  • Learn to skimboard in the beaches of Pasuquin. Unlike surfing, skimboarding begins near the shore.


  • Enjoy a picnic amidst fresh air at the Villa Lita River Resort in Brgy. Ablan, Burgos, after which you can check out refmad farms, the first dragon fruit farm in the Ilocos Region. Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya or strawberry pear, is the fruit of several cactus species. It is believed to have medicinal properties (Click here to read related story).

  • Go on an extreme mountain bike adventure in Adams via the Pasian-Adams-Pasaleng route. Enjoying nature and beautiful sceneries (like the ancient Baset Hanging Bridge, the crystal-clear Bulo River, the rustic Sitio Sinidangan, the jacuzzi-like Kiwat Falls), plus the adrenalin-pumping downhill ride along the slippery rocks of the Badjang Trail, make up for the grueling bike climb.

Sitio Sinidangan, Adams

Kiwat Falls, Brgy. Pasaleng, Pagudpud

  • Rent a banca; tour the mangroves in Davila, Pasuquin. You might want to go farther and wait for a close encounter with dolphins. March to June is the best time to go sailing.

Davila, Pasuquin mangroves

seagrass bed, Davila Pasuquin

Bird watch

According to Dir. Martin Valera, DoT Region I Head, birding or bird watching is an emerging travel trend. Observing and identifying birds, a fresh way to appreciate the wonders of nature, is gaining ground among local hobbyists. In the country, birding sites like Candaba Marsh in Pampanga, Olango Island Sanctuary in Cebu, Philippine Eagle Center in Davao, Bangrin Marine Protected Area in Pangasinan, Hundred Islands National Park, Subterranean River National Park in Puerto Princesa, and Rasa Island in Palawan, among others, are attracting local and international tourists from various birding clubs all over the world.

When asked about the birding sites in the province, Dir. Valera said, “The Paoay Lake National Park has been identified and the town of Adams is promising.” He showed me his latest acquisition—a pair of binoculars which he intends to use for his first birding adventure. Aside from binoculars, a birder needs a spotting scope with tripod, a notepad, a camera or a camcorder, a field guide and a birdbook (birding list). There are over 600 bird species in the country; 200 are endemic; we have more endemic avian species per square meter compared to the Amazon.

In Adams, sightings of 18 bird species have been reported by the DENR; the endemic species are: Common Emerald Dove, Green Imperial Pigeon, Turtle Dove, Scops Owl, Rufous Hornbill, Philippine Forest Kingfisher, Coleto, Woodpecker, Hanging Parakeet, Quail, Labuyo or wild chicken, Brahminy Kite, Tarictic Hornbill, Serpent Eagle, Philippine Hawk Eagle, Little Crow; and the introduced species are: Zebra Dove and Crested Myna.

Sightings of the Philippine Eagle in Pagudpud, Adams, and the adjacent town of Kalanasan in Apayao, have been reported by locals in the past; to this day, the DENR has not confirmed its veracity.

Responsible travel

When traveling to natural areas, one should be sensitive to the negative environmental and social impacts. Individual impacts caused by recreation can accumulate to degrade the environment. Always be guided by the simple and easy to remember “pack it in, pack it out” and “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints”. “A more sophisticated set of outdoor and ethical principles is the Leave No Trace (Click here) which aims to build awareness, appreciation and respect for nature. To summarize, observing eco-friendly travel practices, respecting the hosts and their culture, being considerate of other travelers and respecting wildlife are foremost.

Making a meaningful connection with the townsfolk is a positive way to empower the host community and appreciate other cultures.

The three Rs

The world is quickly running out of space. We can produce less waste by practicing the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle concept. Reduce the amount and toxicity of trash you discard; buy products that are less toxic or contain less packaging. Reuse containers and products; repair what is broken or give it to someone who can repair it. Recycle as much as possible, which includes buying products with recycled content.

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