The Camp for Earth Little Rays of Sunshine

Camp for Earth collage 1

At the exuberant first CAMP for EARTH in Ilocos, “little hands and little steps” were the focal point of the summer camp out.

More often than not, parents underestimate the child’s thirst for knowledge. The initiators, non-government entities Laoag Eco-Adventure Movemnent (LEAD) and Project 101, in partnership with the Northwestern University Ecotourism Park and Botanical Gardens (NUEBG), see so much promise. The stimulus of fun in action expectantly help “rewire” young minds for a cleaner and happier earth.

The youth are a bundle of thoughts and passion — it amazes the volunteers of the said pilot project to no end.

Camp for Earth 56

Experts such as manager Michael Calaramo of the NUEBG, the search and rescue crew of the Philippine Air Force 505th SAR Grp and the SAR unit of the Philippine National Police-Ilocos Norte, and celebrity cake artists Ace and Kit Mandac of Ava’s Cakes and Partyshop were tapped to share their skills on select lively topics relevant to skill and idea building and empowerment.

New friendships were forged as well.

Camp for Earth collage 2Camp for Earth 63Camp for Earth  69Camp for Earth 124Camp for Earth  70Camp for Earth 101Cupcake BaseCamp for Earth 33Cupcake Design ClassCamp for Earth 39Camp for Earth 45Camp for Earth 40Camp for Earth 36Cupcake Tree design by LukasSnowman Cupcake by DragonCamp for Earth CupcakesCamp for Earth 5Camp for Earth 15Camp for Earth 17Camp for Earth collage 3Camp for Earth 19Camp for Earth 13Camp for Earth 14Camp for Earth 25Boodle Fight

The 3 R’s and the concept of sustainabilty were introduced and practiced while at camp. A commemorative group tree planting activity before the graduation ceremonies made the event more meaningful.

Picture 328Camp for Earth collage 4Dish GardenSpoon RelayCamp for Earth collage 6YannaCamp for Earth collage 5

On a personal note, words are not enough to describe how proud I am for the first campers for earth. The summer heat was not a damper to their spirits. Congrats, eco-campers!

Camp for Earth wishes to thank Viajero Outdoor Center in Cagayan de Oro for the outdoor gear gifts, Northwestern University President Ms. Liza Nicolas, Mrs. Erlinda Gloria, Raine Mateo Calucag, Philippine National Red Cross Ilocos Norte Chapter, the volunteers and facilitators, Ms. Alma Ajero, Crystal Dew, Leah’s Empanaditas, Red Dot, the NUEBG staff, Mr. Butch Nicolas, Mr. Reny Tan, the little campers and their parents.

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Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Revisiting the Ilocano Spirit with Northwestern University Tourism Students

NU Tourism Seminar

I forced myself to get up to attend a prior commitment with NU Tourism students and speak about tourism opportunities in 2020. I got sick all of a sudden from the crazy hectic schedule the past 3 weeks. I had to edit a gazillion photos and squeeze in trekking with CoreTV, hosting UP-AIT tourism students and lecturing 2 sets of visiting tourism and hospitality students of the Lyceum University of Cavite. My life nowadays is centered on tourism, typical of the days when I was working with government sans the stressful politics. I realized it’s more fulfilling when service is not a compromise. I told the students it’s hard to believe I’m not a graduate of any tourism or tourism-related course, but I know precisely how I got myself into selling my hometown. I told them there is no manual if tourism is based on the LEAD Movement track record. We didn’t plan developing ecotourism in Adams prior to our initial explorations in the town nor did we ever plan the sand adventure backyard project to be as big like it is now. Everything was spontaneous but logical.

When I asked the students of Cavite what they enjoyed most in Ilocos, in unison they chorused, “Sand Dunes!” Incidentally, they explored the Laoag La Paz sand dunes with LEAD Movement. It’s heartwarming. We’re independent, we don’t get financial backing from government, we don’t have tarps in the metro, we only have creative LEADers who run a facebook page, blog about sandboarding and help out during media visits and events. Doing things in our own terms is something we are proud of.

To prepare them for a future in tourism, I told them to think out of the box and be original and not generic. Creating something distinct and indigenous over the long term is the better alternative than investing big money on something faddish or a mere duplication. Trends may come and go, but something interesting and unique will outlive the goal, especially if it is to empower and improve the quality of life of the entire community.

I reiterated it’s not a plug, it’s to inspire them to believe in their capabilities. It’s the ILOCANO SPIRIT TO DREAM BIG.

NU Tourism Seminar
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Rap and Ripple: Big Turnout for #MoveIlocos

Maria Ressa @ #MoveIlocos

The New Media Hall of the Northwestern University was filled to the rafters for Rappler‘s #MoveIlocos, the 12th of Move.Ph‘s “Social Media for Social Change” chat series throughout the country. Same as the two other adjacent rooms equipped with speakers.

CEO and Executive Director, veteran journalist Maria Ressa, headed the Rappler team comprised of Chay Hofileña, Michael Josh Villanueva, Paterno Esmaquel II, Voltaire Tupaz and Patricia Evangelista in presenting the growing social media trend and the whole concept of the social media network that each netizen can build to promote social change, adopting it as a lifestyle, and making online time positive and more useful.

Rappler Managing Editor Glenda Gloria (taga-Ilocos) moderated the event in the vernacular.


Smart questions were asked by workshop participants coming from various schools in Ilocos Norte. One of the queries was the origin of the social news network’s name, Rappler, which was answered with “rap” (to discuss) + “ripple” (to make waves).

If you’ll remember, the legitimacy of the online news site was challenged after it broke a story about then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona’s controversial PhD from the UST on December 22, 2011, a few days after 188 of the 285 members of the House of Representatives signed an impeachment complaint against him. On May 29, 2012, Corona was found guilty by the Senate of Article II of the Articles of Impeachment filed against him for failure to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth.


“We are not allowed to be neutral because silence is consent,” Maria Ressa eloquently said. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, she added,  “Be the change you want to be.”

Chay Hofileña discussed how citizen journalism can alter election culture. In a separate topic, Josh Villanueva amplified the use of social media to empower.

Paterno Esmaquel described a multimedia reporter as someone who maximizes gadgets and diskarte to tell a story. Furthermore, the sterling storyteller Pat Evangelista demonstrated the brilliant, creative ways to tell compelling stories.

The power of social media to tell a story as well as its negative use such as the Chris Lao cyberbullying story which almost cost him his life was given emphasis. Rappler related that at the Social Good Summit 2012, Chris, now a lawyer, spoke: I will live the rest of my life healing wounds.

Rappler also mentioned statistics and algorithm tools that prove we are the capital of social media in the world. In Laoag City alone, there are 96 thousand FB account users.


Cesar Chavez once said, “Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.”

Additional reads at
Ilocanos discuss local issues with passion
LIVE BLOG: #MoveIlocos

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013