Partnering for marine conservation


Nowadays it’s difficult to paint a bright picture of the planet in the face of climate change, but we can at least try.

That’s what we did during the second part of our Sustainable Tourism Panel Discussion Series in MakeSense Philippines, this time tackling beaches!

I’ve been a volunteer in MakeSense for over a year now. The first event that our team organized was Sustainable Tourism: Tribes, and we can proudly claim that event as a success as well. We were able to gather over 30+ people and exchange ideas during that event.

This time, we invited different people with initiatives related to sustainable tourism and the beach. Our panel members come from different sectors, from the academe down to the industry. One of our main goals for the event was to find synergies among these different people coming from different backgrounds. Despite their differences, they’re each working for the same thing, which is the conservation of our beaches and waters. 

I know this sounds like a very academic and ideal thing to do. But it’s something that we can strive towards. 

Personally, my career right now revolves around the academe. In the academe, you’re taught and trained to think of the ideal and what the world should strive towards. At the same time, I can honestly admit that what we lack is an accurate grasp of the realities on the ground. Several of my colleagues can attest to this. However, despite being a weakness, these are the exact leverage points that the academe can work with together with the industry. If the academe has insights or models for a better future, industries are at the pedestal to execute these. This is where the synergies among different sectors come in. 

But how exactly will these synergies work?

In Sustainable Tourism: Beaches, we gained insights as to how this can be possible. One of our speakers, a coral reel scientist, talks about how there are only less than 100 marine scientists in the Philippines working to protect our coral reefs. With more than 7,000 islands in the country, clearly this number is not enough to monitor the coral reefs. According to him, only 2% of organizations working on corals employ marine scientists. 

This is a possible entry point for cross-sector partnerships. This is where collaboration comes in, because not one sector alone can save our coral reefs. 

And this just so happens to be another one of the main goals of the Sustainable Tourism Panel Discussion Series. If we can identify synergies and collaborations among different sectors, we will have better chances of saving Mother Earth. In this case — protecting and conserving our marine biodiversity. 

Let’s take the conversation forward. Find out how we can collaborate for a sustainable future:

Why I choose social entrepreneurship


I was first engrossed with the idea of social entrepreneurship when I first visited the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm (GKEF). If you would notice my two previous blog posts, both of them were about the GKEF too. I just can’t get enough of the place. The thought of building agricultural social enterprises to help underserved communities was very attractive to me. I wanted to create a social impact that will resonate among many people. There and then, when I visited the farm, I knew that I wanted to do something similar.

These blocks of letters are found at the GKEF’s Hyundai Building, where the Social Business Summit is usually held and the SEED students conduct their classes.

Following my GKEF visit, I began looking for a part-time job that would satiate my desire to start a social enterprise. That’s when I found the DLSU Center for Business Research and Development. I became a research assistant there, and since then I was exposed to several social enterprises like Anthill Fabric Gallery, ReyMic Enterprises, engageSPARK, Bayani Brew, Karabella Dairy, and many more. I have fun doing research about these social enterprises, and I believe it’s one way for me to become one step closer in fully learning how to build my own social enterprise. I admit that I still have a lot to learn, most especially in the operations and finance aspect, but it looks like I’m doing good so far!

Me (in blue shirt) together with my professor (in white), fellow research assistant (in blue polo), and secretary of the DLSU Center for Business Research and Development.

My interest on social entrepreneurship just continues to grow every day. Just like what one of my mentors would always say, the problems we see in society shouldn’t be seen as problems per se, but as opportunities to create social business solutions that will tackle those problems. If you’re successful, you can even replicate that solution and expand it so that more people would benefit from it.

One particular social enterprise that inspires me is Human Nature, which started even before the GKEF was formed. Human Nature sells and produces beauty and cosmetic products that are environment-friendly. They also pay their workers with something higher than the minimum wage. Moreover, they have expanded to other countries such as the United States. But what consistently strucks me the most about them is their advocacies on women empowerment, wherein they organized a summit about it.

This shows us that social enterprises do not just mean business and that the social aspect is not only secondary. In fact, what makes social enterprises different from traditional businesses is that the social aspect is one of social enterprises’ main agenda. While Human Nature makes sure that its revenue streams are constantly flowing through sales and whatnot, it also has the ultimate goal of promoting environment-friendly products and women empowerment. These advocacies are directly embedded in the totality of their brand; the way they market and advertise their products is a manifestation of their social mission.

Recently, I’ve also joined a social enterprise competition called the BPI Sinag U for Entrepreneurs. We are developing an urban agriculture business model that will initially focus on the sustainable development of relocation sites in the Philippines. Ultimately, our goal is “to establish sustainable communities through urban agriculture.” We know how people in relocation sites do not really want to live in such places because they don’t see any opportunity there. But what if we show them that relocation sites can become economically viable? Urban agriculture has been one of the foremost, recent solutions in urban settings due to its simplicity and effectivity. Instead of buying vegetables and fruits in the supermarket, which are evidently pricy as compared to when you buy directly from farmers, with urban agriculture you can now produce your own crops. You can even sell them and make a business out of it. Through the social enterprise that my team and I are forming, we are looking into being able to expand this urban agriculture business model to other communities in the country–not just relocation sites. If ever we succeed in this competition, we will definitely push through with this business.

Me (in blue) together with other DLSU representatives for BPI Sinag U for Entrepreneurs.

My social entrepreneurship journey so far has been filled with challenges and opportunities. If it were not for the people who supports me along the way, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. Here’s to nation building and finding innovative solutions to our social ills!

Let’s take the conversation forward. Find out how we can collaborate for a sustainable future: