This was a pretty crazy week for myself and the Adventure Bag Crew. I spent the week exploring the island of El Nido, collecting trash and creating content to share and hopefully inspire others to get motivated about preserving and protecting our environment. I was invited out to El Nido to participate by founders Ellie and Owen from the Clean Cliffs Project. They are both professional Red Bull cliff divers and started the movement, which is similar in many ways to Adventure Bag Crew.
After several days of island hopping, I then was lucky enough to watch the Red Bull cliff diving competition, the first ever in the Philippines. I continued cleaning up while out there and began promoting our El Nido cleanup. It was pretty crazy to think that only a few months after creating Adventure Bag Crew, we were collaborating with Redbull and featured on their livestreams, videos and interviews.
Here are some of the cleanups and videos we created in the first few days of our El Nido experience.
After the Red Bull Cliff Diving event concluded the focus shifted to our cleanup. We decided to do it on a Sunday morning at 8 am on El Nido Main Beach and were stoked when 40-50 legends turned up to help!
Half of the group headed off towards the left and half towards the right. Along the way, we discovered that despite the hotels and restaurants sweeping and cleaning in front of their premises, there was a lot of trash. Most of it was jammed under rocks or not directly on the sand.
As always, cigarette butts, plastic wrappers, and bottles were the most collected items. Cigarettes are the most littered item in the world and they always cover the beach.
It was awesome that so many travelers gave up a day of island hopping to join us and shows that the travel community cares about the environment. They know how spectacular El Nido is and recognize the need to protect it. It was equally as amazing to have a huge group of locals join us to do their bit. I saw this group of ten guys talking and teaching some kids they met along the beach as well. It always makes me proud to unite travelers and locals because it is a global problem but we all care no matter where we are from or what language we speak.
After an hour in the hot sun, we gathered back to meet up again and have a group photo. Shaka Cafe was kind enough to sponsor the cleanup by giving every participant a 200 peso voucher for a breakfast after the workshop so we all jumped in tuk-tuks and ripped down to Lio Beach for a post-cleanup smoothie bowl.
El Nido has made some great changes lately by banning plastic straws both on island-hopping trips and in the entire town. You will only ever see paper straws it’s amazing! El Nido banned plastic shopping bags also. They also banned single-use plastic water bottles on the island hopping trips! We want to celebrate those achievements and push El Nido to take it even further. It will not only benefit El Nido but there are many other provinces in the Philippines who are inspired by El Nido’s actions and are now following suit. Even people in other countries are talking about how progressive El Nido is. So, I offer congratulations for the actions taken so far and urge the mayor and lawmakers to relentlessly pursue what is best for the environment and to keep inspiring the Philippines and the world.
Thanks to everyone who came out and supported the Adventure Bag Crew, Clean Cliffs Project and most importantly El Nido!