Minimalist Me: Clothes

The good thing about maintaining the same body shape and weight for around 10 years now is I don’t have to buy new clothes all the time. If I do have to buy clothes, I go to second hand shops where with patience and a little bit of luck, I manage to find a nice shirt or two at a really cheap price.

Most of my clothes are hand me downs, or presents from friends, or shirts I get from attending advocacy events. I’m sure I’m not the favorite person of retailers because I don’t contribute much to the consumerist world where your value is measured by how much you spend shopping.

Fast fashion has huge environmental costs – water pollution, use of toxic chemicals, and  textile waste. Polyester fabric shed microfibers adding more plastic to already plastic-filled water bodies. Organic cotton doesn’t use toxic chemicals but requires a lot of water.

Should I just go au naturale and banish myself in the mountains like a true Igorot? Come to think of it, my ancestors back in the days just wore bahag or loin cloth, a piece of clothing wrapped around the hips.


Image may contain: 6 people, people standing and indoor
You can see me here wearing a bahag and er, showing some skin. Photo Credit: Haire Kadari

Recycled fabric is the best bet but they’re not easy to come by. So an option is to simplify and adopt a minimalist approach to clothing. Less stress emotionally (as you don’t have to constantly worry about having too much clothes and nothing to wear). Less stress on your pocket. And less stress on the environment. More stress to capitalists though but they should be the least of our concern.


Minimalist Me: Shoes

How many pairs of shoes do you have?

This question flashed on the screen as the 1997 Iranian film, “Children of Heaven” concluded. The movie is about a brother and sister who had to share a pair of sneakers to wear to school. The sister wears them in the morning then hurries home so she could give the shoes back to his brother who then has to run to school but ends up almost always late for class.

I have three pairs – dress shoes, casual office shoes, and sneakers. Double or is it triple digits for the ladies, I suppose, trying to beat Imelda’s record of thousands of shoes.


The shoes I buy would normally last me for years. I’ve learned to prioritize quality though they come at a price. It’s worth it, nonetheless. Sometimes, I feel like I’m such a cheapskate. I wouldn’t want to part with my worn out shoes justifying that there’s still life left in it. The materials shoes are made of (leather and rubber) are not exactly environment-friendly so the less I buy shoes, the more I minimize my ecological footprint.

There are claims that we don’t really need to wear shoes so maybe I should just go barefoot. But I’m at the mercy of so-called social standard telling me what I’m supposed to wear, what’s appropriate. Formal, casual, rugged, party shoes, workout shoes, running shoes, hiking shoes, shoes to match one’s outfit… Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching for the capitalists!

How about you, how many pairs of shoes do you have?


Pulsing with passion
Life, love, luck
Warning yet enticing
Heart beats, heart bleeds

Tech for Agri, Tech for Good

Black Mirror showed us the scary, dark side of technology. But with SenseTech, a global mobilization initiative of MakeSense, the power of technology can be harnessed to achieve the sustainable development goals.

In the Philippines, the related event held on February 22, 2018 at Penbrothers Makati focused on sustainable agriculture. The speakers were Jim Cano of Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Philippines; Rodolfo Ramirez of 8layer Technologies; and Jericho Arellano and Ian Mia from the start-ups, LakbayAnihan and Lungtian, respectively.


The discussion highlighted some of the issues of the agriculture sector such as lack of government support, uninterested youth, and technology not being maximized due to limited internet connectivity. However, it was noted how SMS or text messaging in itself can already be a helpful tool in providing critical information. This access to relevant information paired with collaboration can magnify the positive impact of technology.

The Tech for Agri event also featured the special performance of artist Jean Paul Zialcita who uses unconventional musical instruments such as water container, goat horns, pieces of wood, and others.

MakeSense is a growing community that is mainly run by volunteers with about 22,000 members worldwide. They empower people to engage in projects and help social entrepreneurs solve concrete challenges to contribute to solutions for some of the biggest problems we face today.



Diet for Climate: How your food choices can mitigate climate change

Climate change impacts food security which can lead to hunger.

This was stressed by Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Yeb Saño during the “Ship Ahoy: Diet for Climate” event on February 15, 2018 held onboard the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior Ship.

The said event aimed to promote eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat because a plant-based diet can mitigate climate change as it generates relatively low greenhouse gasses compared to the meat industry.

According to DOST Asst. Scientist Dr. Imelda Agdeppa of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, there is a problem of under and over nutrition as well as nutrient deficiency in the Philippines. This is due to the decrease in the intake of fruits and vegetables; and in contrast a slight increase of meat intake.

Greenpeace Food and Ecological Agriculture Campaigner Virginia Benosa-Llorin mentioned that in a commissioned survey, seven out of ten Filipinos are meat eaters with meat being tasty as one of the reasons why they prefer it over vegetables.

To demonstrate that food can be healthy and tasty at the same time, Rainbow Warrior Chef Daniel Bravo, Chef Giney Villar of Feliza Taverna Y Cafe, and TV personality Love Añover-Lianko showed how to prepare meatless recipes.

Chef Daniel said that whatever is good for you is good for the environment as he presented his version of ceviche or kinilaw using mung beans (mongo) as the main ingredient. He called the dish “fruits of the earth” and described it as a nutritional symbiotic ecosystem.

Chef Giney encouraged the eating of raw, “living” food; to be familiar with the food that we eat; and to eat local. She created a fruit chocolate dip made from tablea, fried and green pinipig, and muscovado.

Meanwhile, Love Añover, as a mother, stressed the importance of making healthy food attractive for kids and teaching them how to eat and prepare healthy dishes. She came up with a salad dressing using honey, mustard, calamansi, pepper, and salt.

“Ship Ahoy: Diet for Climate” was part of the Greenpeace Southeast Asia Philippine Leg Rainbow Warrior Ship Tour. The tour will be highlighting the real impacts of climate change in the country and, at the same time, celebrate solutions towards climate resilience and resistance.



Hating on Veggies

Why do kids hate vegetables so much?

Chef Giney Villar said it’s because they’re not really exposed to it. Busy parents resort to easy to prepare processed food and convenient takeaways. The influence of fastfood advertising doesn’t help. I remember attending a baby’s christening celebration held at a fastfood chain. Children learn early on that unhealthy food is the best for them.

To promote healthy and sustainable eating among parents and school children, demonstrate healthy and sustainable ways of cooking food for children, and come up with simple doable list of activities for children and their parents on how they can eat healthy and help in climate change mitigation with their food choices, #IAmHampasLupa Ecological Agriculture Movement together with Greenpeace organized the “Healthy Eats and Treats School Caravan” at West Fairview Elementary School on February 3, 2018.

Part of the event was a cooking demo by Chef Giney who introduced how to prepare tasty tofu patties. Just mix ground tofu, a little flour, grated carrots, chopped onions and onion leaves, plus salt to taste. Then it’s ready for frying. Chef Giney likewise showed how to make spaghetti sauce out of real ingredients – a mix of tomato paste, eggplant, carrots, onion, garlic, salt, sugar, and oil. Really, this aversion towards veggies can be prevented if we try to be a little more creative with our cooking.



During the school caravan, I asked the participating students about their favorite fruit and vegetable. Their answer, apple and squash. The most hated veggie, as expected, is ampalaya (bitter gourd). All of a sudden, a group of kids started chanting “chicken joy.” We had fish and pinakbet (Filipino vegetable dish) for lunch and I noticed not a lot of the kids finished the pinakbet. These say a lot about the current generation’s eating habit.

It’s not too late, though. As Chef Giney said, we can actually train our taste buds. Our tongues are so used to artificial food with high salt and high sugar content but we can start lessening our intake of these and slowly transition to healthier more plant-based diet. We do this for the sake of our bodies and the planet.


January in Photos

Challenged myself to take at least one photo each day. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. There would be days where I was uninspired or there was just nothing to take a photo of. But what I liked about this self-imposed challenge is I became more observant and I started looking at things around me with fresh eyes.

Here’s my random line-up. 1. New Year fireworks 2. expanse of rice field 3. office table 4. a man in the dark 5. plate of Pad Thai 6. line of motorcycles 7. a looking-away selfie 8. an old couple holding hands 9. Makati buildings 10. colleagues 11. view from the side mirror 12. grapes 13. Greenpeace wall 14. protest art 15. signage 16. an empty park 17. vintage windows and ceiling 18. elevator ceiling lights 19. foliage 20. the sky through a wired fence 21. early morning view from my window 22. Philippine map 23. BGC street art 24. fluorescent lamp 25. brainstorming notes 26. traffic 27. leaves bathed in the rain 28. billboard 29. pedestrians waiting 30. wall art 31. the night sky and a dot of moon