Nov 20, 2019

It’s easy to see how and why sustainability has seeped into our lives—from commodities like straws to nationwide systems like utilizing eco-jeeps and electric cars for public transportation. With the Earth’s alarming rate of deterioration, it’s become more a matter of survival than thoughtfulness.

But although we often talk on a global scale, the effects of poor environmental health are felt in smaller communities. Take the island of Siargao for instance. With a population of just under 95,000—a far cry from the 12.8 million of Manila—sustainability is a constantly looming concern that the community faces.

According to governor Francisco T. Matugas, issues like waste management and insufficient water and power have plagued the island since tourism spiked over the last few years. It’s an issue borne of increased use of single-use plastics, the depletion of local resources, and general mistreatment of the environment. In response, Siargao has since started rehabilitation efforts due to the high pollution within its natural resources.

Tourists only deal with these inconveniences for a short period but locals have to live with it for a lifetime. That’s why creating sustainable tourism isn’t just good but also necessary. Globe, one of the country’s biggest telecom companies, also thinks so, which is why it initiated the Siargao Sustainable Tourism Week with the Department of Tourism. The telco giant partnered with establishments across the island to help promote sustainability practices in tourist spots.

Food is a good starting point. As the industry with one of the largest carbon footprints, establishing sustainable practices in foodservice can make a lasting impact to heal the Earth in the long run. 

If you’re planning a little trip to the surfing capital, here are a few food spots you can visit that have eco-friendliness at its heart.

 

Lokal

Purok Kalachuchi, Pob 1. Burgos, Surigao del Norte
@lokalsiargao
[email protected]

 

View this post on Instagram

 

This week we’re embracing the heat and giving you a summer-colored plate that’s all fresh and completely vegan. #discoverweekly

A post shared by LOKAL (@lokalsiargao) on

Lokal is a food hub found in the northern town of Burgos, 30 minutes away from General Luna. Their food is cooked with meat and vegetable produce farmed by locals and seafood from local fishermen, and is affordably priced so that it’s more accessible to tourists, and more importantly, the local community. Lokal also has a market where residents of the community can display their products for free. 

 

Bayatakan Farm

8400 San Isidro, Surigao Del Norte
 @bayatakanfarm
0999-6417389

“Whatever you harvest, you must plant again,” is the golden rule at Bayatakan Farm. The farm offers an experience to its visitors where you get to harvest and cook your own lunch with the help of local Bayatakan owner Analyn Dolpina and her team. The farm-to-table menu is always vegan Filipino food (bye, meat-based carbon emissions). As the cherry on top, Bayatakan’s organic farming system is also transitioning towards zero-waste operations.

 

MA+D Coffee

Abukay Beach House, General Luna, Surigao del Norte
 @madsiargao
0908-5970063/[email protected]

MA+D Coffee is all about creating a sustainable system not just as a business, but also as a collaborator. According to founder Omar Tawfek, the coffee shop sources its beans from small-time farmers in over 21 locations across the country, from Kalinga down to Sultan Kudarat. Along with that, they also make it a point to teach these same farmers how to sell their beans to raise their prices. During their day-to-day operations, steps are taken to minimize waste, like used coffee being repurposed as compost.

 

Clearly, for the people of Siargao, sustainability doesn’t stop at caring for and repairing the environment. It’s also about protecting the locals’ way of life and uplifting their livelihoods. After all, the most important part of sustainability is enabling the people who can make it happen.

 

Header image courtesy of Bayatakan Farm

Get more stories like this by subscribing to our weekly newsletter here.

Read more:

Siargao’s best pizza is now in Poblacion

A local’s guide to the best Siargao eats

Young Siargao-based architect plans to turn beach waste into buildings

TAGS: department of tourism Globe Globe telecom Siargao sustainability sustainable tourism tourism