Batangueña turns love for the environment into livelihood project

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By Nikka Garriga

MABINI, BATANGAS–Having been born with a love for nature and in outdoor activities, Ichay Bulaong has always wondered about ways by which she can proactively participate in helping the environment.

“There’s been so much hype about global warming lately and my reaction has shifted from ignorance [carbon what?], to indifference [the destructive effects will not be felt by my generation], showing off [I'm now segregating my trash. Are you?], and resignation [I am just one person],” Ichay says in her Luntian Bags website.

It took an article published in Time Specials back in 2007 about the harmful effects of plastic bags that a “germ of an idea” sprung up.

“More than the numbers, however, my main takeaway was that we [normal people and not scientists or radical activists] can do something about it,” she says.

She then decided to establish Luntian Bags, which eventually became a two-fold cause. The venture is an environmental campaign and a source of livelihood for the local community here, where their second home is located.

“Through the years, we have come to know the local residents- wonderful simple people who have welcomed us into their community- and we have always tried to ‘give back’ to them in any way we can,” she says.

Luntian Bags offer stylish bags made of canvas and Igorot cloth that comes in eight different designs. There are handwoven by the unemployed women in the town of San Teodoro and designed also by local artists like Joan Mateo and Owie Lazatin.

The venture also aims to promote the use of reusable bags, or bring-your-own-bag, instead of wasting plastic ones.

Having a career in the corporate world, Ichay admits it wasn’t as easy putting the plan into action as “sewing bags and selling retail are definitely not in my resume” while raising a family.

“But corny as it may sound, this project has been adding so much passion into my life. I am not out to save the world but if I can make a bit of a difference, then I consider myself fulfilled. I am just one person.”

(Photos taken from the Luntian Bags website)

Get more information on Luntian Bags

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