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6 Sustainable Siargao Initiatives to Follow

There’s really something to be said about people that not only create beautiful things, but put the planet in mind as they do it. The island inspires many beautiful experiences and great ideas including these fun and creative ways to build fun ways to be sustainable. In celebration of Earth Day 2023, we thought it best to feature some of the earth-friendly brands and movements that are brewing in the island of Siargao. Make sure to support these sustainable initiatives the next time you visit. We interviewed each one so you can hear all about them in their own words.

1. Side B

What makes Side B a sustainable brand?
SIDE B Upcycling Retail Inc. (or SIDE B) is a Filipino upcycling brand or, as we like to say, an upcyclewear brand that works with local crafts people to turn useable surplus waste into eco-friendly, functional, and unique products.

The brand’s ethos is its purpose: to champion environmental stewardship through Filipino craftsmanship.

By using and combining materials such as discarded tarpaulins, old fabric, flour and jute sacks, to name a few, SIDE is able to exercise sustainability in design, fashion, and retail.

Upskilling also takes place as local artisans can further their craft with a more eco-centric process, while benefitting from ethical practices and enjoying livable wages. Collaborating with other local brands that make use of tech-driven products also helps with the overall cause and creative approach.

How did the idea come about?
SIDE B is inspired by Western sustainability fashion brands and the Philippines’ potential into becoming a greener country with its own pool of local companies that banner sustainability in the circular economy. But the trigger was Stu’s (Founder) exposure to too many one-off marketing materials, most especially tarpaulins, during his PR-Marketing days.

What was once a creative outlet, which first manifested through bags and tarpaulins, is now a full-fledged business and advocacy that continues to grow into a full line of products involving different Filipino crafts people.

What is one small thing everyday people can practice to live more sustainably from your perspective?
To us, it’s always the little things. Our stand on innovation is to provide alternatives—it’s not what to add, but what to replace. The same goes into our everyday habits towards sustainability. If you think it’s too difficult to make the switch overnight, go for the little things like bringing your own takeout / on-the-go containers when going for a coffee run, or conserve on utilities, or support local brands that advocate for these. We think one doesn’t have to be a hardcore eco warrior to make a difference, but carrying a conscious mindset in terms of everyday consumption can go a long way.

How can people reach Side B?
SIDE B welcomes messages, inquiries, and collaborations, and we can be reached through the following channels:

Facebook and Instagram: @sideb.upcyclingph
Email: sideb.upcycling@gmail.com

Our products can be found in the following establishments:
+ Common Folk Coffee Bar (White Plains and Capitol Hills Drive in Quezon City)
+ Harana Surf Resort (Siargao Island)

2. Nala

What makes Nala a sustainable brand?
Sustainability has been a guiding principle for our brand since inception. From product all the way to the packaging, we tried our best in figuring out ways to eliminate the use of plastic and how to work the ingredients & products sourced from suppliers who follow sustainable practices, such as using environmentally friendly farming methods.

Our pads and tampons are made from 100% organic cotton grown without chemical fertilizers. Additionally, the wrapper and backsheet films in the pads are biodegradable and made from cornstarch. Our tampons are packaged with elemental chlorine cardboard applicators and paper wrappers. We also only use paper packaging and avoid plastic packaging like bubble wrap and cling wrap when shipping products from our online store.

Overall, Nala Woman strives to create sustainable products that are environmentally friendly, and this commitment to sustainability sets the brand apart.

How did the idea come about?
My brother and I were talking about starting a period care company, and after much research we were shocked by the amount of plastic waste a women’s monthly menses contributed to the plastic pollution problem. did you know that traditional period care products are made out of plastic and synthetic fibers that take about 500 to 800 years to degrade? A pack of traditional sanitary pads alone has the equivalent of 5 plastic bags. Nala Woman products (from product to packaging) only take 3 years to biodegrade in natural conditions.

What is one small thing everyday people can practice to live more sustainably from your perspective?
Make the switch to more sustainable period care options from biodegradable and reusable sanitary pads to menstrual cups. A few days a month (instead of everyday) can make a world of a difference to our landfills and oceans.

How can people reach Nala?
You can email us at hello@nalawoman.com, or DM us on Facebook, Instagram DM, and on platforms like Shopee or Lazada. Drop in with your product and even women’s health questions (which we get a lot of) and we always do our best to answer or guide you to a health practitioner.

In Siargao, we’re available in KS Surf Shop, Bravo Store, and Vinta but if you’re around the Philippines you can find us in:
– Same Day Delivery in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu on www.nalawoman.com
Watsons, Rose Pharmacy, Coop Grocer, Landers, SM Supermarkets, and few other specialty stores (online & physical stores) that sell sustainable, baby & mama products.

3. Nature Kids Siargao

What makes Nature Kids a sustainable initiative?
Nature Kids is a non-profit organisation creating projects that support our community and its environment. All our projects aim to be zero waste. A big help to reach that goal is our Recycling Art Studio that accepts and up-cycle trash into new products. The Studio can handle soft plastic (such as wrappers, sashets etc), clothes, bedfoams and also styrofoam. We ensure that all trash is sanitised and then we shred or melt it into new products.

Our most popular product is our eco-filled bean bags. On an average level we up-cycle around 700 kilograms of trash collected from all over Siargao on a monthly basis.

How did the idea come about?
When funding N.K.o.S 2013 we started education children the importance of no littering. Soon our kids became very aware about the trash problem on the island and started quoestining why it mattered to segregate their trash if the dump truck ended up throwing it all mixed in the landfill anyhow. Therefor we opened The Recycling Art Studio – to ensure all those thousands of kilos of trash didn’t end up in the jungle or in our rivers anymore, showing our kids that their effort to segregate mattered!

What is one small thing everyday people can practice to live more sustainably from your perspective?
We all know the basic things like bring your own waterbottle, shopping bag and tupperware. If there is an option and you can afford, try to buy bigger bulk of items instead of single use portions of coffee, snacks and hygiene products. Sachets are a very, very bad thing in the Philippines and we as consumers should really try to avoid it.

How can people reach you?
Facebook: Nature Kids of Siargao / Siargao Recycling Art Studio / ATE Sewing Siargao
Instagram: @naturekidsofsiargao / @recyclingartstudio / @atesiargao
Our office and projects are located in Burgos, north side of Siargao and we accept visitors every Saturday.

4. Good Karma Naturals

What makes Good Karma Naturals a sustainable initiative?
Created in 2016, my product conceptualization started with the packaging – paper, tin, or glass. I had been making VCO since 2015, and in March 2016, I learned how to make natural soaps using the oils I make and wrapped them in glassine paper. I then explored making other skin care products and always thought – if it can be made and packed with my preferred packaging types then I would make it.

How did the idea come about?
The brand came about during one of my rock bottom periods in my life, having recently started a new family with an unstable relationship to begin with, the only hope I could see was to focus on the good of what I was doing at that time which was virgin coconut oil. I named it Good Karma Naturals to put it out there and remind us of the cycles of life.

What is one small thing everyday people can practice to live more sustainably from your perspective?
This question is a huge one and there’s so many ways to answer this. I say, a window of time spent outdoors at least once a day to watch the skies and zoom out of your own life is the best way to keep grounded.

How can people reach you?
You can reach me via messenger – Caye Kay, or through Good Karma Naturals pages
Facebook: Good Karma Naturals
Instagram: @goodkarmanaturals
Shop online: https://moon-island.shopboxo.io

5. Culture Club

What makes Culture Club a sustainable initiative?
Culture Club practices sustainability by using glass bottles and jars for selling our fermented products and reusable vacuum-sealable bags for our frozen foods. Not only does the use of glass allow us to properly sanitize our packaging, but our customers can also reuse the jars and bottles in their homes or return them to us for a discount on their next purchase. We hope that our efforts in using reusable packaging can help reduce the amount of single-use plastics in the environment.

We’re very happy to be supplying kombucha to a few local establishments, thereby reducing their need to import from elsewhere. Additionally, our goal is to provide an array of healthy food options that include meatless alternatives. We are optimistic that our offerings can have positive impacts on both human and environmental health here in Siargao.

How did the idea come about?
My partner, Ram and I, started Culture Club in my kitchen over a shared love of fermentation and creating tasty and nourishing food. We’d both been experimenting with fermentation on our own, sharing our homemade products with friends. Research has shown that a healthy gut microbiome, with the help of probiotics and prebiotics, can improve mental health, digestive disorders, heart health, our immune systems, certain allergies and our overall moods. We wanted to have a positive impact on the community around us, and so decided to start this venture with this goal in mind.

We strongly believe that consuming more prebiotics and probiotics is essential for good gut health, which in turn will improve one’s mental health.

What is one small thing everyday people can practice to live more sustainably from your perspective?
From our perspective, something that everyday people can practice to live more sustainably is to reduce their meat consumption by practicing a meatless day during the week. By reducing meat consumption, individuals can help reduce the carbon footprint associated with meat production and consumption, while also promoting a more plant-based diet that can be healthier and more sustainable for the environment in the long term.

Additionally, by supporting locally produced/sourced products and ingredients, we can help reduce the environmental impact of transportation and support local economies. These small actions can add up to make a meaningful contribution to a more sustainable future.

How can people reach you?
@cultureclubferments (for Instagram and Facebook)
– cultureclubferments@gmail.com
– Our products can currently be found at our partner stores, Deli Street, and The Beachbaby Cafe. We also have a physical shop in the works and will be opening very soon along the main road in Purok 2!

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We hope you get to try some of these awesome brands out the next time you’re in the island. Happy Earth Day everybody! Let’s do our little part to make nature thrive a little more each day. See you in Siargao!

Diwa Siargao

Initially a private home for family and friends, Diwa Eco-House opened its doors to the public, offering solo travelers, couples, and families a comfy homestay accommodation in Siargao. Discover Siargao and come home to a comfortable, calm, minimalist dwelling. Learn more.

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