Matabungkay Sunset, Batangas, PhilippinesHere is an excerpt from a thought provoking article by Scott Allford about the media perception of the Philippines being a DISASTER-PRONE country:

If you watch or read the news you may feel very justified in believing that the Philippines is a very dangerous country, savaged by typhoons, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, and terrorist attacks. A poor country with images of children picking through garbage, slums, and corruption scandals broadcast in most international news reports. They are not all that the country contains. Not every person in the Philippines is poor, a terrorist or a victim of terror. Other countries suffer from these same problems yet they do not become iconic images of those nations.

The Common View of the Philippines

A few months ago I was at a roof-top party in Makati filled with socialites and expats. Whilst there I was introduced to a German ‘journalist', and my friend asked him why the Philippines is portrayed in such a negative light in the foreign media. His response was firstly he could not sell stories about the Philippines if they were not about poverty, violence or corruption. Secondly there is nothing else to report on. After saying this, he sipped his glass of red wine and was whisked away into a group of Filipino socialites.

Perhaps the red wine was ‘poor' in taste, or the fact that that particular roof-top was one of the few in Makati which doesn't have a swimming pool made him focus on the poverty in the Philippines. I think that it was none of these things. Germany, a developed country, has slums. But if the focus can be moved away from the poverty in the developed countries and put on some islands way out in the Pacific Ocean, then people in developed countries can feel a little bit better.

Perhaps the time will come when people outside the Philippines will come to realize that the branded image of the Philippines portrayed in the media is only a small piece of the full picture of this country.

A Different View

Since the Philippines was settled by people 30,000 years ago, this country has blossomed into a mix of over 180 indigenous ethnic groups, over half of which also represent unique linguistic groups. This array of cultures, languages and cultural artifacts cannot be matched by most nations of the world. From the Ilocano, Pangasinense, Kapampangan, Tagalog, Bicolano, and Visayans to the Binukid, Moros, Ati, Igorot, and the T'boli, just to name a few. These cultures are rich, strong and proud and in most cases the people that make up these cultures are very friendly and welcoming to outsiders.

The Banaue Rice Terraces are a UNESCO World Heritage site. But they are not alone. The Philippines have numerous UNESCO world heritage sites

Lastly, the Philippines consists of 7,107 beautiful islands. These islands contain remote beaches and amazing rock formations as well as other natural wonders like the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, the perfectly conical Mt. Mayon volcano or the stunning Bacuit Bay in El Nido, Palawan. But also on these islands is a range of bio diversity not seen in most other places on the planet.

More and more people are starting to discover that there is a different side to the Philippines to the one they have been bombarded with. Those who come to the Philippines to seek out the beauty of this country will not be disappointed.

Read the entire article by Scott Allford here:

Viewing The Philippines In A Different Light has an article entitled "Recycling is Bullshit; Make Nov. 15 Zero Waste Day, not America Recycles Day."

Recycling is what?? While that headline is agressive and confrontational, the article makes a very valid point - we are all regularly reminded that recycling is very important. But in fact recycling is the last thing we should be focusing on!

We should be reducing our consumption and reusing our packaging materials. Yes we should be buying our beverages in refillable bottles. That's how it was done in the good old USA in the days before the throwaway society and it is also still done currently in most countries.

% of Reuseable Beer Bottles Worldwide

That's why recycling comes last in this modern list of the 3 R's:

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

I also totally agree with this statement:

Let's demand returnable bottles and deposits on everything and let's celebrate Zero Waste Day on November 15 with a returnable bottle of beer.  

Now I just need to go out and buy a returnable bottle of beer... 

BioneersIn the next three days the The Bioneers are gathered at the Marin Center in San Rafael.

 Have a look at all the great events and activities in their 2009 Bioneers Conference Program.

Founded in 1990, the Bioneers (also known as the Collective Heritage Institute) is a New Mexico-based nonprofit. They promote practical and innovative solutions to environmental and social problems based in a philosophy which recognizes the aliveness, interdependence, and intelligence of the natural world.

Their annual conference is held each October in San Rafael, California. Plenary sessions from the main conference are also broadcast through satellite feeds to "Beaming Bioneers" conferences held simultaneously at sites in other locations.

Now this is WAY COOL: watch their conferences LIVE online at