From Awareness to Action: FEED and Ateneo BOx Launch ECOSURF Program

Article produced courtesy (thank you!) Camille Pilar, Writer/Editor at LU Soul & Kudo Surf Community; Writer at Writing True; and co-creator of Clean Beach.  


10 Nov 2018, Urbiztondo Beach, San Juan, La Union.  A group of 93 students from the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) ventured outside of the four walls of the classroom to experience conscientious environmental education during the launch of ECOSURF, a program designed to provide sustainable solutions for climate change, last November 10, 2018, at Urbiz Garden Plage in San Juan, La Union.
_MG_3674lowres.jpgThe ECOSURF launch program was endorsed by the Provincial Government of La Union‘s Hon. Governor Francisco Emmanuel “Pacoy” R. Ortega III), through the attendance and opening remarks made by the Hon. Cong. Vini Nola Ortega, whose tenure and support
Hon-Pacoy-Vini-Ortega.jpgfor the environmental sciences is widely known in the Surfing Capital of the North.

Acknowledging First our amazing ECOSURF Launch Partners & EcoWarriors!


eco-surf logo-FAECOSURF is a program conceived by 3 La Union Surf Club, Inc. (LUSC) certified surf instructors at Jongky Surf School: Rhea delos Santos Ventura (co-founder of Jongky Surf School), Diane Penales (FEED VP of Operations) and Anne-Marie Mananquil Bakker (FEED Director of Partnerships).  ECOSURF’s logo was also designed by local resident Charisse “Chat” Palmos, who has an established reputation in branding, marketing and communications. ECOSURF is a truly collaborative undertaking that also aims to feature the multi-disciplinary talents of La Union’s local (surfing) community.

FEED-ECOSURF-Launch-LU-101120185.jpgThe program was then formally designed by Fostering Education and Environment for Development, Inc. (FEED) and its first launch sponsor was Ateneo Biological Organization (Box), ADMU’s premier student organization dedicated to the biological sciences.  FEED’s program coordinators, Diane Penales and Anne-Marie Mananquil Bakker, are known for their work with student organizations when not riding waves in San Juan.

ECOSURF-Launch-iECOSURF also bridges academic lessons to actual learning experiences such as coral propagation under Ocean Quest Global and Sea Shepherd Dive, mangrove planting with LINK (Lupon ng mga Indibidwal na Nangangalaga sa Kalikasan) and DMMMSU’s YES (Young Earthsaver’s Society), surf lessons with Jongky Surf School and other LUSC certified instructors, and Duyan Yoga with Teacher Camoi Miraflor of SIESTA.

The Ateneo BOx envisions its members to become future environmental leaders through the “eXplore, eXperience, and eXcel” manifesto. Through ECOSURF, FEED and its Living Legacy partners supplied a framework of sustainable solutions to help the students deepen their knowledge and understanding of the role of coral systems in climate preservation, the importance of mangroves to seaside communities, as well as linking environmental welfare with individual mindfulness through surfing and yoga.

ECOSURF activities are meant to develop a stronger compassion for life through social action and an overall fun day at the beach.

Learning by doing

Instead of the typical ribbon cutting ceremony, the launch was opened by a tree-planting of native Philippine chestnut trees at Urban Garden Plage, carried out by Hon. Cong. Vini Nola Ortega, with guidance from FEED Ambassador and DMMMSU Environmental Scientist, Celso Jucutan.

FEED-ECOSURF-Launch-LU-1011201821.jpgECOSURF program activities are meant to develop a stronger compassion for life through social action and an overall fun day at the beach.

FEED-ECOSURF-Launch-LU-101120188Hon. Cong. Vini also had the change to engage directly with the local surf instructors from Jongky Surf School, to hear about their recent November 5th, 2018 Coral Propagation training – the first of its kind carried out for a surfing community in the Philippines – by Laura Riavitz of Ocean Quest Global and Sea Shepherd Dive.

Students from BOx were divided into groups that alternated between the different learning modules of the day. One of the presenters was Laura Riavitz, of Ocean Quest Global and Sea Shepherd Dive; she’s a surfer and marine biologist from Austria who is now living and working full time in La Union. The students listened to an introductory course on coral propagation, which was immediately followed by a demonstration. After learning about substrate and catalysts which are essential in coral growth, the students snorkeled and planted the coral fragments on the reef beds of Urbiztondo Beach.

Laura’s presentation can be downloaded here: EcoSurf_Riavitz(AteneoECOSURF)

ECOSURF-Launch-surfParallel to the coral propagation module, other groups took a beach cleanup walk towards the shore to take part in Surfing 101 with LUSC instructors, receiving first a land safety training then getting stoked on the water.

Celso-Jucutan-ECOSURFAnother module was on mangrove planting, which was led by Celso Jucutan, an educator from DMMMSU and leader of the LINK volunteer groups. The students from ADMU also interacted with the students from DMMMSU’s Young Earthsaver’s Society (YES) as they looked for spots along the beach where the baby mangroves could grow.

LINK-YESDuring his talk, he quoted leading academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist Dr. David Suzuki: “Planting native species in our gardens and communities is increasingly important, because indigenous insects, birds and wildlife rely on them. Over thousands, and sometimes millions, of years they have co-evolved to live in local climate and soil conditions”.

Tina Antonio.jpgThe ECOSURF participants also learned more about La Union and its thriving community of eco-minded individuals through stories shared by Tina Antonio, founder of La Union Soul and venue partner Urbiz Garden; and FEED Ambassador (“Protector of Turtles & Trees”). After each lesson, the students tested their balance during an hour of surfing with the LUSC instructors.

Other than speaking about LU Soul’s and various La Union community organizations working with CURMA (Coastal Underwater Resource Management Actions), Tina focused on the significance of working together for the protection of our environment, and thanks all ECOSURF launch partners for pioneering this program.

FEED-ECOSURF-Launch-LU-1011201834.jpgThe final session was yoga led by Camoi Miraflor of Duyan Yoga to finally calm the mind and body after a physically demanding day.

As the various activities commenced, the students regrouped to have lunch together with their instructors and co-participants. The meals were done boodle-style, cooked by local La Union food joints such as Nak-Nak’s, Mamba’s Kitchen, and Aling Norm’s, and eaten with bare hands in “Boodle Fight” style.


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Loving by learning

FEED-TARP-ECOSURF-LAUNCH-111018It is through these activities that students get a complete experience of the biodiversity and beauty of the natural environment. After having planted new corals and mangroves along San Juan, the students from BOx will one day return to check on their contributions to managing coastal health.

Like the corals and mangroves that they planted, participants too will experience a new kind of growth. After all, it is not only knowledge that is essential in action, but more importantly, compassion– for one’s self, for the environment, and for others.

All instructors and participants were awarded with Certificates of Participation, paying tribute to their pioneering drive towards making the ECOSURF launch a success for all.

Ateneo-BOx-ECOSURFThese values are aligned with the core principles of Ignatian spirituality, which is one of the pillars of an Ateneo education. By fostering a “man for others” mindset, the ECOSURF participants are able to carry with them the learnings and the joy of spending a day with nature, rehabilitating what is lost, and finally grounding oneself and finding one’s place in the world while enjoying the feeling of riding a wave.

Thank you Ateneo BOx EcoWarriors! May the Coral Forest be with you Always!

Adult Supervisor Ronald Cruz Group Point Person Indicated by Orange
Group 1 Group 2
Jean Romano Alvi Lim Sophie L. Padilla Seychelles Jimenez
Carl Vincent Santiago Raizsa Arielle R. Espina Jean Marcus A. Sahagun Jhune Cisnero
Jarelle Cu Maria Angela Ozaeta Dani Divinagracia Jambo Daco
Mikayla Alba Liann Balete Alex Mather Marianne Guevara
Miguel Valencia Zack Orlina Jezrel Castro Bianca Salvador
Nikka Carlos Sophia Sam Kisses S. Mandac Gianina Moira Antonio Stephanie Mae Obias
Kyle Sante Carla Danielle R. Sumala Inka Vega Ali Castro
Christian King Condez Sean Vinzon Cait Camarao Kim Ruiz
Kaitleen Daya Jesi Acuña Alyssa Tañas Johan Tansiongkun
Maria Leana Alexis Roca Nicole Sia Rose Bernadette Aspirin Brianna Aspirin
Lawrence Caga Andre Abangan Ian Querol Denzel Dy
Group 3 Group 4
Samuel Lim Toni Maceda Celina Cruz Annia De Guzman 
Annalyse Paulsen Hannah Kralles Gian Eugenio Mckenzie Kinesella
Angel Dizon Aldo Santiago Christalle Beatriz Seno Cerdan Lopez
Rianna Co Alyx Ang Louise Aw Young Ferdie Mangahas
Alain Tanchuan Alana Montemayor Ina Sabio Aki Bartolome
Trish Filart Alfonso Tiaoqui Vince Martin Kat Bollozos
Gianella Samonte Japheth Luke Floyd Moreno Riana Uy Hannah Mabao
Bianca Therese S Melo Koleen Visaya Christalle Beatriz Seno Cerdan Lopez
Becka Varela Koko Domingo Dante Ilaya II Jorel Charles De Dios
Kiana Aniban Jed Nacpil Zach Garcia Joaquin Sorreta
Girome Quemado Justin Tan Jovee Marie de Asis Joselle Alba
Group 5
Enrico Gerard Sanchez Rafa Flaminiano
Kristel Sanchez Rafeala Castro
Anneliese Ng Kyle Kasumbal
Jaime Bonus Paul Baltao
John Sanchez Gab Omar
Kristel Sanchez Rafaela Castro
Renee Ticzon Bea Rosario
Max Zara Kiara Aribal
Audrey Villaseñor Shanelyn Sy
Angelica Collanto Monique Yap
Raphael De La Cruz Jason Tabilog

Thanks to the ECOSURF EcoWarriors Launch Team!


Thanks to LUSC Surf Instructor EcoWarriors!


“Jong” Rodolfo Magsanoc Jr. Sander Delarosa
“Keks” Domingo Ventura Jr. Bilmar Velasquez
Ronald “Pansit” ReynaldoVentura
Critsina“Tina” Suyat Raymond Garcia
NonelonFietasJr. Rhea delos Santos Ventura
Jose EbuezaJr. JomarM. Ebueza
Elmer Padua Jessica Nunag
Jericho “Torque” Marques Reymar Asperas(Photographer/Videographer)

Mother Nature asks: Are you Ready to Evolve?

After the Philippine National Anthem was played, a video setting the urgency of our co-existence with Earth was shown to all, where Julia Roberts gives Mother Nature a voice in this film by Conservation International (CI):

“Some call me Nature, others call me mother nature. I’ve been here for over four and a half billion years. Twenty-two thousand five hundred times longer than you. I don’t really need people but people need me. Yes, your future depends on me. When I thrive, you thrive.  When I falter, you falter or worse. But I’ve been here for aeons. I have fed species greater than you, and I have starved species greater than you. My oceans, my soil, my flowing streams, my forests; they all can take you or leave you. How you chose to live each day whether you regard or disregard me doesn’t really matter to me. One way or the other your actions will determine your fate not mine. I am nature. I will go on. I am prepared to evolve. Are you?”

Nature is Speaking

Get Sustainably Stoked! Contact FEED

JONG.jpgIn 2015, the Philippine government submitted to the United Nations the country’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The country committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The carbon dioxide reductions will come from the sectors of energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry.

FEED runs a number of Students and Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE)Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – such as mangrove planting for coastal protection or ridge reforestation plantings; One Child, One Tree; Bio-Intensive Gardens (BIG) for nutrition in public elementary schools and other spaces; Climate Change Survival 101 and other LIVING LEGACY programs – customised environmental engagement activities for individuals and organisations interested in contributing to climate change adaptation efforts and greening critical areas such as watersheds, ridges, and reefs that all require rehabilitation.

Join us!  Help us reverse the Earth’s “hothouse climate” tipping point.


Tree-Planting with FEED

Check out the video journey by Clueless Commuter who planted with us last 24th of June 2017 to get a good idea of how FEED plantings go:


Contact us at FEED for more details, to join our regular activities or to design your own tree-nurturing event: or call/text +63 (0)917 552 4722.

© FEED, Inc.