I love this tiny green island sorrounded by the sea! That’s all I can say about Guimaras Island in Western Visayas, Philippines. It’s only a stone’s throw away from where I live, an hour away in fact, and another 20 minutes by boat. So my little family visited again after Christmas, and stayed at our friend’s Vegetarian Bed and Breakfast place called ‘Balay Bato’. We had collective meditation after a glorious kiirtan. Then we binged on their lovely indigenous vegan dishes and watched Play for Change videos. The kids played their Magic Cards and goofed around with the cat and dog who we befriended on our last visit.
Ever since I became a Climate Reality Leader after my training under Al Gore in Jakarta (2011), I became doubly aware of the Conference of Parties (COP) being conducted each year by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Each year, I wait with baited breath hoping a strong and binding agreement could be forged by world leaders to ensure a world more benign to the atmosphere. Year by year each COP failed to deliver what the people of the world long for and demand. Around that time, each year also, my country reels with the brunt of super typhoons and mourns the loss of so many lives, property, and livelihood.
In the last five years, and somewhere before, after, or in between COPs and Christmases, the Philippines was ravaged by extreme weather events like Sendong (Washi 2011), Pablo (Bopha 2012), Yolanda (Haiyan 2013, Hagupit (Ruby 2014), Nona (Melor 2015). The tragedies unimaginable. The loss unspeakable. The damage immeasurable.