Earth Hour 2012

Since Manila joined Sydney and the rest of the world a few years back in turning lights off for an hour, my family has been doing the same at home.

In the last few years, the signs of climate change have become more obvious and scary. Severe flooding and landslides, more dangerous typhoons, weird weather patterns. So many lives have been lost unnecessarily and sadly. No one can turn a blind eye to the immediate need to do something in one’s own backyard. NOW. Earth Hour is one way of showing the world that an hour of darkness can save that much energy. So we’re trying to do our share…

Yes, the kids get fidgety about tuning out of the internet but after a few minutes around a dark living room with just candles giving out light, conversation starts up and before we know it, we have reclaimed our lives offline.

Today we will continue tradition but with a twist. I will join a free yoga class by Rianna Gatus as part of her birthday celebration. We will do 26 Surya Namaskars or Sun Salutations to celebrate her 26 years of life. Afterwards some lady bloggers and I are heading off to a restaurant nearby which is observing Earth Hour to celebrate another birthday – fellow yogini Ria.

I will post some photos later.

How about you? How are you observing Earth Hour?

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Baby Steps to a Greener Lifestyle

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Confucius

It has been on my mind for some time already but I finally started the journey. I have decided to start greening my home.

We don’t realize it but toxins are everywhere and we are breathing it in, ingesting it, applying it on our skin and polluting our air, water and soil as well. Everything from makeup to household cleaners to garden pesticides and laundry detergent contain toxic ingredients that pollute and damage not only our surroundings but our own bodies and body systems.

For many years now, I’ve always put a little bit of Lysol disinfectant in our mop buckets to disinfect our floors. And I used to buy Lysol aerosol cans to spray around the rooms when someone was sick, in order to kill the viruses. Many of my household cleaners (I won’t name all of them anymore but you know these brands as they’re readily available in supermarkets) like my toilet bowl cleaner, mildew sprays and drain decloggers, are tough on the nose and lungs and some of them have that really acrid smell. Now that I think about it, those fumes could not just be harmless if my body is reacting to their smell. Could I have been killing the germs but killing bits of myself and my family as well? I now wonder…

I remember that my maternal grandmother wiped all her furniture and countertops with Lysol daily. She died of lung cancer. I’m not saying Lysol caused her cancer but surely my Lola must have ingested so many toxins during her lifetime to contribute to her condition.

One of my brothers-in-law in the province has made it his advocacy to do things the natural and organic way. Several years ago, on one summer visit to my in-laws’ place, I noted how he had created a composting pit on the side of the house and in one corner of the garden stood a greenhouse filled with vegetables and herbs of all kinds. Frequent conversations I’ve had with him over the years involved his stories about difficulties maintaining the greenhouse pest-free without the use of chemical pesticides. Most of the vegetables and fruits my in-laws eat at home are freshly picked from the greenhouse. On a recent visit, he told me how he is now helping farmers in the province plant organic rice and how it involved a great mindset shift but the results are clearly paying off in terms of cost savings and harvest yield.

With more and more homegrown industries now starting to offer organic and all-natural products, I can’t make any excuses anymore as there are so many alternatives to commercial cleaners. Baking soda and vinegar, for example, have been widely known to be effective disinfectants, cleaners and odor removers but I don’t know that many who actually use them in these ways. It seems so much easier to reach for those cleaners in grocery shelves, right?

Several months back, on a talk show I was half-watching while doing something else, I saw an interview of someone from Messy Bessy, a line of non-toxic, all-natural, biodegradable products that are all made in the Philippines! At that time, my brain simply filed away the information. But on a trip to EchoStore Podium a few weeks back, I saw many brands now offering all-natural products including Messy Bessy products and EchoStore’s Home Basics line. I got myself a small Messy Bessy Eucalyptus All-Purpose Cleaner with peppermint scent to take one home. So far I’ve used it on my bathroom tiles and countertop. Loved the peppermint scent so much that on my next trip a few days ago to the bigger EchoStore Serendra, I came home with all these:

(L-R) wood cleaner/conditioner, anti-roach spray, tea tree mold and mildew spray


(L-R) Eucalyptus all-purpose scrub, dishwashing liquid, window cleaner

I’ve done away with Lysol, for one. My unopened container here will be donated to Philippine General Hospital (PGH) where I think it is still being used to disinfect patient rooms and hallways. I’m also trying out now some gugo-based shampoo/conditioner products as well as an all-natural feminine wash. I’m on the lookout too for an all-natural and effective deodorant.

I am far, far from my ideal green home yet. I’ve just started on household cleaners. But there are so many more toxic products that I must find acceptable substitutes for: makeup, laundry detergent, beauty products (I even need to replace my Safeguard soap eventually!). But got to do all these slowly and get the kids to buy into my changes or else I’ll face a mutiny at home.

I believe that saving Mother Earth (and more so, saving our own bodies from toxins) is something that should be at the forefront of our awareness these days because of so many toxins around us, including pollution. It’s truly a challenge to move to organic and all-natural products. And it can get expensive. But in exchange, it could translate to less hospitalization/medical costs.

It may be a little too late for me, at my age, to reverse all the toxicity I’ve ingested over the decades (hopefully yoga can help me detox more of it) but if I start now at home, I will be doing my kids and the rest of my family a big favor by sparing them from as much body toxins as possible.

If you’re already into organic and natural products, I’d love it if you could leave me your suggestions here or tell me what you’re doing in your own home.

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Ready to Join Earth Hour Tonight?

Want to be part of the Manila Earth Hour 2008? Wish you could do something to generate awareness of climate change, energy conservation, saving Mother Earth?


This is a global campaign which Manila is part of. Mayor Atienza has already pledged to turn off lights along Roxas Blvd. My yoga friend Trin, who works for WWF (a major sponsor/supporter of Earth Hour) texted me earlier that they are having a countdown along CCP’s lawn in Roxas Blvd. at 7 PM.

For more details about Earth Hour, its objectives and cities participating, click HERE to read my earlier blog post.

It looks like there is a groundswell of support for this campaign, which is really heartwarming to see.

* When I went to get my sons’ report cards yesterday, I saw a large tarpaulin announcing Earth Hour

* Just today, I already received several texts announcing this and requesting people to join

* Good friend Aly plans a candlelit pizza dinner with the family

* Today, my daughter and I bonded at Boni High Street while waiting for our youngest who spent the afternoon with a classmate in Makati. There, too, the stores will be joining Earth Hour by turning off 50% of their lights.











* Here at home, it will also be lights out for an hour. Although we are going out for dinner, the househelp have already been asked to turn off all our lights.

I will be bringing my digicam along later just in case there will be camera moments relevant to Earth Hour.

Will you join us please?



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