60 people join ‘Paddle for the Planet’ to raise environmental awareness

LAPU-LAPU CITY — At least 60 paddlers in Cebu joined in the annual “Paddle for the Planet” movement, a simultaneous global event aimed at raising environmental awareness and marine conservation.

The Cebu event was organized by Island Buzz Philippines, a Cebu-based organization that promotes appreciation for water sports and activities.

Buzzy Budlong, a renowned Visayan paddler and owner of Island Buzz Philippines, described the coastal clean-up event as a “very fun way” to give back oceans.

“It was such a great experience to paddle around the mangroves since they are very important to our ecosystem,” said Budlong, the first Filipino to sea kayak the whole 3,025 km length of the Philippines from Sarangani in the south to Ilocos in the north in 88 days.

“We hope we made an impact in our own way to spread the word on the importance of protecting our oceans,” he added.

The event kicked off at the mangrove shores of Seagrove, Ayala Land’s leisure estate in Mactan, Cebu, about 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Seagrove is a 14-hectare coastal project that will be developed into to a sustainable mixed-use estate. It is envisioned to be a future tourist and eco fun destination given its varied outdoor recreation components.

Before the volunteers started the cleanup activity, they first joined a short discussion on and discuss ideas about ways to reduce plastic pollution.

There would have been more volunteers who joined the activity but there was only a limited number of stand up paddle boards and kayaks available, organizers said.

With the overwhelming interest, organizers looked forward to enable more participants to join next year.

The activity was done in partnership with Seagrove in line with Ayala Land’s commitment to environmental conservation and sustainability.

“We are extremely grateful to all the hardworking volunteers who share our passion and took part in cleaning up our shores,” said Vera Alejandria, Ayala’s division manager for Community Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability. “With our natural ecosystems as the first line of defense against extreme weather conditions, we all have a responsibility to be aware and be involved, to help shape the market in terms of protecting and conserving our marine and coastal ecosystem.” /atm

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