EARTH+LENS 2019: A Clear Focus on the Environment

By Johannes L. Chua

The Philippines is blessed with long coastlines featuring beaches cradling the finest sand and the clearest waters. It is a sight to behold – from the beaches of popular destinations such as Palawan, Bohol, and of course, Boracay to emerging tourism magnets such as Bantayan, Polillo, and San Vicente.

 At the Earth+Lens photo exhibit opening at S Maison last May 20. No less than Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (2nd from right) graced the event together with Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation’s President and Vice Chairman of the Board Dr. Emilio C. Yap III (center), Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation’s Executive Vice President Secretary Sonny Coloma (rightmost), SM Supermalls Senior VP for Marketing and Communications Millie Dizon (2nd from left), and SM Premier 3 Senior AVP for Operations Perkin So.  Aside from DOT, the event was supported by Huawei, topbilled by the Huawei P30 Pro.

With this natural gift, it is not enough to just appreciate the beauty. Much is given to the natural attractions of our country, that much is also expected from Filipinos to take care of these resources. Sad to say, this is not the case for a lot of beach destinations.

One of the glaring examples is what had happened to Boracay prior to its rehabilitation by an inter-agency government team. Dubbed a ‘cesspool’ by no less than the President, it took people so many years – decades even – to finally realize that Boracay is hitting the environmental alarm button.

During Boracay’s six-month ‘rest’, two things happened. Filipinos suddenly realized how fragile these beach ecosystems were; and second, they found out that Boracay is not only the summer destination worth saving money and spending time on.

Tourists began to discover La Union, Siargao, Puerto Princesa, Caramoan, among others. But discovering new beach destinations does not mean throwing caution to the wind. With the lessons learned in Boracay, it is a must for each and every tourist to take care of the environment. Stop the use of single-use plastics, dispose waste properly, do not take anything (but photos) of the beach environment.

To remind people of their role to preserve the pristine beauty of the country’s beaches is the rationale behind this year’s “Earth+Lens” exhibit. Held from May 20 to 27 at S Maison, the exhibit is led by Manila Bulletin’s Picture Perfect section, Going Places Magazine in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and smartphone brand Huawei.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat

No less than DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat graced the ribbon-cutting ceremony together with Manila Bulletin’s President and Vice Chairman of the Board Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, Manila Bulletin EVP Sonny Coloma, SM Supermalls SVP for Marketing and Communications Millie Dizon, and SM’s SAVP for Operations Perkin So.

As with the past Earth+Lens exhibit, this year also made use of technology to spread the message of appreciating and preserving the environment. Through Huawei’s dual camera system equipped on its advanced smartphone models such as the new Huawei P30 Pro Series, the wonders of our country’s unique beaches were immortalized.

As support also to the sustainability aspect of the advocacy, the blown-up photos were printed on eco-solvent cloth, highlighting the use of environment-friendly materials. Secretary Puyat commended the event as it supports the department’s #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines campaign and its thrust to promote sustainable tourism.

With such beauty – seen in each photo exhibited at Earth+Lens – it is the responsibility of the present generation to ensure that the future generations will still see these beaches in their natural environment and not only through the filter of a smartphone.