No beach paradise remains idyllic forever and some of the local businesses in La Union, Philippines, are inviting residents and visitors to help keep the surf town’s chill vibes alive:
Join the Turtle Power at Project Curma
La Union is home to sea turtles during hatching season between September and March. These turtles help control the jellyfish population in the area. Baguio-born Carlos Tamayo helped organize Project Curma in 2009, a turtle-release project by the humanitarian arm of the local SIFCare (Science of Identity Foundation).
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As of this year, the group and its volunteers have released more than 16,000 turtle hatchlings. “The challenge is that La Union can now sometimes be too noisy and too bright,” says Carlos. “Turtles that hatch on San Juan beach have started to lay eggs further north. We’ve also found a lot of turtles dead, a lot of plastic inside their bodies.”
But the group continues to make progress — the local government has provided more funding for beach patrol and cleanup activities, and a number of beachfront businesses have agreed to regulate bonfires and ATVs, and to move further inland to make more space for the turtles. More recently, the Curma Community Center has opened at the Great Northwest compound in Urbiztondo, La Union. It’s right at the heart of the surf town, making it more accessible to everyone. sifcare.org/curma; fb.com/projectcurma
Live on the environmental edge with Clean Beach Co
Beachside café Clean Beach Co observes a no-straw policy and avoids the use of single-use cups. You can also get P10 off your pour over coffee when you bring your own tumbler or mug. fb.com/cleanbeachco
Keep the beach clean with La Union Soul
La Union Soul a community-driven ecotourism movement has ongoing beach clean-ups open to locals and tourists. fb.com/launionsoul
Video footage courtesy of Project Curma.
This article first appeared in the March 2018 issue of Smile magazine.