Our cultural narrative as Filipinos is closely linked to the seas. Thus, it cannot be gainsaid that when we cut mangroves, kill corals and exploit marine life, we are taking away parts of ourselves—making us incomplete, as individuals, and as a nation.

Last Saturday, a group of Greenpeace supporters stepped out from the cold shade of their concrete jungle to catch up with a forgotten love, one which has all along been a stone’s throw away. I am talking about Freedom Island, Metro Manila’s last coastal frontier.

As if to offer solace to the troubled island, the volunteers came with heart-shaped cut outs and a ripened sympathy for the marine and terrestrial wildlife inhabiting the area. Some planted mangrove seedlings with hopes to replace the multitude that have been destroyed by past reclamation projects; some, including myself, spent the morning on a nature walk and admired several species of birds as they fluttered by.


This Valentine’s season, recover your affinity with nature and yourself by becoming an Ocean Defender.

Vince Cinches is an oceans campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia based in the Philippines. Follow his updates on Twitter via @vincecinches.