Sunday, Jul 22

Saving the planet one meal at a time

January 11, 2018 | GRACE LIMBHER DAIGDIGAN

Before they start with their tasks, Tzu Chi volunteers pray for the success of the Earth Ethical Eating Day across the world. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

Story Highlights

  • Tzu Chi Philippines’ volunteers observed the third year of the Earth Ethical Eating Day by preparing over 1, 300 packed vegetarian meals for lunch and dinner on January 11. These packed meals are sold for Php80 each.

  • Grade 9 students from Philippine Chen Kuang High School in San Juan City join the Earth Ethical Eating Day by bringing vegetarian food for lunch.

  • This year, the global campaign has gathered over 1.3 million pledges from 111 cities across the globe.


Preparing packed lunch and dinner meals is how Tzu Chi volunteers in the Philippines observed the third year of the Earth Ethical Eating Day at the Jing Si Hall in Quezon City on January 11, 2018.

Earth Ethical Eating Day intends to gather public support to eat only vegetarian meals every January 11 of the year.

This year the global campaign gathered over 1.3 million pledges from 111 cities across the globe.

The advocacy was initiated by Tzu Chi USA chapter in 2015, aiming to open the eyes of the public towards the negative effects of Climate Change and encourage more people to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle as one way of reducing their individual carbon footprints.

Here in the Philippines, over 30 Filipino and Chinese volunteers mobilized to cook, pack, and deliver over 1, 300 vegetarian meals for lunch and dinner.

Each packed meal is sold for Php80. Pickup points were set at Soler Street in Manila, Jing Si Hall and Ayala Heights Village in Quezon City, Missouri and Salcedo Villages in Makati.

Tzu Chi volunteer Woon Ng spearheaded the preparations. She shared how she has decided to be a vegetarian.

“I attended a seminar in Hualien [Taiwan]. I was like semi-forced to be a vegetarian at that time because everybody is trying to commit. After a month, I felt the result on my health condition, because I was an acute asthma patient, [but] within [that] short span of time, I felt the change. I think that’s the first step that made me don’t want to go back to a non-vegetarian lifestyle,” said Ng.

A Tzu Chi volunteer from Taiwan, Wu A-Hsiu, 75, helped in the activity. She has been in the Philippines for quite some time since her daughter was assigned to work at the Immigrations.

Wu hopes that everyone can adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. She believes that by doing so, people can lead a longer and healthier life. Also, it cultivates a compassion heart, while following the first precept in Buddhism: ‘No Killing’.

Tzu Chi volunteer Shirley Pista was thankful for the chance to help in preparing meals for Earth Ethical Eating Day. She learned to cook vegetable dishes without wasting any of its part. Also, she came to appreciate the benefits of the advocacy.

“When you eat meat, you can develop different sorts of sickness. That’s why it is better to eat vegetables to help lessen the bad cholesterol in our body,” shared Pista.

Grade 9 students of Philippine Chen Kuang High School in San Juan City also supported the Earth Ethical Eating Day through the guidance of their Science teacher Alberto Briongos, Jr.

“Today we had an activity which we call the ‘Veggie Lunch Party’ where the students will eat only vegetarian meals. It started last Monday. Our topic was Climate Change. We thought about how we can contribute in saving the planet and that’s why we discussed Vegetarianism,” shared Briongos.

Briongos, who is a former Tzu Chi scholar and an active youth volunteer, managed to persuade his students to join the Earth Ethical Eating Day. He filmed a video of his students expressing their support to the campaign and uploaded it on social media.

When Tzu Chi volunteers saw the video, they prepared 35 vegetarian meal packs and snacks for the students. This came as a surprise to the students, who prepared and brought their own veggie meals to school.

“The students are the future of this planet. If they become aware of Vegetarianism [early] and how it can help in saving the planet, they will have a [good] future. A lot of people in the future will be able to save the planet by being compassionate to animals and by taking care of our environment,” he added.

One of his students, Julianne Atillo, 15, sets an example to other youths about learning to eat vegetables.

“I will convince them to eat vegetables because I know by doing that we can save animals’ [lives]. Besides, these animals have their own lives to live. They also have feelings [like humans],” she said.

Tzu Chi volunteer Carmen Sy elaborates further the advantages that can be gained from a vegetarian lifestyle.

“Vegetarianism is the fastest way [to stop Global Warming]. I pray deeply that this will become a good start for them. And from this day on, to keep up this lifestyle. Not only for one meal a day but to have this continuously part of their lives to be one with the universe,” Sy said.

  • As the overall chairperson of the Earth Ethical Eating Day in the Philippines, Tzu Chi volunteer Woon Ng (center) instructs fellow volunteers about the flow of the distribution of packed meals for lunch and dinner to the buyers. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • More than 30 Tzu Chi volunteers prepare over 1, 300 packed vegetarian meals that will be sold for Php80 at the Jing Si Hall and Ayala Heights Village in Quezon City, Soler Street in Manila, and Missouri and Salcedo Villages in Makati. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yuñez helps out in preparing the packed meals.【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • For the packed lunch, volunteers have prepared four viands: blanched broccoli with carrots and radish, mustard leaves topped with papaya, fish fillet patty and a tea egg, and a pickled radish, as side dish. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • Tzu Chi volunteer Wu A-Hsiu renders her time in preparing packed meals in observance of the Earth Ethical Eating Day in the Philippines. She believes that by going vegetarian, she can cultivate a compassionate heart and be a good example in the present generation. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • Shirley Pista, 48, volunteers for the cooking preparation for Earth Ethical Eating Day. By allotting her time to this advocacy, she dares herself if she can last a day without eating meat. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • A former Tzu Chi scholar and now a Science teacher at Philippine Chen Kuang High School in San Juan City, Alberto Briongos, Jr., spreads the Vegetarianism advocacy to his students by incorporating it in his class lectures. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • Tzu Chi volunteer Carmen Sy lauds the students of Philippine Cheng Kuang High School in San Juan City for joining the Earth Ethical Eating Day. “Even though it’s just a lunch meal, for me, it means a lot because these students are brave enough to try what vegetarianism is about.” 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • Students show their support to Earth Ethical Eating Day campaign by chanting ‘Saving the planet one meal at a time’. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】