Wednesday, Apr 14

Tzu Chi nurtures nature with recycling, vegetarianism

November 21, 2019 | Jonas Trinidad

Tzu Chi's vegetarian meal booth is met with the first wave of students eager to taste meat-free palabok. The volunteers also used this opportunity to raise funds for Tzu Chi's activities. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • Tzu Chi shared its answers to the growing effects of climate change with the students and teachers of Xavier School in San Juan City during its annual environmental fair on November 21. It featured its crafts made out of recycled materials and served meat-free dishes like vegetarian palabok.

  • The daylong fair serves to further raise awareness among the youths as to what they can do to help save the Earth. In fact, everyone regardless of religion must make this among their obligations.


Tzu Chi joins several exhibitors in raising climate change awareness among the students of a prestigious school in San Juan City.

At Xavier School’s “Nurture Nature” Environmental Fair on November 21, the Buddhist NGO showcased its ways to help save the planet from the exacerbated effects of climate change. It joined around 30 other exhibitors for a day of sharing solutions with the faculty and students, ranging from recycling to vegetarianism.

According to Fr. Aristotle Dy, president of Xavier School, everyone regardless of religion has an obligation to care for our common home. He cites the Laudato si’, an encyclical written by Pope Francis in 2015 that calls upon the world to take action against climate change, as an inspiration for the daylong fair.

“We’ve known about global warming for many, many years now, but the awareness is not yet enough. The decision to change our lifestyle, to take care of our Earth, still needs a big push,” explained Dy, who has known Tzu Chi for two years.

“[We want to] make children aware of what’s out there and what they can do to help to save the environment and be environmentally-conscious,” remarked Allyn Chua Go Tian, Xavier School’s environmental advocate.

For the event, Tzu Chi volunteers set up two separate booths. One booth featured the rugs and seat covers they made with sock loopers, as well as clothes and bags manufactured with DaAi Technology. The other booth served vegetarian food, namely vegetarian palabok [Filipino-style noodles in annatto sauce], vegetarian tuna sandwiches, and chocolate banana shake made with Jing Si cocoa multigrain powder. Proceeds from the sale will go to fund Tzu Chi’s activities.

Apart from offering food and crafts, Tzu Chi volunteer Woon Ng said they also shared Jing Si aphorisms with the students. While sharing solutions is important, having the right mindset to implement them is just as crucial.

“A big part is also to introduce aphorisms because we believe that, not only through action, but action comes from a mindset change. If we don’t change our behavior, there’s no solution,” said Ng, who managed the recycling booth.

The vegetarian palabok became such a hit among the students that the volunteers struggled in the first hours of the fair fulfilling a dense crowd. Many like Grade-11 students Diego Alquiros and Timothy Ting were surprised to know that this palabok, which is usually made with pork and shrimp, tastes just like the one they know but without any livestock.

“It’s amazing. I like the noodles, they’re very soft. It’s a different approach to [traditional] Filipino palabok,” said Alquiros.

“I really liked the substitute for chicharron [pork rind cracklings]; it was really good,” said Ting.

As token of their gratitude, the students handed out small Thank You cards to the volunteers before returning to their classes. Tzu Chi’s exhibits have shown them what they can do to aid the world in this environmental crusade.

  • The students read Jing Si aphorisms they picked from the basket. One aphorism reads: "Be grateful always for everything and everyone [at every moment]." 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Xavier School president Fr. Aristotle Dy (middle) visits Tzu Chi's exhibit. The Buddhist foundation is one of around 30 exhibitors in the school's environmental fair. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • At the environmental protection booth, students learn about DaAi Technology. The patented technology turns recyclables like plastic bottles into blankets, clothes and bags among many other items. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers teach the students how they made the rags and covers out of sock loopers. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Grade 11 students Timothy Ting (left) and Diego Alquiros (right) share a plate of vegetarian palabok. Tzu Chi's vegetarian advocacy was an eye opener for many visitors, students and teachers alike. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers received Thank You cards from the students. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers Woon Ng, Carmen Sy, and Catherine Tiu (third, fourth, and fifth from left respectively) with fair organizers upon receiving a certificate of participation. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】