Sunday, May 09

Bikers pay forward goodness with plastic bottles

May 27, 2018 | Jonas Trinidad

A legion of cyclists parade along this stretch of Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City, showing their support for their rights to safer roads. As many as 200 casual and professional bikers joined Quezon City's Bike Day 2018 on May 27. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • The Quezon City Bike Day 2018 was held on May 27 to advocate the rights of bikers on roads, as well as the environmental upsides of riding a bike. The event invited Tzu Chi Philippines to be the beneficiary of the plastic bottles to be collected from no more than 200 participating bikers, placing their firm faith in the foundation’s missions.


At Quezon City’s Bike Day 2018 on May 27, Tzu Chi Philippines supported the advocacy for a cleaner and greener city by recycling plastic bottles.

Organized by the National Bicycle Organization (NBO), Quezon City Bike Day 2018 is a 21-km. parade by casual and professional cyclists advocating safe thoroughfares for bicycles. At 6:00 a.m., around 200 bikers set off from the Quezon City Memorial Circle, guided by NBO marshals. In a tight formation, they pedaled for two hours along major arteries such as Commonwealth Avenue, Carlos P. Garcia Avenue (C-5), and Quezon Avenue. Local authorities and civic groups helped with ensuring the safety of the bikers along the parade route.

By 7:45 a.m., they reached the finish line at the Quezon City Hall where Tzu Chi’s recycling station was waiting to receive their “registration fee.” Bikers could join the parade for the low, low price of ten plastic bottles. Some even brought twice or three times the required amount.

Tzu Chi was invited to be the beneficiary of the bikers’ advocacy. Ma. Fortunata Bucud of the city hall’s Barangay and Community Relations Department thought about the foundation after Tzu Chi volunteers in Australia helped her, a victim of human trafficking, return to the Philippines more than a decade ago.

“The bottles collected in this event will be donated to Tzu Chi. [The participants] know that it’s the first to help during disasters,” says Bucud.

Apart from teaching people how to recycle, Tzu Chi’s recycling program constitutes a large part of the foundation’s income. In the case of the Philippines’ chapter, proceeds from recyclables go to fund the foundation’s fivefold missions. In Taiwan, however, the recycled bottles are used as raw materials to make relief items, namely the eco-friendly blanket and the Jing Si multipurpose foldable platform.

A number of local officials who went to Taiwan two years ago witnessed how such items are made. Barangay Kalusugan chairman Robin Porlaje learned about the parts of the Tzu Chi system in the trip, from humanitarian work to reportage on said work.

“We visited the two Tzu Chi hospitals in Taiwan, the radio station [inside the DaAi TV building], and one of their materials recovery facilities,” Porlaje narrates.

Vice-mayor Joy Belmonte led the delegation to Taiwan. Whether disaster relief or environmental activities, she makes an effort to arrange for a partnership with Tzu Chi. The years-long liaison between Tzu Chi and the Quezon City government continues to endure because of a common environmental goal.

“It’s a package deal. When you ride the bike, you obviously care about the environment, since riding cars is destructive. When you care the environment as a cyclist, it goes hand in hand with other activities like recycling,” says Belmonte.

“We’re happy that [the bikers] donated PET bottles during this activity. They donated because they saw that there’s goodness in the goals of Tzu Chi Foundation,” says Tzu Chi volunteer Salvacion De Guzman, who led a dozen volunteers from Marikina City in the recycling effort.

  • Marshals from the National Bicycle Organization (NBO) guide the participants out of their muster point at Quezon Memorial Circle. The NBO is a non-profit organization advocating on the upsides of using bicycles and the rights to safer roads for cyclists. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Each biker has his or her share of plastic bottles to donate to the cause. Participants could join the parade in exchange for a minimum of ten plastic bottles, which would then be donated to Tzu Chi. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Sunrise graces the parade as it traverses Commonwealth Avenue, one of several major thoroughfares along the parade route. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Two hours later, the 21-km parade ends at the Quezon City Hall, where Tzu Chi volunteers await the cyclists' donation of plastic bottles. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Bikers flock to the registration booths to turn over their plastic bottles and claim their participation prizes. They would get a certificate of participation and an event shirt. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The first of hundreds of plastic bottles goes into the basket. Tzu Chi's humanitarian works heavily rely on the proceeds generated by the sale of recyclable materials. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers get busy collecting the stream of plastic bottles heading their way. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Tzu Chi's participation might not have been possible if not for the local officials who are familiar with the foundation. Ma. Fortunata Bucud (right) of the city hall's Barangay and Community Relations Department knew Tzu Chi several years ago when volunteers in Australia helped her get home. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Two years ago, Vice-mayor Joy Belmonte led a delegation to visit Tzu Chi's facilities in Taiwan. Since the educational tour, she has maintained close ties with Tzu Chi, be it in disaster relief or environmental activities. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】