La Union is known for many things today, but we tend to overlook what’s right under our feet. The heart of their community lies in the surf and in the sea. Everyday, slowly, but together, they make choices that protect what they value. And this May, we get the chance to see this for ourselves and have meaningful conversations with some of the people that helped make this happen. This coming May 22-26, 2019, we are showing a small group of 8 intrepid travelers a different side of La Union.
This is the 3rd edition of Muni Travels, an experiential intentional trip where we visit places, meet people, learn new things, create meaningful connections. Think MUNI Meetup on wheels 🚌 Read more about MUNI Travels and our Munifesto here.
Tell us about yourself and apply for a slot here.
Once a sleepy small fishing town, San Juan, a municipality in La Union, has evolved into a popular surfing spot and tourist attraction. There is a symbiotic relationship between the community and the water, where the sea births waves and the surfers nurture the same environment that provides the surf.
Some of La Union’s new locals left Manila to set up shop in La Union. But more than just opening up businesses, they have created communities, which have grown into subcultures that people now patronize and drive up to “Elyu” for. Hand in hand with the locals who have been working hard to protect their home, they work together to keep La Union sustainable.
While this trip will give us the opportunity to enjoy the sun and surf, more importantly, we’ll get to hang out with locals who uphold sustainable practices, and hear their origin stories too.
Explore a rainforest near the sea that was built from the ground up in just 9 years. Lotus Valley Rainforest Farm is an organic farm, nestled in a valley and is surrounded by lush green nature. It was developed by Toby Tamayo, whose life work has been dedicated to the conservation of the forest area until the ocean in La Union. Catch glimpses of rare birds, black bamboo, and taste the organic food grown at the farm. (photo c/o Lotus Vallley)
Learn more about coral rehabilitation through a workshop and demonstration by Laura, a marine biologist from land-locked Austria, who has spent the past 2 years propagating and planting corals around Southeast Asia, and find out how their efforts have helped regenerate coral populations in the area. Laura’s organization Ocean Quest, is an environmental organization working to protect and rehabilitate coral reefs in an organic way and ensure a sustainable future for local communities. (Photo c/o Laura Riavitz)
An hour away from the main surf area is a town known for its handwoven blankets. Immerse yourself in the physical rigors and intricate beauty of traditional inabel weaving with WVN Home Textiles, which advocates for the continuation of the tradition and craft, co-founded by Kylie Misa, a long-time member of the MUNI community, and trip leader for MUNI Travels La Union. (Photo c/o WVN Home Textiles)
We also get to talk to Kiddo Cosio of El Union Coffee, who will tell us more about how the coffeehouse has flourished into a community, and how he encourages others to live more sustainably. (Photo c/o El Union Coffee)
We want to shed light on different facets of sustainability in La Union: from environmental conservation, cultural preservation, and sustainable living, all driven by the power of the La Union community.
A Beach Meetup
Because every MUNI experience is all about connecting people, we will also arrange a MUNI Meetup on Sustainability & Community, featuring the folks from UrbizGarden, Lotus Valley and Clean Beach. Engage with us in discussions on how you can make a difference and further sustainability in your lives and in your communities.
We’ll also have a pop-up curated by Open House featuring La Union brands and artisans, an opportunity to meet and speak to like-minded advocates in La Union, and perhaps find even more reasons (and people) to come back.
At the end of the day, we’re here to create a space with a balance of meaningful learning, quiet introspection, and joyful interaction. We will be lacing each of our days with reflective workshops facilitated by MUNI, which can help you think about and design your life around practical sustainability principles that you can adopt and make into your own.
Your trip curator and guide will be Kylie Misa, co-founder of WVN Home Textiles, who is a sustainability advocate interested in cultural preservation, ethical sourcing through grassroots community engagement and natural fibers. She gets up every day because of the work she does at WVN Home Textiles, where she works with traditional weavers predominantly in the La Union area. She has been moving back and forth from Manila to La Union for almost three years now.
Also guiding you in your trip will be Kar Abola, Muni’s Brand & Communications Director, and Strategy Director at Serious Studio. She is also currently taking her Masters in Social Psychology at UP Diliman where she is driven to discover more about the meanings behind our relationship with designed objects and our built and natural environments, and how we can design more equitable, sustainable lifestyles for all.
This is not a luxury vacation. While we won’t go all out on the “roughing it”, seeking to provide travelers a level of comfort (with beds and proper bathrooms), it is our aim to show you that a simpler way of living can be a happy one. Group meals served will be simple, delicious and nourishing. We’ll be giving you guidelines to prepare for the trip, but your mindset and comfort level is only something you can work on.
This is not an immersion or voluntourism trip either. While a big part of what you pay goes back to these local communities, companies or organizations, you are not going on this trip to “save the poor people of the Philippine islands”. Instead, we’d like to give you this opportunity to learn more for yourself, and learn more about what they need, when you curiously ask questions and listen.
What this is, is an off-the-beaten path experience, balancing the traveler’s thirst to discover as much of the world as she can, with a luscious enough amount of languor to savor extended lunches and after-dinner conversations. Five days is longer than the most weekend-warrior trips, but a lot shorter than the weeks-long escapes that we prefer, so we’ll do our best.
The whole trip aims to be as fun, educational, and zero-waste (in all senses of the phrase) as possible. In line with this, we will be asking you to collect any trash you might produce throughout the trip, and bring it back home with you.
The trip is inclusive of the following:
Throughout the trip, we’ll have purposeful reflection and relaxed discussions to uncover more about how you want to create impact in the world, where you are right now, where you want to go, how you can help yourself, and what support you can get from others during and after the trip.
This trip is limited to 8 slots only. To make the trip as meaningful as possible, we’d love to get to know you better. Tell us about yourself and apply for one of the slots by filling out the MUNI Travels Application Form here.
Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis weekly starting April 15, 2019 (for as long as slots are still available). More trip information including payment details will be sent via email upon review of your application. 🙂
Upon approval of application, you will be given five (5) days to send your initial confirmation and settle down-payment. After five (5) days, your slot may be allocated to the next waitlisted traveler.
Save P1,500 with early bird rates, so apply early! Early bird rates are applicable for applications approved and down-payments made on or before April 30, 2019. Deadline of submission of complete payment to join the trip is on May 15, 2019. 🙂