Meet Drew Fernandes of Plastic Free Boracay

"Beach clean-ups are something that I think the island needs”

Drew Fernandes of Plastic Free Boracay (center)

Meet Drew Fernandes, a migrant from Bohol and hotelier by profession. He was part of an initiative called Plastic Free Bohol, a citizen-led movement to clean up the beaches there. Volunteers comb the beaches for plastic, gathering 40 to 50 sacks of plastic waste in one clean-up.

So when Drew moved to Boracay, he wanted to bring that same can-do spirit. “In the back of my mind, it’s something that I think the island [and its inhabitants] needed to do.”

Smile team represent! Our Boracay crew was up by 6:00am to join the beach-cleanup on Sundays, starting at Willy’s Rock at Boat Station 1 until the end of Boat Station 3 at White Beach

These days, there is hope, in the form of more involvement from everyone — including tourists. “The best time to enjoy Boracay is in the morning, because you have the place to yourself. So [tourists] come and say, ‘Oh, they’re cleaning the beach. Can we help?’ and they tag along.” Drew says with a smile.

This is just the beginning for Plastic Free Boracay, or so Drew hopes. He wants to join forces with other groups, like the Boracay Foundation. Most importantly, he wants to reach the public schools to educate the youth; the dream is that the schools will take the reins of the movement in the future, because living in a sustainable way shouldn’t just be a movement, but a way of life.

For more information, head to Instagram at @plasticfreeboracay or fb.com/plasticfreeboracaymovement

This article first appeared in the March 2019 issue of Smile magazine.

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Written by

Patricia Barcelon

Photographed by

Sonny Thakur

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