Moving to the Philippines was a life-changing decision for me. Now, as a graphic designer for the Haribon Foundation, I’ve been given a chance to get to know the Philippine’s ecological benefits far more intimately than any tourist or citizen of the country.
And by becoming a member, I’ve been given an even more intimate connection to our environment by participating in birdwatching activities, and meeting community members trained to protect the places we are working to conserve.
I just renewed my membership for a second year now, after having been Haribon’s graphic designer since 2012. As a graphic designer, I’m applying my love of art to help communities understand conservation better. As a member, I go on bird-watching activities and participate in other events to educate myself further.
I also enjoy biking, not only as a simpler means of transportation, but also as a statement. By biking, I feel I am further pursuing my goals as an environmental conservationist by reducing my carbon footprint while being healthier at the same time.
One of my biggest accomplishments as a Haribon member was when I visited Masinloc, Zambales during Haribon’s Blue Travel program. It gave me a better understanding of Haribon’s history and conservation work. It’s difficult for me to communicate and understand community members since I have yet to master Filipino or any other Philippine language. So sitting down and talking to community members was a great accomplishment for me.
I enjoy graphic design and am beginning to illustrate and edit videos as well, further expanding my abilities to communicate Haribon’s causes and Philippine conservation work in general. By biking, I see it as a personal contribution to conservation. And by moving to the Philippines to aid in development work, particularly in the conservation sector, I have not only enjoyed the natural beauty found here, but I am now applying my love for graphic design to preserve and protect it.
(Albert Balbutin Jr. is Haribon’s graphic designer and webmaster. Contact him at email@example.com.)