The Philippines are a vibrant place and home to diverse flora and fauna. They are also home to indigenous communities like the Aeta tribe, who are among the oldest in the Philippines and worldwide. To support the Aeta, Ruth Barcelona, Random Acts’ Regional Representative for the Philippines, teamed up with the organization Mad Travel and donated new teacups and teapots.
From Idea to Kindness Act
The idea for Ruth’s Act of Kindness was born in 2022. This was the year one particular tour with the organization Mad Travel made Ruth realize what the organization accomplishes to support the communities and environment of the Philippines. Within the year, Ruth decided to support Mad Travel, and through them indigenous Filipino communities and the environment. The first step Ruth took was to reach out to Random Acts.
Ruth knew that Mad Tours supports indigenous Filipino tribes by taking tourists on
hikes to their villages and immersion activities like tree planting, bird watching, and
foraging. Mad Tours shows tourists how the tribes live in harmony with nature while explaining the healing properties of their environment. By doing this, the organization hopes to encourage its visitors to live more consciously for a more sustainable environmental future. One activity that sparked Ruth’s idea for her Kindness Act, was the tasting of fresh tea. The tea was made from boiled leaves and herbs from plants in the forest which are known to have healing properties.
But what does one need for tea, apart from the leaves and herbs? Teacups and teapots! And this was exactly what one of the tribes, the Aeta Tribe in the Forest of Bataan, needed to welcome visitors. With Random Acts funding, Ruth went to purchase clear teapots to display the tea, 12 sets of clear teacups and saucers, and additional traditional teapots.
Mad Travel and the Aeta Tribe
Mad Travel is an organization that partners with indigenous communities in the Philippines and provides awareness and rehabilitation of the land. The organization does so by planting trees, making the soil fertile, helping to stop flooding, and promoting tourism.
One of the tribes Mad Travel supports is the Aeta tribe in Bataan. The forests of Bataan in Subic Bay are among the last 3% of rainforest in the Philippines and are home to a diverse set of plants and animals. The Aeta hold 16,000 hectares of forest reserve in the region. Mad Travel and the Aeta tribe aim to grow an agro-forest (agricultural forest) to become a source of food and income for their community.
In partnering with the communities, Mad Travel is working on protecting and preserving its environment through sustainable tourism and forest products. One example is the locally-grown tea of the Aeta.
A Special Delivery
The delivery of Ruth’s donation was probably a bit more adventurous than you would expect. The journey included a forest trail hike with an Aeta Ranger and a dip in a waterfall. After her arrival, Ruth had food with the Community Elder and delicious, fresh, hot tea. And of course, the tea was displayed in the cups and pots Ruth had just donated. The new cups and pots will help the Aeta to welcome more local and international tourists.
The Community Elder Erlinda was happy and thankful for Ruth’s donation.
“I am grateful to Random Acts that I get to help this community and create awareness for the village, the healing benefits of the edible plants in the forest including the teas they served after the hike. How wonderful it is to have such a sanctuary for city folks like me to enjoy with just a few hours’ drive out of Manila,” explained Ruth.