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Nat Geo, WWF outfit Mindoro tribesmen, rangers with solar lamps & patrol kits

The National Geographic Channel (NGC) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) recently gave 50 portable solar lamps to the Taw’Buid – an indigenous Mangyan group inhabiting the remote mountains of Mindoro. Park rangers protecting the Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park also received new hammocks, raingear and all-weather patrol uniforms from the Primer Group of Companies.



The National Geographic Channel (NGC) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) recently gave 50 portable solar lamps to the Taw’Buid – an indigenous Mangyan group inhabiting the remote mountains of Mindoro. Park rangers protecting the Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park also received new hammocks, raingear and all-weather patrol uniforms from the Primer Group of Companies.

Newly-outfitted park rangers and their Taw’Buid tracker spot wildlife from the summit of Mt. McGowen in the Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park, last refuge of the critically-endangered Tamaraw, a legally-protected species. (Gregg Yan / WWF)


Fifty Mobiya solar lamps were given to Taw’Buid families, funded by the proceeds of National Geographic Channel’s Earth Day Run 2015. Ranger patrol kits and camera traps to photograph wildlife were also purchased. (Gregg Yan / WWF)

wwf3A family of Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) photographed in the wild. The Tamaraw Conservation Programme, Far Eastern University, WWF and many allies have been working to double the number of Tamaraw from 300 to 600 by 2020. Tamaraw numbers have grown to 413 from 327 in 2012. (Gregg Yan/WWF)


Taw’Buid elder Henry Timuyog shows off his family’s new solar lamp, courtesy of NGC and WWF. The reclusive Taw’Buid live simple lives as upland farmers and hunt game in the rugged mountains of Mindoro. (Gregg Yan / WWF)


Park Rangers led by Mts. Iglit-Baco Park Superintendent Rodel Boyles (holding the Philippine flag) show off their new uniforms, provided by the Primer Group of Companies, National Geographic Channel and WWF. (National Geographic Channel)

The deployment is part of NGC’s Earth Day Run, which has been supporting WWF projects since 2013. Race proceeds reforested Isabela forests with 20,000 fruit-bearing trees in 2013 and deployed fibreglass bancas for Palawan fishermen in 2014.

Proceeds from NGC’s 2015 race funded the solar lamp deployment, which was held inside the Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park last 3 September. About 15 million Filipinos lack regular access to electricity and Mindoro’s Taw’Buid tribesfolk are no exception, relying on kerosene and firewood to light their homes.

“We gave portable solar lamps because burning fossil fuels accelerates climate change,” says WWF-Philippines President and CEO Joel Palma. “Solar energy is an economical and safe power source because there are no emissions to trigger respiratory ailments. Our goal is to cover basic Filipino needs while fighting climate change.”

The reclusive, forest-dwelling Taw’Buid or Batangan tribe is the most numerous of the eight Mangyan subgroups, with approximately 20,000 members. Most live in simple thatched huts, few of which have been seen by outsiders, owing to the traditional fear harbored by Taw’Buid for outsiders, called Siganon. Many still wear Amakan loincloths made from pounded tree bark and smoke potent tobacco in pipes called Bakto.

As very few have access to electricity, most cut trees for firewood, used to both light homes and provide heat in fire pits, where families congregate and talk each night. The solar lamps will help ease the strain on Mindoro’s forests while giving tribes both light and a means to charge what few electronic gadgets they have. “No longer shall our people rely on fire for light. Thank you for the gift of eternal light,” saidTaw’Buid Overall Tribal Chief Fausto Novelozo during the deployment.

The 24-strong corps of Park Rangers were equipped by the Primer Group of Companies with all-weather khaki uniforms. “With the proper clothing, our rangers will be better able to protect themselves from the elements to more vigorously fulfill their tasks. We’re glad to be part of the project,” adds Primer Group of Companies program manager Kristine Villaflor. 

“Each of our park rangers patrol around 1000 hectares of land. Constantly pelted by both sunrays and raindrops, they need proper gear such as all-weather uniforms, boots, hammocks and rain ponchos to help dispatch their duties. Thank you for the help as it will help us better protect the park,” says Mt. Iglit-Baco Park superintendent Rodel Boyles.

Since 2012, WWF has been working with the Tamaraw Conservation Programme (TCP), Far Eastern University (FEU), Banco De Oro Unibank (BDO), local government of Occidental Mindoro and the Taw’Buid people to restore the forests of the Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park, which hosts the world’s largest population of Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) a critically-endangered dwarf buffalo and one of the country’s national icons.  

A pressing objective is to double the number of wild Tamaraw from 300 to 600 by 2020. From 327 heads in 2012, the wild buffalo’s numbers soared to 413 by April 2016. The project, dubbed ‘Tams-2’ or Tamaraw Times Two by 2020, aims not just to conserve Tamaraw, but to protect the cultural identity of the Taw’Buid people while protecting upland forests and ensuring a steady flow of water for the people of Mindoro. The Philippines celebrates Tamaraw Month each October. 

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to gift Mindoro’s Taw’Buid tribesfolk with economical lighting solutions like solar lamps. The Nat Geo Earth Day Run raises awareness on sustainable environment solutions and helps as many people as possible. We hope the solar lamps will make a positive impact on the lives of the Taw’Buid and contribute to keeping Mindoro’s forests intact,” says FOX Networks Group SVP and GM Jude Turcuato.  

Held last April, NGC’s Earth Day Run 2016 will next fund WWF’s marine conservation drive for Apo Reef in Mindoro, the largest coral reef in Asia.

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Young people who vape more likely to report chronic stress

Young people who use e-cigarettes had poorer quality of life but lower risks of some signs of ill health, such as high blood pressure, although these findings did not reach statistical significance.



Young people who have used e-cigarettes are more than twice as likely to report experiencing chronic stress, according to a study by Dr Teresa To, a senior scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Canada.

She said: “Research is starting to show how vaping affects young people’s physical and mental health. For example, our previous research has shown that those who vape are more likely to suffer an asthma attack. In this study we were particularly interested in the relationship between vaping, mental health and quality of life among young people.”

The researchers used data from the Canadian Health Measures Surveys, a national survey designed to represent the Canadian population. It included 905 people aged between 15 and 30 years, of which 115 (12.7%) said they had used e-cigarettes.

The data showed that although young people who vaped were more likely to be physically active, they were also more likely to report experiencing extreme chronic stress in their lives.

Dr To said: “Chronic stress can lead to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. It’s important for young people experiencing chronic stress to be given support early on to help them avoid resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms like vaping or smoking. Vaping is not an effective way to cope with stress, but stress and anxiety can trigger vape cravings, and make it harder for a user to quit.”

The researchers point out that while their study shows a link between vaping and stress in young people, it does not show whether stress caused an increase in vaping, or whether vaping increased experiences of stress, or if another factor led to an increase in both. However, their research did take into account other factors that are known to influence stress, such as income, alcohol consumption and health conditions like asthma and diabetes.

Dr To added: “We do not know why young people using e-cigarettes tend to be more physically active, but it could be that they are trying to control their weight with exercise and believe vaping could help.”

The results also indicated that young people who use e-cigarettes had poorer quality of life but lower risks of some signs of ill health, such as high blood pressure, although these findings did not reach statistical significance.

“At the time of the study, this group of young people had good physical health overall; however, we need to study the effects of e-cigarettes in the longer term to understand their impact on young people’s health. We know that stress induces oxidative stress and inflammation in the body and these play an important role in the risk of developing chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Dr To added.

Professor Elif Dağlı, who is chair of the European Respiratory Society’s group on Tobacco, smoking control and health education, and was not involved in the research, said: “This study suggests a link between vaping and stress among young people, and it adds to what we already know about the effects of vaping on young people’s health. Vaping is still relatively new, but the numbers of children and young people using e-cigarettes are rising rapidly. We need more research on the impacts of vaping, but we also need to raise awareness of the harms of using e-cigarettes and provide support to help young people avoid or quit vaping.

“This is one of several studies about the effects of vaping that are being presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress. In particular, we will be examining the influence of favoured e-cigarettes and looking for ways to end the epidemic of vaping among children and adolescents.”

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Blackbough leads environmental awareness campaign with locals



In the picturesque paradise of Siargao Island, Jemina Ty, the creative force behind the globally celebrated swimwear brand Blackbough, takes the helm as the leader spearheading a sustainability campaign, hand in hand with the local community.

With its pristine islands, stunning white sand beaches, and sprawling coconut fields, Siargao Island has captivated beach-lovers and adventure-seekers from all over the world. However, this idyllic destination in the southeastern region of the Philippines is facing threats due to plastic pollution and environmental degradation. In response, Blackbough recently organized a beach cleanup campaign to protect Siargao Island and raise awareness among locals and tourists alike.

Ty pointed out, “By 2050, there’s a good chance that we’ll see more plastic in the ocean than fish. That’s why through this initiative, we hope to create a chain reaction and encourage people to be more mindful of their actions and to make choices that nurture the environment.”

The Blackbough Swim Team led by Chief Executive Officer and Founder Jemina Ty accumulated a total of 100 sacks of plastic waste and debris during their coastal clean-up activity at Malinao Beach, General Luna, Siargao.

Under Ty’s leadership, Blackbough became a widely followed international swimwear brand with a heart for sustainability. The company is committed to reducing its environmental footprint by using recycled nylon, investing in ethical factories, repurposing scrap fabrics to accessories, and incorporating recyclable and reusable packaging options. By offering stylish and eco-friendly swimwear, Blackbough encourages customers to make more sustainable choices.

“At Blackbough, we believe that every journey towards sustainability begins with a single step. Leveraging Blackbough’s global presence, we aim to showcase the beauty of our Philippine islands and the importance of taking care of them.” 

The beach cleanup event took place at Malinao Beach, General Luna drawing over a hundred volunteers from diverse backgrounds, including tourists, locals, and stakeholders. Their collective effort resulted in the removal of 100 sacks of plastic waste and debris, offering participants a firsthand perspective on the detrimental effects of pollution on the island.

The Blackbough team, composed of young, creative, and passionate individuals who champion various causes such as marine life conservation and environmental preservation, includes team members based on Siargao Island. Ty acknowledged their commitment, saying, “Siargao is not just a location for us; it’s also home to many of our amazing team members. I recognize that it’s my responsibility to contribute positively to the communities and societies where we operate.”

Beyond cleaning up the beach, Blackbough’s campaign is a call to arms for travelers, environmental enthusiasts, and conscious consumers to begin their sustainability journey. Siargao Island is just the starting point for Blackbough’s beach cleanup initiatives, marking the launch of their Clean Beach Campaign, a series of beach cleanup activities in collaboration with various local communities across the Philippine islands as part of Blackbough’s advocacy for sustainability and environmental protection.

Ty believes in being proactive when it comes to addressing environmental issues. Ty emphasized, “I think that we should not wait for our beaches to reach a critical level of degradation before we act. We hope for everyone’s support as we pursue our mission to protect the country’s beaches. Together, we can make a lasting impact and inspire others to join us on this journey.”

As part of its journey towards sustainability, Blackbough has launched a fundraising drive dubbed “Donate to Clean our Coasts” on its website’s checkout page, running until mid-October. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised through this campaign will be dedicated to supporting the International Coastal Cleanup Philippines, a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to cleaning up marine debris and promoting ocean conservation. Blackbough has also pledged to match the cumulative donations made during the month of September.

To learn more about Blackbough’s fundraising initiative, please visit

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All work and no play will really make a dull life – research

‘Achievement’ and ‘conformity’ values had no impact on happiness whatsoever. However, the researchers believe achievement could impact on happiness when linked to job satisfaction or the amount of days worked.



A study across three countries led by the Department of Psychology’s Dr Paul Hanel discovered people who prioritised achievement over enjoyment were less happy on the next day. Whereas those who aimed for freedom said they had a 13% increase in well-being, recording better sleep quality and life satisfaction. And participants who tried to relax and follow their hobbies recorded an average well-being boost of 8% and a 10% drop in stress and anxiety.

Dr Hanel worked with colleagues at the University of Bath on the Journal of Personality-published study. For the first time, it explored how following various values impacts our happiness.

Dr Hanel said: “We all know the old saying ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ and this study shows it might actually be true. There is no benefit to well-being in prioritising achievement over fun and autonomy. This research shows that there are real benefits to having a balanced life and taking time to focus on enjoying ourselves and following individual goals. Ironically by doing this, people could in fact be more successful as they will be more relaxed, happier and satisfied.”

The study –Value Fulfilment and Well-being: Clarifying Directions Over Time – examined more than 180 people in India, Turkey and the UK. They filled in a diary across nine days and recorded how following different values affected them.

Interestingly all nationalities reported the same results with the following of ‘hedonism’ and ‘self-direction’ values leading to increased happiness. ‘Achievement’ and ‘conformity’ values had no impact on happiness whatsoever. However, the researchers believe achievement could impact on happiness when linked to job satisfaction or the amount of days worked.

Professor Greg Maio, University of Bath, said: “This multination project was an exciting foray into questions about how values affect well-being in day-to-day life. People often spend most of their days working hard for their daily income, studies, and careers. Against this backdrop, where achievement-oriented values have ring-fenced a great portion of our time, we found that it helps to value freedom and other values just enough to bring in balance and recovery.”

In the future, it will be interesting to consider how this pattern interacts with relevant traits, such as conscientiousness, and situational contexts, such as type of employment, Maio added.

It is hoped the research will now influence mental health provision and influence therapeutic give to clients.

Dr Hanel added: “Our research further shows that it might be more important to focus on increasing happiness rather than reducing anxiety and stress, which is of course also important, just not as much.”

The study was published in collaboration with Hamdullah Tunç, Divija Bhasin, and Dr Lukas Litzellachner.

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