10 Eco-Friendly Spots Worthy of Your Green Peso

Take baby steps to eco-enlightenment and hit these stores and restaurants that think–and act–green.


Eco-living in Manila isn't as hard as you think. Drop by these spots where you can buy environment-friendly products and eat Earth-friendly food.



1. Echostore
Address: Ground Level Serendra Piazza, Mckinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City (901-3485); G/F The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City (470-2688).

Everything's eco-friendly at this small shop: From personal care products, home cleaning helpers, health supplements and gift items.   Echostore, which opened its first branch in Serendra, Bonifacio Global City in 2008, is all about leading sustainable lifestyles.   All the products are locally-made, reflecting the ideals of Echostore's social entrepreneurs, Jeannie Javelosa, Chit Juan, and Reena Francisco: health, fair trade, and care for the environment.

Says Javelosa, "We were fired up to put up a one-stop shop that would offer alternatives helping everyone live a sustainable lifestyle." Most of the items on the shelves are products made by marginalized groups, creative industries, women prisoners and even by the urban poor.   Echostore also leads several campaigns such as "Recycle for a Cause," and a feeding program named "Malunggay Green Kids", which turns the owners' ideals into tangible solutions.

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2. Human Nature
Address: Unit 9-D Mahinhin Street, UP Village, Quezon City (332-7885, 332-9858); 463 Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City (931 5787); Unit SFR09, Santana Grove, 7202 Soreena Drive cor. Dr. A. Santos Ave., Paranaque City (828-4572).

Launched in 2008 by eco-warrior Anna Meloto-Wilk, her pro-environment stance helped shape Human Nature's line of personal care products which uses non-toxic raw materials and packaged using recyclable materials. From hair and body care to kids products, all items are locally-made and provides livelihood to Gawad Kalinga residents and communities.


Shares Meloto-Wilk, "We take our responsibility of being nature's stewards very seriously."


3. The Body Shop
Click here to see branches.

The Body Shop is one of the most vocal companies about their commitment to use the planet's resources wisely: they use natural materials and ingredients and is a staunch supporter of fighting against animal testing in the cosmetics industry. Founder Anita Roddick thinks, "The business of business should not just be about money, it should be about responsibility. It should be about public good, not private greed."



4. Kiehl's
Address: Ground Floor, Greenbelt 5, Makati City

Beauty and personal products packaged in no-frills packaging, the beauty brand has maintained its commitment to help preserve the environment. Using recyclable materials, Kiehl's also encourages consumers to recycle empty bottles.

According to Sheena Dy, senior product manager for Kiehl's Philippines, they also have an all-natural, organic line, the Açaí Damage-Protecting Toning Mist, which received the EcoCert certification. An Ecocert International Certification guarantees the products are at least 95% of natural origin and made up of at least 95% of plant ingredients that are certified organic.


For Earth Day 2010, a Limited Edition series of the Açaí Damage-Protecting Toning Mist is available in the Philippines, with four special labels that depicts visions of social responsibility, each designed exclusively for Kiehl's by actress Julianne Moore, artist Jeff Koons, and musician Pharrell Williams.

You may also bring your empty plastic beauty product containers at Kiehl's Greenbelt 5 from April 22-25. The first 120 people to do so will receive a Limited Edition Kiehl's Earth Day 2010 bag. Those who do not make the first 120, will receive travel-sized goodies.



5. Halo Heavenly D'lites Store and Café
Address: Unit 11 Cubao Expo, Araneta Center Cubao, Quezon City (0916-2317061)

Located at the bohemian enclave of Quezon City, Cubao X, Halo Heavenly D'lites Store and Café, offers organic and vegetarian items and herbal products and also sources ingredients from local food suppliers. Organic sweeteners (P190 for 500 grams) and sugar-free, vegetarian pastries are some of the healthy alternatives served by Halmen Valdez and Jaja Valencia at Halo.

Says Halmen Valdez, "We wanted the cafe to set an example to young people by advocating the use of organic ingredients in our food offerings. Although organic veggies are more expensive, we opted to highlight the use of bahay kubo vegetables or locally abundant veggies to keep the costs low."



6. Le Bistro Vert
Address: Streetside, G/F Forbes Tower, Fraser Place, Salcedo Village, Makati City (403-1841)

Food and a love for the environment come together at Le Bistro Vert, a restaurant dedicated to sustainable living. A collaboration between Chef Sau del Rosario and Chit Juan, Jeannie Javelosa, and Reena Francisco of the Echostore, Le Bistro Vert uses organic ingredients which support local farmers and small communities who produce artisanal food specialties.

"We don't really need to add carbon footprints by flying in tons of imported ingredients when our chefs' creativity can be inspired by what is abundant locally," shares Javelosa.



7. ArAma
Address: Serendra, McKinley Parkway, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Taguig City. (901-3836)

"ArAma is an 'organic café'," says Gina Yambot, Arama's restaurant manager. "Arama", which means "garden" in Sanskrit, serves vegetarian fare and menu items made from organically-grown ingredients.

Greens, breakfast staples, pasta dishes and locally-sourced coffee all make up a healthy yet tasty menu, and can be enjoyed amidst cozy café interiors. Must-try their home-made frozen yogurt made with kefir, a healthy probiotic ingredient.



8. Starbucks Coffee
Click here to see a list of branches.

The ubiquitous café which dots most streets in Manila takes eco-living seriously. Aside from reducing wastage of paper napkins by only giving them to customers when needed, they've also incorporated other initiatives locally, which, they hope helps preserve the planet in the long run.

According to Zarah Perez who handles Global Responsibility for Starbucks Philippines, "We're working on environmentally-considerate options with our new stores; this involved slowly sourcing locally for our store design elements. This of course helps reduce our carbon footprint. A concrete example from the Store Design end is our St. Luke's store, which uses reclaimed wood sourced from the Philippines.

Our customers always get P5 off their beverages if they bring their personal tumblers at our store, year round. Our baristas also take their beverages in their own tumblers."



9. Healthy Kitchen
Address: Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City (900-6514)

Owner Lory Petry-Tydingco of Healthy Kitchen serves appetizing dishes made with organic ingredients. With a menu that is not dedicated exclusively for vegans, pizzas with whole wheat crust, and brown rice meals in the menu provide healthier, MSG-free alternatives. With free Wi-Fi access, mismatched décor and a cozy atmosphere, Healthy Kitchen makes eating healthy an easy lifestyle choice.

According to Russel Saradpon, Healthy Kitchen's store manager, "Healthy Kitchen was established to offer the most delicious, healthy recipes and promote a lifestyle that is beneficial to all. We also try to source most of our ingredients locally."



10. Van Gogh is Bipolar
Address: 154 H Maginhawa St., Sikatuna Village, Quezon City. (394-0188, 0922-8243051)

Serving "happy-hormone" inducing food, the intriguing spot called Van Gogh is Bipolar in Quezon City mixes living art space with food. A private refuge more than a restaurant, owner and travel photographer Jetro Rafael, serves vegetarian items, and organic meat with mountain rice such as the Pres. Clinton's Meal - Van Gogh Rice (P555), which is served with premium Australian lamb and the Godfather 3 (P255), mountain rice topped with vegan's delight.

Serving only natural food to keep healthy hormone levels, Rafael says, "All the food items, even the drinks, on the menu are designed to alter your mood."

Photographs from the Echostore, The Body Shop, Kiehl's, Le Bistro Vert, Halo, Starbucks Philippines Facebook page, Raya Mananquil (Healthy Kitchen pizza).

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