I have always been a fan of this young man, Rafael “Raf” Dionisio, since the first time I met him when he was also invited to speak at the same youth forum I was invited to speak at. He impressed me as a typical “dynamic millennial on the go.” I was overwhelmed by all his bright ideas that I decided to invite him to speak at one of our university’s tourism events.
He has an enviable youthful exuberance and dynamism that you can’t help but wonder where all that energy and innovative moves are coming from. Raf can easily charm anybody with his interesting plans and projects.
My first five minutes with him immediately convinced me that he is how today’s youth should be. I was a little bit taken aback, though, when I found out that he owns a travel agency called MAD Travel. In my mind, I wondered, why such a negative name. Good thing I learned that MAD was actually an acronym for “Make A Difference,” and my faith in him was restored.
I discovered the many noteworthy projects he was involved with in promoting sustainable tourism in the countryside, with ecological considerations, and giving special attention to the less privileged members of our society.
Just the other day, he invited me to his newest project, Table To Tribe, a unique seed-raising dining experience put together by a team of Michelin Star-chefs headed by Chele Gonzalez, who created special dishes and cocktails inspired by local traditions observed by the Aetas.
Vegetable and fruit seeds from the dishes were saved and planted for the long-term food security of forest-based communities in Bataan and Zambales. With our country’s rain forest down from 70 percent in 1900 to only 3 percent this year, the fight against climate change takes us back to growing more trees and empowering the people who live there.
This laudable project of MAD Travel, in partnership with Gallery by Chele and La Camara, sends a clear message that seeds can be saved and sent to farmers so they can grow their own farms. Seeds were delivered to the Aetas the following day, setting a good example for households, hotels, resorts, and restaurant owners that they can actually contribute to ending poverty by donating seeds from their kitchen to our hardworking farmers.
Raf Dionisio and his partners hope that seed saving will restore over 3,000 hectares of forest in the countryside. Livelihood is a key component of reforestation, as forest-based communities must be able to earn while keeping our forests safe.
This aspect of sustainable tourism is, indeed, a praiseworthy direction that MAD Travel is taking. The Table-To-Tribe event is certainly a big help in our country’s efforts to solve our problem of diminishing forests and the impoverished communities in them.
I told you that this young man, Raf Dionisio, is a repository of bright ideas. He was born to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
For feedback, I’m at [email protected]YOUR weekend CHUCKLE
Q: Why do we tell stage actors to “break a leg?”
A: Because every play has a cast.
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