WATCH: Alden Richards finds shocking underwater trash items in Batangas reef-cleaning activity 

Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Alden Richards admitted to being "oblivious" when he was young as he used to throw candy wrappers anywhere he finds himself in. 

The actor realized his grave mistake as he grew up and more recently as he found himself looking at unbelievable bags of trash he helped fill as part of the almost 200 volunteer-participants at the first-ever beach-and-reef cleaning by Century Tuna's Saving Our Seas initiative. 

"Before I became a celebrity, medyo oblivious pa ako kung paano maging mabuting mamamayan ng Pilipinas. So ako nun, 'pag may candy ako tapos hindi ko alam kung saan siya itatapon, itatapon ko siya kung saan man. Kasi isipin ko, maliit lang naman na wrapper ng candy 'yun e. Pero I saw it personally doon sa reef na, eh paano kung merong 10,000 katao ganoon mag-isip? So merong 10,000 wrappers ng candy akong makikita below the reef, even around ng paligid natin," the actor said to the press after he joined the reef and shore clean-up activity in Mabini, Batangas last Saturday. 

It is not the first time that he went scuba diving but it was the first time for him to do reef-cleaning and he said it was eye-opening for him. 

He recalled how he always found himself looking at beautiful corals and marine life in many of his leisure scuba diving trips with his family. In hindsight, he said, they were most likely lured to places that are tourist-friendly, with little to no traces of trash that have found their ways to the ocean and seas. 

"This is an eye-opener for me. Ang sarap sa pakiramdam na sisisid ka sa kailaliman ng dagat tapos pupulot ka ng basura," the bedimpled actor said. 

At last Saturday's event, the Century Tuna Superbods endorser shared the pieces he picked and found underwater. 

"Alam n'yo po yung sa handle ng payong? Naka-dalawa ako nun. Tapos for some reason, face masks. Siguro 'yung mga nagbo-boat ride, mga chips, packages pero majority po ay paper cups and tin cans. 'Yung talaga yung nakakagulat sa dami," Alden said. 

The actor said this is his first environmental cause and he plans to focus on this one as a personality with a large platform.  

"It's very essential especially para sa celebrities kasi we have the platform, the influence and we're able to amplify the message and needs to be sent to a lot of people, which are essential for the common good. 'Yun talaga what I really wanted since I started with showbizness," Alden said. 

Cause for the long run

The beach- and reef-cleaning activity kickstarted the "Saving Our Seas" initiative by Century Tuna. 

The program aims to raise awareness on the significance of marine conservation as well as the importance of the involvement of consumers in the fight against plastic pollution and how they can be part of the solution.

“Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issues we have today and as part of Century Tuna’s mission to give back to our planet and our seas, we will be launching the ‘Saving Our Seas’ initiative to help the fight against plastic pollution, especially in our Philippine Seas,” said Century Pacific Food Inc. (CPFI) Vice President and General Manager for Branded Tuna Business Carlo Endaya. 

“Let’s make a huge difference for our beaches and continue to enjoy the marine resources we need,” he added.

The "Saving Our Seas" initiative is also in partnership with the non-governmental organization HOPE's Aling Tindera program. The waste-to-cash enables communities to convert their plastic trash into cash. 

Related: The passionate Nanette Medved-Po

In Mabini, Batangas, there are 11 key areas where the Aling Tindera waste bins are placed. 

Apart from Alden, last Saturday's event was also attended by his fellow Century Tuna Superbods personalities including the Superbods 2022 winner Kirk Bondad, Superbods 2020 winner Samantha Lo, and Superbods 2020 finalist and Miss Eco International 2022 Kathleen Paton.

Former actress, philanthropist and HOPE founder Nanette Medved-Po thanked the volunteers in her impromptu speech. 

"I want to thank all of you. Over 200 heroes who showed up today. You descended on these waters and these beaches on a Saturday to demonstrate what was important to you and it's you who made this event a success. So I want to thank all of you. You drive the movement, which makes all of us do better, which includes making sure that all the brands that you love, not just Century, represent your values. And so, thank you so much for showing up today. Thank you for showing up for our seas," said Medved-Po.

WATCH: Former actress and philanthropist Nanette Medved-Po gives impromptu speech to thank coastal clean-up volunteers

RELATED: Alden Richards believes in adopting a ‘reward system’ in life







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