Somerhalder lauds 'progressive' PH companies

By Camille B. Naredo,

Posted at May 26 2012 05:30 PM | Updated as of May 27 2012 07:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Ian Somerhalder, one of the stars of CW’s hit show “The Vampire Diaries,” is impressed with the conservation and preservation efforts of Philippine companies.

Somerhalder, who plays the role of vampire Damon Salvatore, was in town recently as the new endorser of the Penshoppe clothing brand.

Penshoppe and its parent company Golden ABC also promised to support the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF), and the actor said he is “looking forward” to the partnership, especially as he is impressed with Penshoppe’s efforts to help conserve and preserve nature.

“I’ve never heard of a brand linking up with a foundation to literally promote good and not just promote good but create it, raise the monetary resources to actually put it in motion,” Somerhalder said during a press conference at the Manila Penninsula last Wednesday.

“What the Filipino people are doing and what the Philippines is doing, is that big corporations are taking massive strides in protecting and conserving everything, from resources that fall from the sky and resources that we create,” he said.

“You guys are conserving them on a corporate level. No one does that, and no one knows that you’re doing that.”

Somerhalder singled out Island Transvoyager Inc. (ITI), the air service provider for El Nido resorts, where the Penshoppe photoshoot was held.

“We were going to El Nido, and you fly in this little chartered plane. ITI, these people are amazing. There is a little card inside the plane, and they show you (that) in this particular aircraft, it produces an x-amount, thousands of kilograms of CO2 (carbon dioxide),” he related.

“So when you land, what we’re gonna do, we realize that it takes about six trees to offset, per passenger, the carbon footprint for the flight. So they plant six trees for every passenger that flies. How cool is that?” Somerhalder added.

He joked that if giant U.S. airlines would follow ITI’s example, “there would be forests as far as the eye can see in every corner of the globe.”

According to ITI's website, each passenger donates P200 to purchase six seedlings, which are then planted at the Brgy. Villa Libertad watershed area.

This is done to help offset the carbon emissions generated by ITI flights as well as to support the watershed rehabilitation project of El Nido.

“Filipinos are taking strides to do this, and I have never heard about that... It’s a phenomenal idea and it’s just another way that a company in the Philippines is taking great strides to kick some major green butt,” Somerhalder said.

Somerhalder said he plans to tell his family and friends back in the United States about how “progressive” the Philippines is, especially when it comes to preserving and conserving nature.

“I’ve been so blown away and humbled by the generosity and beauty of this place, and how progressive everything is, how progressive you guys are. It’s incredible,” he said.

“So when I go home, I’m gonna tell them, 'You have to go to this place and you have to check out what these big companies are doing and what the people behind them are doing to better themselves and better the world that we live in,'” Somerhalder added.

“That’s what I will be telling people, to come and check this place out and raise awareness for this place.”