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Traveling Ethically in the Philippines: Our journey into sustainable living

by Jérôme Gagnon-Voyer December 29, 2015

Traveling Ethically in the Philippines: Our journey into sustainable living

We founded Cambio Market because we want change. We want to change how businesses operate. We believe that businesses can be profitable and socially responsible, and that real corporate social responsibility means creating positive impact rather than minimizing negative impact. Part of that positive impact involves helping consumers (like you) be part of that change - by providing ways for you to shop with purpose, live ethically, and support businesses and causes who are making the world better, not worse. 

There's another level of change afoot at Cambio Market that we don't often talk about: Gelaine and I also want to change ourselves. We're not role models for "the" ethical shopper. Neither of us pretend to shop 100% ethically 100% of the time, and we have so much to learn about the supply chain and fashion industry. How exactly does that dress come from that cotton plant? What, and who, are the processes and people involved? What were they all paid? How exactly does that process differ between fast fashion and slow fashion? What do terms like organic, fair trade, and upcycled really even mean? Do they make a difference?

We're on our way to the Philippines. See ya in two months, Canada!

These are all things that Gelaine and I need and want to learn about. See, we're like a lot of you. We believe in living sustainably and ethically. We believe that where you shop and what you buy says so much about who you are and what you value. But as much as that's the case, we know how difficult it can be to fully understand (and especially trust) what's going on, what these buzzwords mean, what kind of impact you're having, and where exactly your money is going. We have become experts, through Cambio Market and ChooseSocial.PH (our other endeavour!) at knowing our suppliers and understanding their social impact, but we want to live ethically just as much as we want to work ethically.

So where do we start?

Ethical Travel

You may have heard through the grapevine that we’re on a trip to the Philippines. We actually left on Christmas Day and are traveling for two months! Gelaine and I have traveled quite a bit and we've always done our best to travel as ethically as we can. For example, we generally opt to do home stays through Airbnb or local hostels rather than big hotels, we don't do any of the touristy stuff that is damaging to local economies and the environment, and we pay fair prices to merchants even if that may mean we end up paying more than locals reasonably would. But there's always more we could do, and we've never documented our travels (so there’s no better time to start!). 

Approaching our landing to Philippines

Why are we going to Philippines?

We’ve got quite a few suppliers in the Philippines (such as Good Paper, Olivia & Diego, and our future potential partner VESTI) so we want to use this opportunity to visit them in person. It’s crucial to our learning (and yours!) to visit the artisans who make our products and learn from them. We’ll document every step of our journey, use what we learn to improve the information on our website, and share all of our insights with you on social media. We’re also hoping to meet new partners and discover amazing new products and causes that will delight you for Cambio Market.

So join us on our ethical travel adventures through the Philippines, the first step of our journey into a sustainable lifestyle! We’ll be updating our blog and social media posts all the time, so make sure to follow along!  

PS - don’t worry, Cambio Market is still operating as we have a wonderful team member in Toronto ready to fulfill your orders with lots of love!

This blog post is part of a series about our ethical travel adventures in the Philippines. Click here to check out other posts in this series.

Jérôme Gagnon-Voyer
Jérôme Gagnon-Voyer


Jérôme is an IT professional by trade who is passionate about using technology to help non-profits and cause-based organizations scale their impact. He is co-founder of Cambio & Co. – a brand on a mission to share the beauty of Filipino craftsmanship with the world. We provide a platform for the most innovative and socially impactful Filipino brands to grow by showcasing their stories and products - all designed and handcrafted in the Philippines by talented Filipino artisans. Jérôme is also co-founder of ChooseSocial.PH – the go-to resource to discover the social enterprise scene in the Philippines.

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