The Favorite Snacks of Filipinos According to the Beach and the Plastic Pollution Problem

Filipino favorite snacks at Larawan Beach in Talisay City, Cebu

We recently celebrated Earth Day.  I have seen many people posting about ending plastic pollution and maybe, on that day many people refuse to use plastic.  As for my contribution on this topic, I would like to share my experience the last time I went to the beach.  As a food blogger, I discovered the favorite snacks of Filipinos or let say Cebuanos by picking up plastic trash at the beach.

It's the height of summer and this particular summer is really hot.  Just like the majority of Filipinos, I would love to go to the beach to take a dip and get away from the oven-like heat in our house.  Since the students are on vacation, our local beaches are packed with people.  When we go the beach, we normally bring food and drinks. We even assign someone to buy "chichirya" for the summer outing.  Most of our favorite snacks are in plastic packaging and most of the times, the packaging ends up on the beach or worse, in the sea.

A Trip to Larawan Beach

Larawan Beach, Talisay City, Cebu circa 2018

When I was a kid, Talisay was synonymous to the beach.  When people say that they are going to Talisay on a weekend, most likely they are going to the popular beaches of this city south of Cebu City.  One of the most popular beaches would be Larawan Beach and at that time, it was a great alternative to going to Opon (Mactan). 

Fast forward 2018.  Talisay is not as popular anymore to beachgoers.  People now go further down south for a beach that is worthy to be on a travel blog or on Youtube videos.   They could go to the towns of Argao, Dalaguete, or Alcoy.  For people who want something more picturesque, they go to the Southwestern part of Cebu and go beach bumming in Alcoy and Badian. 

When we mention Talisay, even Talisayons would say that their beaches are dirty and it is not the same as before.  I was really curious about the status of the beaches Talisay so I recruited some of my friends from the Cebu Content Creators (C3) to check it out.  I told them that I want to do a mini coastal cleanup.  I was able to recruit Aldrin Jake Suan of Aldrincore Moshpit and I thought that we will just be a duo for that Sunday.  Good thing, Vernon Go (, Hanna Frejoles (, and CJ Estrada ( joined in.

Larawan Beach, 2018

Summer 2018 at Larawan Beach Talisay Cebu

I was really surprised that there were so many people at the beach.  The Larawan Beach area was crowded and the eateries were packed.  We even had lechon and dugo-dugo for lunch in Rhea's Lechon at the entrance of Larawan Beach.  Talisay is known for its lechon and it is hard to resist lechon that is sold by the beach. 

the famous Talisay Lechon with dinuguan and puso

Cebu Content Creators having lunch by the beach in Talisay City

After a filling lunch, we then proceded with our beach clean up. 

The Favorite Snacks of Pinoy Beachgoers "according to" Larawan Beach

CJ Estrada and Vernon Go picks up thrash in Larawan Beach

If Larawan Beach can talk, I could probably give "her" an hour of airtime.  I would have asked how was "she" been in the past couple of decades.  The beach cannot talk but looking at the trash that we found lying on the beach, I somehow learned the favorite snacks of Filipino beachgoers.  Here are some of the trash that we picked up:

Oishi Prawn Crackers thrown at Larawan Beach, Talisay Cebu
Product Name: Oishi Prawn Crackers
Manufacturer: Liwayway Marketing Corporation

I like this brand of prawn crackers.  I think this is the No.1 prawn cracker brand in the country.  This even has a spicy version and a larger packaging.

Plastic trash on the beaches of Cebu
Product Name: Oishi Fish Crackers
Manufacturer: Liwayway Marketing Corporation

This one is still made by the same company.  This variant is relatively new.  The Filipino-company started selling prawn crackers in 1974 and now they have several different snacks like fish crackers.  My other favorites from the same company are Rinbee, Cracklin', and Pillows.

Favorite snacks of Cebuanos at the beach
Product Name: Marty's Craklin'
Manufacturer: Liwayway Marketing Corporation

Oishi is really doing well in Cebu.  Marty's Cracklin' completed the trifecta of Oishi products on the beach. This snack variant was introduced in 2008 and it is still a big hit among Pinoys.

More plastic packaging thrown at Larawan Beach Cebu
Product Name: Black Chili Corn Chips
Manufacturer: Prifood

Prifood is a home-grown brand.  My personal favorite among their snack line-up is their Big Munch series.
Small plastic packaging a big factor in plastic pollution
Product Name: Sweet Chili Corn Chips
Manufacturer: Prifood

The packaging of these ones are very small but in a way, it is good if we want to limit junk food consumption but it could be bad if want to limit plastic waste.

Trash in Larawan Beach, Talisay City, Cebu
Product Name: Nissin Wafer
Manufacturer: Monde Nissin

Monde Nissin is another giant in the snacks industry and this company is known for many popular items like Skyflakes, Fita, Lucky Me!, and Bingo.

Universal Robina product packaging found at Larawan Beach
Product Name: Roller Coaster
Manufacturer: Universal Robina Corporation

I would have been shocked if I did not see a Jack N' Jill (URC) product in Larawan Beach.  When it comes to "chichirya", my top brand is definitely Jack N' Jill.  I grew up eating Chippy, Cheese Curls, Mr. Chips, Taquitos, V-Cut, Piattos and more.

Chippy at Larawan Beach, Talisay City, Cebu 2018
Product Name: Roller Coaster
Manufacturer: Universal Robina Corporation

It would also be a big surprise if I did not see my all-time favorite junk food.  Chippy is like a comfort food me.

Plastic packaging thrown at public beaches
Product Name: Combi
Manufacturer: Republic Biscuit Corporation (Rebisco)

Rebisco started as a neighborhood bakery in San Juan in 1963 and now, they are one of the top producers of snack foods in the country.

Favorite snacks of Filipino beachgoers
Product Name: Clover Chips
Manufacturer: Leslie Corporation

This is another brand that I expected to see on the beach.  Clover chips have been very popular since I was a kid.

The favorite snacks of Summer 2018 found on the beach
Product Name: Spicy Seafood Curls
Manufacturer: Liwayway Marketing Corporation

I am really impressed with market penetration of Oishi in Cebu. This brand is starting to pull away as the leading brand of snacks found on the beach.

Happy Peanuts at Larawan Beach
Product Name: Happy Peanuts
Manufacturer: Rebisco

Peanuts are good snacks at the beach.  It is good with beer as well.  This happy nut is sold at 1 peso per pack at your suking tindahan.

Bingo cookies sunbathing at Larawan Beach, Talisay City, Cebu
Product Name: Nissin Wafer
Manufacturer: Monde Nissin

This one is also another popular product by Monde Nissin but I normally prefer Presto Cream or Oreo over this one.

Candy wrappers contribute to the plastic problem
Product Name: Fres Mint Candy Barley
Manufacturer: PT Mayora Indah

Finally, we have a foreign brand on the list.  This Indonesian import is from the same company that makes Kopiko.

Filipinos love making at the beach
Product Name: Tang Grape
Distributor: Mondelez International

This is one of the top powdered juice brands in the Philippines.  People sometimes bring powdered drinks to the beach.  It is good to be drunk on its own while some use it as an ingredient to an alcoholic cocktail.

Neste Tea Ices packaging taking a plunge in Summer 2018 in Talisay, Cebu
Product Name: Nestea
Manufacturer: Nestle Philippines

I guess the Nestea packaging is taking the plunge as well. ;)  This is the leading powdered iced tea brand the country.
Yari Ka! packaging
Product Name: Yari Ka!
Manufacturer: Pure Snacks Food House Corporation

I have not tried this one. Maybe, it is good. I really like its name because it is so apt for this blog post.  "Yari Ka talaga" if we keep on throwing our trash on the beach.

Chooks to go at the beach
Product: Chooks-To-Go

I love the Gilas and I am happy that Chooks-to-go is investing millions on our national basketball team.  I hope though, they will find an eco-friendly alternative to their packaging.

Drinking Emperador at Larawan Beach and leaving trash
Product: Emperador

Our public beaches are like a free for all.  We can bring liquors, beer, and soft drinks.  We just need to dispose of bottles properly because broken bottles could cause wounds and glass bottles could last a million years if left floating in the sea.

Diapers are the worst trash at public beaches in the Philippines
Product: Diapers

Another common trash at the beach is used diapers. This kind of trash should not be on the beach. 

Kalami Cebu 5 Quick Observations: 

Cebu Content Creators Larawan Beach Clean Up April 2018

  1. A little effort can net a positive result- There were just 6 of us and we were able to collect 2 sackfuls of trash in just a few minutes.   Imagine if we scale this to 30 people or 300 people.  A few minutes of trash collection a day could really help maintain our beaches.  We do not need to go to Boracay to clean up our beaches.  One just has to go the neighborhood beach and do his/her part.
  2. Filipinos love Filipino snacks.  The best-selling snacks are still locally made. It might be the demographics but I do not see brands like Doritos, Snickers, or Cheetos at Larawan Beach.
  3. Small packaging is preferred.  While personally, I buy the biggest packaging for junk foods, most of the trash that we saw were in "menudo" or small packaging.
  4. People like to throw diapers on the beach.  Would you be mad if you step on one? I would.
  5. Oishi and its sister products are doing great in Cebu.
Plastic Trash and its Implications

We already know that plastic waste ends up in our seas and mangroves, clogs up our drainage system, and would take years to degrade but we still keep on using it and throwing it indiscriminately.  This kind of behavior is quite scary for the future generations. 

According to Greenpeace, the Philippines is the number 3 ocean polluter in the world. The environmental organization is actually blaming the large multinational companies like Nestle, Procter and Gamble, and Unilever for this.  Try searching "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch" in Google to see how serious is the plastic pollution in our oceans.

When the plastic trash in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch gets broken down, they become microplastics or plastic particles that are smaller than 5 mm.  Microplastics could be ingested by the fish in the ocean which would eventually end up on our tables.  It is an issue that we should know about this early.  Can you imagine eating fish and seafood with seemingly invisible microplastics?

The more plastics that would end up in the ocean, the less viable the ocean becomes as a food source.  In the future, seafood could be a thing of the past.

What can We do?

The one thing that I am not going to do is blame anyone because we really did not know that plastics would become a big problem.  We were all programmed to consume and not think much of the packaging.  While we consume the food and drinks, the packagings, cups, and straws actually stay for a long long time.  Now that we know this, it is time to change our own habits.

  1. We have to bring our own tumblers for our drinks.  Some people say they would not buy bottled water anymore but summer is so hot and we really need to hydrate or else we "die".  Bringing our own tumblers would help but water companies should think of more water vending machine where we can buy water by the glass.  Coffee shops must also give incentives to people who bring their own tumbler like what Macao Imperial Tea is doing.  
  2. Not using straws. This has been a hot item recently as worldwide we throw tons of straws and it is hard to recycle the waste. There have been innovators who made reusable straws and just like tumblers, we could bring a personal straw when we go out.
  3. Reduce food wastage. The mindset of wastage should be eliminated.  We should not waste food.  We have finite resource and we should simply throw away food. Mindful consumption of food and beverages is important in reducing waste in general.
  4. Use cloth diapers. You might say this is a backward practice but diapers are plastics.  If you saw the video on our coastal clean-up.  Diapers are a common waste that is thrown at the beach.  Billions of diapers become thrash every year and we cut down thousands of trees and make tons of plastics to make these.
  5. Use reusable containers.  It is time to end the use of one-time use items.  Instead of just teaching kids to throw away things, we can try to develop the habit reusing instead. It is not going to be easy but eventually, we will be forced to do it.
There are so many ways to really reduce plastic usage and our plastic dependence.  All we need is to be mindful and conscious that everything that we throw away could end up hurting us in the future.  Change is needed and we have to start it with ourselves.

What Can Companies and the Government Do?

Individuals could make an impact but the government and big companies also need to do their part.  We only live on one planet and it is in danger.  Our leaders and businessmen must also be aware that the next generation will face a bleak future if the mindless use of plastics and other pollutants is not abated.

For the government, they must take into account the current plastic problem in crafting legislation when it comes to the environment.   They must also be strict in enforcing laws against violators.  Fines should be bigger and laws must have teeth to deter companies from attempting to destroy the environment.  Local governments must also start investing in recycling facilities.  We could let other LGUs emulate what San Fernando, Pampanga is doing.  This city is recycling or composting 75% of their waste and they are aiming to increase their efficiency to above 90% levels.  Mandaue City started banning plastic bags. We need more proactive leaders who care for the environment.

For companies, they have to do a bigger share in things like coastal clean-ups.  Majority of the plastic wastes come from the biggest and most profitable companies in the country. It is important for them to also help clean up our beaches, mangroves, rivers, and oceans.  They must also try to find ways to make recyclable packaging of their products.  Bottled water or beverage companies could start putting refilling centers or refilling vendo machines to encourage the reuse of bottles. They can even initiate a bring back a bottle and get a discount on drinks. Some coffee shops are starting doing this but beverage companies could do this too.  We do this for soft drink companies where we return bottles for a deposit.  Why can't water/iced tea companies do this too?

It is not just about clean-ups but also a change of mindset is needed on people who do business. Companies and the government have to power to dramatically change our eating habits.  If the government suddenly bans plastic bottles then I think companies will also adjust. The consumers will then follow. If they cannot ban plastics, then an alternative is imposing a big tax on companies that use plastic packaging so that the companies will look for ways to reduce prices by making innovative changes in packages or how they sell their goods.

The problem is not simple but we need to address it now.  If we continue the path we are going then the next generation may never experience pristine beaches.  They will never experience bathing in rivers.  They might not even be allowed to eat seafood anymore.  The problem is real and it really hits close to home.  We live in a country that is one of the biggest users of plastic packaging in the world.  We consume billions worth of instant coffee, shampoo, noodles, snacks, bottled water, and beverages.  All these come in plastic packaging which could end up in the ocean which could then turn into microplastic that will be ingested by fish.   Fish and seafood which are a big part of our diet.

The next time you eat food in plastic packaging, you should think where the waste could potentially go.

Thank you for reading this pretty long blog post and if you have good ideas to help to solve this problem please let us know by making a comment.  We need great ideas and solutions to greatly reduce plastic pollution.  Any suggestion is greatly appreciated.


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