Help Palawan protect its forest by cutting off half of your hair

Published September 2, 2020, 6:31 AM

by Jules Vivas

Sometimes you have to go the extra mile just to prove a point

Center for Sustainability (CS) Philippines, a women-led youth group based in Palawan, collaborates with HalfCut, an Australian non-profit organization, to put a spotlight on saving forests and wildlife on Aug. 31, Monday.

HalfCut launched an online donations platform to address the problem that 50 percent of the world’s forest has disappeared. The fundraising campaign called the “Half Cut Challenge,” engages people of all cultures, ages, and sexes to raise awareness and funds for forest conservation and regeneration.

People are encouraged to do the challenge by getting half of their hair and or beard shaved, dyed, braided, or cut. Participants post their new look on social media and urge family, friends, and followers to donate to the cause.

A panoramic view of the Kensad landscape, photo John Christian Yayen

 “Everyone from all walks of life, young and old, women and men can become active environmental heroes to fundraise to protect our forests, conserve it, and regenerate and defend the remaining forests of Palawan, Australia, and beyond,” says KM Reyes, CS co-executive director and co-founder.

In the Philippines, donations will go to the funding of CS’ Project Palawan, which seeks to create a new protected area in southern Palawan, known locally by indigenous Tagbanua communities as Kensad.

The youth organization is participating in the social movement to spread awareness that the country was originally 95 percent covered in forest, but now only three percent remains. It seeks to protect remaining Philippine forests through the legal establishment of protected areas, starting in Palawan, the country’s “last ecological frontier.”

Several supporters from US, Europe, and the Philippines have joined CS’ Half Cut Challenge on social media, raising money through their personal Facebook and Instagram accounts.

“Filipinos here and abroad, and foreigners who’ve visited and fallen in love with the ‘Best Island in the World,’ have contacted us and immediately jumped onboard to directly fundraise in their own networks to support us in protecting Palawan,” Reyes explains. 

Kensad forest destruction, photo by Jessa Girabay-Yayen

CS has successfully spearheaded the creation of the Cleopatra’s Needle Critical Habitat in Puerto Princesa City, legally established by the Philippine government in 2017. It is the Philippines’ biggest critical habitat.

In celebration of International HalfCut Day, CS is calling on Filipinos across the country to post a HalfCut look on their social media, raise awareness of the decimation of Philippine forests, and urge friends and followers to conserve what is left by donating to Project Protect Palawan.

“HalfCut has proven such an empowering platform—anyone with a cell phone and internet who cares about our disappearing forests in the Philippines can join us frontline conservationists in Palawan to make a concrete and material difference in an instant!” says Reyes.

CS will continue the HalfCut Challenge on their social media, and fund raise on the HalfCut platform for Project Protect Palawan until September 10.

For more information visit @centreforsustainability for FB, @centreforsustainabilityph for Instagram. Donate in