Rajo Laurel Tree Bags

If you stop and think about it, our world is going to hell. We've overreached ourselves as human beings by taking more than we need, more than what our planet can sustain. It's depressing, especially when we feel powerless to stop the environmental degradation even within our own little slices of earth. The poor suffer most because of it, but in one way or another, all of us are affected.

There are so many things we can do to help the environment, but we should all begin with ourselves. It's easier when we start with our hobbies - if you're reading this, you're probably into beauty and fashion. It's a good thing that brands in the industry have made a tentative move to participate in the so-called green fashion philosophy by providing products and services that give back to the planet in some way. 

Some recent examples are Pureology, which donates to a recycling facility in Rizal, and Zara, which sells 100% organic cotton tees. There are also the newly launched Rajo Laurel Tree Bags.

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The Tree Bag Project is an initiative of Rags2Riches, Inc., a social business enterprise, in collaboration with Mr. Rajo Laurel, Anthill Fabric Gallery (another social enterprise), the Indigenous Weavers of Bangued, Abra, Wood Crasftmen of Pardo, Cebu and the San Carlos Development Board, Inc., our Tree-Planting partner. It is a project for a cause that empowers four communities and plants a tree for every purchase of the Tree bag.

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Mr. Rajo Laurel enthuses, "What makes this project even more significant is that we have fused four communities in creation of the bag. We have the weavers of Abra who created the linen fabric of the bag made from scrap thread. Then we have the women of Payatas who braided the handle made from scrap fabric. Then we have the wood carvers of Banglos who created all the wood elements in the bag also from scrap wood. The bag is then sewn in Cebu using out of work factory workers due to the recession.  The bags are then shipped back to Manila so that the Rags2Riches  team do their quality control, labeling, inventory, costing  and packaging!"

I'm amazed that a stylish bag like this is made entirely from scrap materials and honest labor!

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The man of the hour

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Folded like a clutch

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Full length

I find the bags really chic, for an eco bag! Usually green bags like this look bland and uninspiring, but this one by Rajo Laurel is something I wouldn't mind bringing around. It's also a great conversation piece as people are bound to ask you where you got it, to which you can proudly tell them the rich story behind the bag.

Trite and shallow musings aside, a purchase of one bag funds one tree to be planted in a watershed. Good news is, they just won't plant the seed and leave it to fend for itself - they will take care of the tree for three years! RIIR has partnered with NGOs who can help them with this goal. You can be assured that the mere P750 you pay for each stylish bag is going to a great cause.

You can purchase the Tree Bag at the House of Laurel. For more info on other store locations, visit the Rags2Riches website.

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The event kicked off with an emotional poetry reading of the classic, "A Giving Tree"

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Group pic at the Travel Cafe