I have been working with TUMI for a few years now. Asides from being a brand that I trust with products that I love, the local team behind TUMI Philippines is a group of exemplary individuals. Asides from the degree of professionalism I have witnessed, they are kind human beings, allowing our relationship to span from a business one to a friendship. So it didn’t surprise me when they invited me to join them in an intimate activity that would allow us to help supply clean water to a community in Cayabu, Rizal.

TUMI teamed up with Waves for Water, a non-profit organization that provides the Sawyer One Point Filter and buckets throughout the Philippines (along with many other impoverished areas around the world), to communities that don’t always have access to clean drinking water. This filter can take contaminated water and clear it off diseases such as salmonella, cholera, diarrhea, and typhoid along with many more harmful strains, making water safe to drink, and use to clean open wounds and wash hands. Each filter is usable for 1 million gallons, making it functional (if cleaned and maintained properly) for roughly 10 years. That’s a lot of clean water!

Because the filter itself is quite pricey, a portion of the proceeds from purchasing any TUMI bag or luggage goes to these filters, which are then donated to struggling communities. TUMI then put together a group that could learn more about the benefits and uses of the filter, as well as how to assemble and clean them properly. I was lucky enough to be part of this group, and even luckier to be able to impart the knowledge I was given to other people.

Cayabu, Rizal happens to neighbor Baras, Rizal – the home of the Masungi Georeserve. After our clean water mission, we were challenged to an afternoon of climbing one of the mountains in the Sierra Madre range. Asides from being a place that is committed to preserving our natural resources, it is a wildlife sanctuary. For those who enjoy climbing, Masungi has a few beautiful trails to choose from. It is daunting, but very rewarding. Not just for the stunning views, but the interesting manmade areas that add challenges, as well as spots to relax and kick your feet up.

Together with the team, we tackled the mountain and enjoyed a lovely homemade lunch at the top. What started out as a ridiculously hot treck up, turned into a very wet and rainy trek down. Both were glorious. Though they brought our bodies to their limits, they also sent gratification pulsing through us all. What a wonderful initiative, and a great day with my TUMI family. A special thanks to Carlo Delantar of Waves for Water and Ann Dumaliang of the Masungi Georeserve for aiding in bringing us back to nature for the afternoon.