A picture started Mary Ann’s lifelong passion for the environment.
She was in Grade 6 and had a field trip to the National Library in Manila, and as she was browsing through a catalogue of non-profit organizations, she stumbled on a picture of a boat chasing away whalers in the open sea. A dead and bloody whale was being pulled into the ship and the boat was right smack in front of the harpooners, trying to protect the wounded whales. The activists on the boat were in a confrontation with this whaling ship 20 times their size! Seeing that photo gave her such a visceral connection to what the activists were doing and thought, “This is what I want to do with my life! I want to be like them too.”
From then on, Mary Ann actively searched for organizations doing environmental work and became actively involved in city clean-ups, tree-planting activities and rallies that championed environmental issues through-out her elementary and high school days. In college, she worked as an intern with Greenpeace Southeast Asia. She became heavily involved in volunteering and working with various environmental groups which exposed her to various issues as diverse as climate change, sustainable transport, food security issues, genetic engineering, toxics campaigns, solid waste management, to name a few.
She also worked other jobs not related to the cause: a call center agent, an office manager for a microfinance, even a barmaid for a short while. But she always returned to her first love: the environment.
Now that she is working for Ocean, Mary Ann feels very fortunate to be given the opportunity to take a more active role in saving and protecting the seas.