Wednesday, September 26

An ASEAN Experience

During the first three months of 2018, I stumble upon an announcement of a YSEALI Marine Debris Expedition, which was created by Divers Clean Action and supported by the Jakarta US Embassy. Being the ‘let’s just sign up and we’ll see how it goes’ kind of person, I wrote a few paragraphs of my opinion and experiences, and finally signed up. Fast forward to mid 2018, I got an acceptance email! I was straightly put into group 9, where we had a project with a theme of Community Development. We tried our best working overseas from each other via WhatsApp and email, but it wasn’t good enough. I, personally, counted down the days where we can finally see each other in person!

August 4th came and for the next five days, we had a very packed schedule. We would sleep late and always sleep on the bus or the boat when we have the chance. Even though it was super tiring, my friends and I experienced so many things in so little time. We actually got the chance to go through Ciliwung river, which I think is the biggest river that passes through Jakarta. We actually saw the local people actually burning their trash by the riverside, with kids also playing by the riverside. We rowed through plastic instead of water, and it was really hard getting to the finish point because our boat kept getting stuck due to the amount of plastic that made the river shallower (basically sedimentation of plastic materials. get it?). Afterwards we had hours and hours of panel and parallel classes, which were actually very interesting and informative, and had super cool speakers (but sadly some people were just super tired and decided to close their eyes instead).

We also went island hopping around Kepulauan Seribu, where we (I, to be specific) learned a lot of new things such as an actual eco-friendly resort at Pulau Macan, an almost zero-waste resort management at Pulau Putri, Pulau Harapan that accelerates on waste management by doing Ecobricks and using an incinerator (although I still have mixed feelings about the incinerator), and learned how a tiny, uninhibited island like Pulau Kayu Angin Bira can be filled with so many trash. From the river, to the sea, and we finally made it to land where we visited the Bantargebang Solid Waste Plant. It is southeast Asia’s biggest solid waste landfill, and it is exactly how you thought it would be. Of course, it’s smelly and filthy, and I can’t imagine the health conditions of the communities living nearby. But, what I didn’t know is how it has expanded and developed, both from its use of facilities and technologies, and its awareness. Apparently they also have a composting site which is pretty neat (I used to think Bantargebang is just where people put trash, but it’s so much more than that). We also visited the Waste4Change facility where we also learned about their waste management system and facilities. Since Waste4Change is managing a much smaller scale of waste than Bantargebang, it’s no doubt that the facility is much better than Bantargebang. It was pretty cool seeing the difference between a government-managed waste facility, and a private-managed one.

On our last day, we firstly head to the Ancol Zero Waste facility, where Ancol basically manages their waste before throwing the residue to Bantargebang facility. It’s pretty cool how since 2012, Ancol managed to go styrofoam-free! Imagine if all entertainment parks go styrofoam-free. And sooner or later, they would all go plastic-free. Oh what a joy :) Afterwards, we head to @america and did our action plan presentations!!! My team, group 9 a.k.a Team Trashformers did sort-of well and we’re currently in search for sponsorships and funding (if you have tons of money and love the Philippines please email me and see how you can help in making our action plan come true). After doing our action plan presentation, we head back to the hotel and prepared for our Cultural Night in commemorating  the 51st ASEAN Day!

The celebration was very fun, where we danced around the room, learned new cultures around ASEAN, and the best part… we ate so many different types of food!!!! Thanks to DCA for providing the photo booth for the night, we took some what plenty of pictures! After the celebration was over, some people went to room 20 for a small after-party with fried kwetiau, McDonalds, some drinks and a lot of dancing. I went to bed at 3 am, and woke up at 8 am. Kyra and I hurried towards the hotel restaurant to say our goodbyes and give our hugs to our new friends who had early flights. Five days wasn’t enough to get to know all of them, but we promised each other to keep in touch and hang out whenever we’re in the same city. 

Ending this long post, it is important for us, the younger generation, to learn and observe our environment, while creating innovative solutions toward critical issues. This experience has helped me grow my mind, changed my paradigm and network with important people. Giving huge thanks to YSEALI, DCA and the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta for creating this expedition and letting me be a part of it. Sending hugs and kisses to team Trashformers, Kyra, Kelvin, Aleya, Inzali, Dedy and Kak Nando for being the greatest team mates ever! And it has been the greatest pleasure in meeting all my new friends and acquaintances from around ASEAN. I cannot wait to see the great things you will build, and hope we get to work together in later days.

(T-B: Fertiliser processor at Bantar Gebang; me in my ecosystem segregating trash at Pulau Seribu; making ecobricks)

A series of photographs on Team Trashformers brainstorming

Discussing possible researches and all with Rachael from Rozalia Project while waiting for lunch 

(T-B: Dedy thinking whether to jump in or not ; people implementing their curiosity on the roof that's made out of recycled Tetra Pack!) 

Just some of the sandals we collected 

The night where we spent thinking about our action plan presentation 

Team Mates!

Pictures taken by YSEALI MDE and myself
Edited on Afterlight and Adobe Photoshop


  1. Great post! Loved reading it. It makes me reminisce all our memories in Jakarta! Glad that we had small talks when we were on the bus despite an egg-shape guy in between us. Lmao. See you again soon my friend!

    1. Thanks Misael! Omg haha Psy!!! Egg-shaped guy lol. I'll see you soon, too okay!!!

  2. ITS gonna be better if you put more photos and its description about me. Only suggestion. Great post!!! I wanna upload the same thing on my blog, but since you uploaded first and its good �� then, I don't need to upload it anymore. Probably, only several photos that I think its cute enough to be uploaded.

    Sincerely love,

    Dedy ��

    1. Haha thanks for the suggestion, Dedy. You should post it on your blog tooooooooo!!!!


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