By Justin Pagotto Trips+ Founder and Social Entrepreneur
As a social entrepreneur, I am consumed by the power of business to quite literally transform our world.
My co-founder Kuya Mario Potestades grew up in poverty on the land in Infanta, Quezon Philippines.
By the way, kuya means older brother in Tagalog the Filipino national language and is a sign of respect.
Mario came to Australia in 1990 and built a new life for himself but his passion for his country burned in his heart. He invited me to come and equip Filipino leaders and it was a trip where I fell in love with the Philippines and the people. Little did I know it would change the course of my life.
We noticed a big problem that became our WHY for starting Trips+. Due to lack of finance and opportunities many Filipino’s are forced to leave their families and support networks to find work in Manila, Cebu or Clark. Or the 11million OFW’s (Overseas Foreign Workers) who leave the country to work and send support back.
What broke my heart was the fracturing of families where many children grow up not seeing their fathers and mothers for months and sometimes years at a time. We resolved to be part of a solution by providing economic opportunities to graduates in the provinces as tour guides, web designers and marketing.
Impact tourism or what we call going on a holidays with purpose is the vehicle that empowers our why. Trips+ combines the stunning beauty of the Philippines with the ability to volunteer in local Filipino communities. Impact tourism is the fastest growing segment in the holiday market as people want to “travel like a local” not a tourist and experience the joy of giving back.
The end result- A life changing experience and authentic cultural immersion that you will remember for years to come.
Krizzia, an amazingly creative team member from Daet, produced a Comic Strip to tell our story.