New Forces for Nature

The National Youth Council (NYC) is now on its fourth batch of compassionate, exceptional leaders, all bright-eyed and steadfast in their campaign towards sustainability and nature conservation.

Being the youth arm of WWF-Philippines, the NYC is on a mission to tap into young people’s environmental consciousness, encouraging them to be proactive in saving the planet. Together, they’ll be spearheading activities leading to the council’s tenth anniversary in 2026.

Get to know Javie, Mirus, Dani, Ron, Shri, Ricky, and Renz: the latest batch of young leaders who are filled to the brim with exciting plans to change the future for the people and the planet.

Javie Barcinal

Hailing from what he describes as “the province where the mountain meets the sea,” 23-year-old Javie Barcinal is a storyteller through and through. A childhood spent in Antique, Panay Island meant he constantly spent his time admiring nature and striving to be one of its protectors.

Now, Javie is a passionate yielder of the power of stories. With a talent for conservation writing and photography, he has amplified the environmental stories of communities through media outlets on both a local and international scale — and with a promising career ahead of him, he’s enthusiastic about telling more.

As the founder and chairperson of Dulungan Youth, Javie strongly believes in the mainstreaming of community-led conservation efforts, especially in making them more inclusive, decentralized, and holistic. “Those who are experiencing the abrupt or the real effects of the climate crisis and biodiversity crisis should not only be heard but should be the ones leading the programs and initiatives in terms of conservation,” he said.

Mirus Ponon

22-year-old development worker Mirus Ponon from Camarines Sur is keen on fostering a long-term commitment with WWF-PH. As a returning member of the National Youth Council, he’s especially excited about upscaling their efforts to reach wider, more diverse communities such as the Indigenous People’s communities.

“[In] everything that we do, the environment is always going to be interconnected in whatever way, shape, or form — whether that’s in school, whether that’s in our future jobs, or current jobs, or regardless of what your aspiration is,” he said. Emphasizing how young people are the biggest stakeholders in biodiversity conservation, Mirus strives to make environmental advocacy an integral part of young people’s lifestyles.

Having also done extensive environmental work through various internships and volunteer efforts, Mirus is a staunch believer in educating the young. “It’s important for everyone to know what we’re facing so no one gets left behind.”

Dani de Leon

Not everyone believes in love at first sight; but as a young girl laying eyes on the butanding for the first time, this was what struck 24-year-old Dani de Leon. What was an instant connection with nature turned into a lifelong drive to protect it. As she grew older, Dani joined marine science conservation efforts and climate action programs, always on the lookout for opportunities to make positive, concrete impacts on the environment.

As a medical student at St. Luke’s College of Medicine, her personal campaigns are centered around the intersection of health and climate, believing that health is an important gateway into the public’s climate and environmental awareness.

“The line [in WWF-PH’s mission] ‘build a future where Filipinos live in harmony with nature’ truly resonates with having people see how interconnected our health is with nature,” shared Dani. “True harmony starts with hearing out individual notes and individual voices to see where these can fit in the sequence.”

Taking on her role as a member of the NYC, Dani strives to be a “true listener” — someone who responds to the plights of the people who confide in her with concrete, tangible action.

“It’s an understatement to say, ‘This is my dream,’” she said. “More than a dream, this is my hope to create the change I’ve always wanted to see.”

Ron Caguliodo

Described as “high-spirited and dynamic,” renewing member Ron Caguliodo, 22, is back at the National Youth Council with a determination to “[initiate] conversations and [build] personal connections.”

Being in numerous environmental organizations in high school taught her a lot about climate change and biodiversity conservation, which she’s continued through her work as Head Volunteer for Kidlikasan. Kabataan. Kalikasan, an environmental youth organization based in General Santos City.

Ron, who is currently taking up BS Agricultural Chemistry at the University of the Philippines - Los Baños, believes in the importance of constantly asking questions — in infiltrating conversations, seeking common ground, chasing after different perspectives, and maintaining an open mind throughout dialogues with her fellow youth.

“I don’t want to be just a bystander with all the issues facing our environment. I want to be part of the movement that involves the youth and taking up space to care for our planet and to protect and conserve our species.”

Shri Macaumbao

Climate activist Shri Macaumbao from Lanao del Sur is headstrong in her mission to restore ecological balance to Lake Lanao. Determined to raise awareness of its rich biodiversity and historical significance, Shri wants to encourage the youth to protect the natural heritage provided to them by the lake, especially among the next generation of Moro people.

Passionate about the craft of storytelling, Shri has done meaningful work in climate journalism and environmental research. She’s also proactive in lobbying for policy changes among local governments and businesses through grassroots efforts, having launched several social enterprises geared towards sustainability at just 21 years old.  

Because of her meaningful work, Shri has reached thousands of stakeholders throughout the BARMM — connections she aims to enhance through her work with WWF-PH. She brings with her the unique experiences of being part of the Moro youth community, providing a new perspective in strategizing environmental solutions.

“One crucial lesson from these experiences is the paramount importance of collective efforts,” she added. “Recognizing the significance of inclusivity, I've learned the value of involving minorities in decision-making processes and co-designing initiatives. Proactive actions and projects have proven effective in translating advocacy into tangible outcomes.”

Ricky Asuncion

22-year-old Ricky Asuncion believes that his love for the environment shouldn’t be enclosed within the four walls of a classroom. A BS Human Ecology student from the University of the Philippines - Los Baños, he puts the pedestal on the “interconnectedness of human wellbeing and the environment,” and he’s especially keen on how this aligns with WWF-PH’s mission to establish harmony between people and nature.

He also wants to encourage his fellow council members to use social technology in strategizing solutions to sustainable development issues, expressing intentions to employ a “bottom-up and holistic approach.”

Ricky is a staunch advocate for inclusivity in environmental efforts, envisioning a future where the youth can access platforms to be involved in sustainability initiatives. “I’m hoping [that] for the following years, we get to have diverse backgrounds of different leaders advocating for the environment,” he said, considering this to be crucial in fostering safe spaces for community collaboration and collective action.

Renz Luyao

The youngest council member among his batchmates at the NYC, 19-year-old Renz Luyao is a dedicated steward for biodiversity conservation, having fostered his environmental advocacies through his STEM education as a senior high school student in Zamboanga del Norte.

A creative soul at heart, Renz is keen on using multimedia storytelling design to spread scientific knowledge through a human-centered approach. Asked what motivated him to join the National Youth Council, he said, “This platform is an opportunity to protect biodiversity, our collective home. I am eager to explore the human dimensions of environmentalism, revealing the interconnectedness of our actions.”

He considers himself to be a self-disciplined, efficient, and productive worker, ever-anchored in his goal to contribute positively to society and the environment.

“I sincerely hope that the young generation will see their value in fighting for their environmental advocacy,” he added. “And for them to know that every small action they make can lead to bigger impacts. Padayon tayo.”