Those who have been to Manila know how polluted the Pasig River is — it literally stinks — but that did not stop Filipino-American Youtuber Wil Dasovich from taking a dip in it.
Yesterday, Dasovich posted a vlog on his Facebook page of him teasing his friends from the United States by convincing them to swim in the heavily polluted river with some children.
Dasovich says in the video that it’s his friends’ first time in Asia and that they wanted to immerse themselves in Filipino culture. He joked that for him, this meant swimming where the people swim.
However, he didn’t think his friends would actually do it — and they had a pretty good time too.
“The smell, it reeks,” he said in Filipino after taking the plunge. “It’s funny because the foreigners (my friends), they don’t notice how foul smelling it is, or the pollution, they’re just having fun.”
The video also shows onlookers who were curious as to why Dasovich and his friends were swimming the biologically dead river.
“As cruel of a prank that it was, they didn’t seem to mind much. Distracted by the laughter of the kids, and all the commotion and crowds around, they really were just able to enjoy the moment and mingle with the locals,” he said.
Towards the end of the video, Dasovich took a more somber tone and recalled how Pasig River used to be a “glorious thing, like a natural water park that flowed to the middle of Manila.”
He shared that one of the major issues in the country is human impact.
“It can become that again if we all just do our part. One of the biggest issues in the Philippines is definitely its human impact on the environment,” he said. “And it’s really easy to blame the government or private sectors, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to us — you, me. And without discipline, there won’t be progress.”
“At the end of the day, I think it’s really just about being mindful. That’s the simplest thing we can do as individuals.”
Dasovich shared that people who wanted to take more action can reach out to NGOs such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Save Palawan Seas Foundation (SPSF).
“Sometimes, you just gotta do ridiculous things to grab attention. Having said that, I actually did get sick the next day after swimming in the Pasig River. Was it a coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. But fortunately, my two friends did not get sick.”
“I wouldn’t recommend swimming in the Pasig River,” he ended.
Dasovich’s followers reacted positively to the video, one even saying that he loves that the vlogger is using his influence for a good cause.
Aaron DeTommaso said: “I love the fact that you are using your influence and reach for such an important advocacy being the environment, not only that but this vlog is educational and entertaining at the same time. I completely champion what you said about being mindful, it’s incredible how far a small mustard seed of mindfulness can go.”
Brian TV said that Dasovich vlogs “with a purpose.”
A user by the name Fishing Buddy 360 said it was a “good way to remind Pinoys that they have the power and the ability to make this river clean again.”
Pasig River dumps over 63,700 tons of plastic every year into the ocean, according to GMA News. The 25-kilometer long river starts from the Laguna de Bay then flows into the Manila Bay. It used to be an important transport route before it was damaged by pollution.