Pinoy volleyball champ rallies youth to become climate champions

Volleyball superstar Bryan Bagunas has partnered with the Climate Change Commission to promote sustainable lifestyle choices and practices, especially among the youth. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BRYAN BAGUNAS

To heighten awareness of climate change issues among the youth, the Climate Change Commission has collaborated with Bryan Berroya Bagunas, the first Filipino professional volleyball player to earn a Most Valuable Player award outside the country.

Hailing from Balayan, Batangas, Bagunas currently plays as an import for Taichung’s Win Streak in Taiwan. His remarkable 42 points during a game led the team to dethrone the seven-time champion, the Pingtung Taipower.

Bagunas began his career with the National University Bulldogs, securing back-to-back championship victories in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Men’s Volleyball League for Seasons 80 and 81.

Post-UAAP, Bagunas gained recognition in the regional volleyball arena as a key player for the Philippine Men’s Volleyball Team in the Southeast Asian Games 2017 and 2019, achieving a historic silver medal finish for the country since its last podium finish back in 2005.

In mid-2019, he attracted international scouts, signing up with Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler in Japan. Later, Bagunas joined the Win Streak in August 2022, earning the MVP award for Taiwan’s Top Volleyball League Season 22-23, playing as Taichung  Win Streak’s outside hitter.

A climate champion in the making
Beyond volleyball, the 6-foot-5 outside hitter passionately addresses climate change. Having witnessed and experienced many disastrous typhoons in the Philippines, Bagunas emphasizes the urgent need to address improper waste management. This commitment anchors his venture as a climate change champion.

The collaboration between Bagunas and the CCC highlights the Philippines’ vulnerability to climate change. Between 2011 and 2021, the country suffered losses and damages totaling P673.30 billion due to tropical cyclones alone — 27 percent larger than the 2023 budget for social work (P197 billion) and public health (P296.3 billion) combined.

Knowing this, Bagunas hopes to inspire Filipinos, especially the youth, to help address the effects of climate change. The volleyball star envisions a green, clean and sustainable future that the next generations of Filipinos can enjoy and sustain.

“Nasa edad na ako para magkapamilya at gusto ko na ang mga magiging anak ko at mga future generations ay maranasan na mabuhay sa isang fresh at malinis na mundo” (I’m of age to have a family and I would like my children and future generations to experience a fresh, clean world), Bagunas said during an interview with CCC. “Gusto ko rin na sila [future generations] ay maging responsable sa pangangalaga sa kalikasan” (I’d like future generations to also be responsible in taking care of nature).

Inspired by the eco-friendly practices he observed from the countries where he played, Bagunas centers his advocacy on waste management and sustainable lifestyle, highlighting the 4Rs in addressing climate change — Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 31.40 million Filipino youth are more than willing to adopt a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. Bagunas, together with the CCC, hopes to ramp this up even higher by reaching out more to the youth.

Through the collaboration, the volleyball player urges all Filipino youth, athletes and the public to proactively participate in climate efforts, rallying together with the Climate Change Commission to ensure a green and sustainable future.