To commemorate World Vegan Month, Vegans of Manila and Manila Vegans have come together to launch the Philippines’ first vegan festival called VegFest Pilipinas on November 12 and 13, 2016 at Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City.

VegFest Pilipinas aims to spread awareness that veganism is more than just a diet that is free from any animal products such as farm meats, fish and other sea animals, as well as animal by-products like dairy, eggs and honey — that it is a lifestyle that has tons of benefits to the body, the planet, and the animals. 

Through the activities that are lined up, VegFest Pilipinas aims to show the Filipinos that going vegan is fun, easy, and relevant.

Celebrating veganism

This year, VegFest Pilipinas highlights empowerment, awareness, and compassion for the environment as one of the many positive and direct effects of adapting a vegan diet and lifestyle. As climate change continues to worsen, the festival encourages the public to do their own share in saving and protecting the planet.

VegFest Pilipinas will kick off at 6 a.m. on Saturday, November 12, 2016, with the start of the Gu Pru Fun Run, where vegans and non-vegans will run 1k, 3k, or 5k at Eastwood Central Plaza. The festival will also feature a wide variety of vegan food, live music, talks, workshops, and vegan-friendly vendors selling bags, shoes, household cleaners, and other projects. It is open to the public with free entrance.

Jaq Abergas, who has been vegan for four years, explains that a change from animal-based lifestyle to plant-based makes a big difference.

“A small change in our lifestyle makes a world of difference to our planet, to our body, and to our animal friends,” Abergas said.

What’s in store for people

The festival will be showcasing local independent vegan businesses that sell food, clothes, shoes, bags, and even hotel accommodations. In addition, people will also get a chance to join other activities, such as fitness classes in VegMoves, cooking, and baking workshops, talks and discussions on veganism and compassionate living on VegTalks, plus so much more!

Kapuso actor Rafael Rosell, who has been vegan for about two years, came to the realization that he no longer wanted to harm anyone or anything for the benefit of his own appetite.

“I tried it out for a week and my whole body and mind took a whole different turn in an awesome new direction,” Rosell said when asked about how his journey to a vegan lifestyle began.

“More energy, enhanced libido, and clearer thinking. I never had to take any supplements, be it vitamins or pharmaceuticals,” he added.

Catch celebrity and surfer Rafael Rosell at the opening of VegFest on Saturday at 9:00 a.m.

Attending the weekend vegan festival will give you an insight on how a vegan lifestyle affects one’s overall health and wellness.

Lifestyle medicine specialist Dr. Johann Kim Mañez shared results from Adventist Health Studies.

“Those who were vegans lived longer than any other groups and had significantly less chronic diseases. They were living their best life ever, without worries of insulin injections, pills, dialysis, or surgeries. It’s not just about longevity anymore. It’s about adding happiness to those extra years and enjoying life to the full, every moment of everyday!”

A vegan since early 2011, Dr. Mañez stresses that one can be vegan and still be very unhealthy.

“Optimal health is about consistently living and eating healthy… Many doctors would even advise against going vegan! (I) do not blame them because we were never taught much nutrition in medical school… We were trained to pass the role of advising nutrition to the nutritionists,” Mañez said.

“When my patients ask me about sources of protein and if they should worry about getting enough of it, I simply point them to the humble water buffalo (that just eats grass). Where do they think the carabao gets all its protein to get big and muscular and strong?

Mañez said there are hundreds, if not thousands, of bodybuilders worldwide who get their protein from purely plant sources.

“The only real deficiency anyone has to be worried about when going on a whole plant-based food (WPBF) diet is vitamin B-12, but that’s easy. Just pop a vegan vitamin B-12 supplement every other day and you’re good to go,” he added.

Help the animals, help the Earth

A 2014 report released by the United Nations said that large scale agriculture was the number one cause of deforestation, water and air pollution, and monoculture saturation, which is done in order to supply pastureland and grow crops for farmed animals. As a result, the animals and the manure that they produce release even more greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere.

To help achieve the goals of VegFest Pilipinas, 20% of the proceeds will go to two beneficiaries: CARA Welfare Philippines, a non-profit animal rescue group that rescues, rehabilitates, and re-homes cats and dogs in need through adoption, as well as Science of Identity Foundation (SIFCare), a humanitarian organization working towards the development of enlightened, happy individuals and communities through environmental programs.

It’s for everybody

Abergas invites everyone to join the festival and discover more about veganism.

“VegFest Pilipinas is for the moms who want to make healthy and conscious choices for their family. This is for the working and studying millenials who want to make an active change in their routines but don’t know where to start. This is for the foodies who want to explore meat-free and dairy-free offerings. This is for the animal lovers and tree huggers. This is for everyone who wants to make a difference,” she says.

To know more about VegFest Pilipinas 2016 and to stay up to date with other activities, visit their website at or visit their Facebook page at