Cebu Pacific Air's Solar System Donation Lights Up Remote Villages

By Mallika Naguran

The Philippines largest national flag carrier, Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) is known to be a successful low-cost carrier in the Asia-Pacific region. What may not readily ring a bell is that the carrier is also busy with non-flight activities, to make a positive difference to society and the environment.

Home solar systems are highly portable, great for remote areas

Take ‘Ride for Light 2011’, for instance. The airlines, upon realising that at least 20 million Filipinos live without electricity, decided to take action. CEB partnered with the Solar Energy Foundation for this 6,600-kilometer motorcycle adventure ride across the entire Philippine archipelago in April, seeking to conduct social and ecological missions in approximately 40 remote communities. This also includes donating to each village a Portable Solar Home System that will ensure villagers a sustainable supply of electricity.

Light Riders were Philippe Saubier (Solar Ambassador of the Solar Energy Foundation), Ibba Rasul Bernardo and Antonio Villaneuva, each bike enthusiasts and keen volunteers. CEB was not only an official corporate partner for this event, but the official airline as well.

Apart from community service, CEB also devotes itself to other causes through its corporate social responsibility programs. These would include relief operations, the environment and education. Organisations supported include WWF for Bright Skies for every Juan, World Vision, GMA Kapuso Foundation, Gawad Kalinga and The Jesuit VolunteersPhilippines Foundation, Inc. CEB’s partnership with the WWF for Bright Skies for every Juanprovides passengers a chance to contribute to climate adaptation efforts through CEB’s online booking system via


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With World Vision, CEB brings child sponsors to Roxas for the World Vision-Cebu Pacific Lakbay Pag-Asa Project. World Vision initiated the project with CEB to give the sponsors a chance to meet and bond with their sponsored children. Some of these sponsors have been supporting these children for the past five years, but Lakbay Pag-Asa provided the opportunity for these connected people to meet each other for the first time.

With these community services, CEB is doing well by going beyond its offering of “low fare, great value”, even winning numerous awards by travel institutions and groups. CEB is also the first local airline to introduce e-ticketing, prepaid excess baggage and seat selection in the Philippines and it operates a 100 percent brand-new fleet with 24 Airbus (10 A319 and 14 A320) and 8 ATR 72-500 aircraft.

In addition to domestic routes, CEB launched its international operations on November 2001 and now flies to Bangkok, Busan, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei. It surpassed the 1 million passengers per month mark for both April and May this year.

About the Solar Energy Foundation

Stiftung-Solarenergie Solar Energy Foundation established the International Solar Energy School in the village of Rema in Ethiopia in 2007. This school trains electrical engineers in the design, application and management of solar technologies. This program, unique in Africa, aims to give participants the tools to support the growth of solar villages, effectively building a renewable energy economy from the ground up.

The Solar Energy Foundation now hopes to replicate and expand this work in the Philippines. Our objective is to facilitate the country’s transition to clean, renewable and sustainable energy by investing in innovative technologies and by investing in its people.