Mark Sultan Gersava comes from a family of farmers. As a child, he saw the dangers of slash-and-burn farming, a practice prevalent in rural Philippines, up close. The pollution it caused; the deforestation it led to. In a country touted as the third-most at-risk from climate change, it simply wasn’t sustainable. In 2017, Gervasa founded Bambuhay, with the aim of providing farms with a sustainable alternative—growing bamboo.
The word Bambuhay is a portmanteau of sorts—combining the Filipino words for bamboo, life, sustainability, and the prosperity of the Philippines. A social enterprise, the company lives up to its name by encouraging farmers to grow bamboo, which it uses to make bamboo products like straws, tumblers, and with the advent of Covid-19, bamboo-frame face-shields.