The Project V360: Vegan Noche Buena and Ride for Life

Christmas Day is just a few hours away, and TessDrive was at the Reading Club 2000 in Makati City. Cyclists gathered here to devote some of their time and resources to contribute books to the Reading Club 2000, a house converted into a public library by its owner Nanie Guanlao. TessDrive is also handing over reading materials for kids so they would be encouraged to care for all animals.

Christmas is all about the spirit of giving. Many of us think Christmas is for kids, because this season honors the birth of Christ. But here’s food for thought: When Christ was born, who was with him in the manger aside from his parents Mary and Joseph? Here’s a clue, they’re also depicted in the Belen or the Nativity scene.

Of course, these were the farm animals, an ox or cow, sheep and donkey, who were silent witnesses to the most important event in Christianity. So, Christmas is very much for and about the creatures we share this planet with. And it’s certainly not about eating them, but about co-existing and being great stewards for all voiceless and helpless creatures.

As Christmas draws nearer, the Project V360 went on a tour of giving, starting with the giving of free reading materials for animal compassion. Then we went on to giving free Noche Buena–delicious, filling, and meat-free dishes–to the cyclists, and they feasted on food not made from animal products whatsoever, and that meant that no creature was harmed nor killed in the creation of these dishes.

Ultimately, all of us here gave the gift of life and love to all sentient beings by way of the food we ate. And that is the greatest gift of all.

The Project V360 Vegan Noche Buena and Ride for Life Bicycle Tour of Metro Manila continues the groundbreaking strides that began with the Project V360: The Vegan Bicycle Tour early in 2019, and the Project V360 Heroes and Heritage Bicycle Tour last August 26, wherein cyclists pedaled a total of 500 kms for five days in central and northern Luzon, and in key historical sites in Metro Manila fueled only by plant-based food and snacks.

For this Christmas edition of the Project V360 Series, we took 50 bike enthusiasts from all walks of life on a night tour of the cities of Makati, San Juan, and Quezon to three of Metro Manila’s thriving vegan restaurants, for a Noche Buena-themed “food crawl”. The tour served as a reminder for all Filipinos to celebrate Christmas in the most compassionate way possible–to take cruel slaughter off their Holiday plates by partaking only of plant-based dishes.

We first visited Greenery Kitchen along Pascua Street in Makati, then to Agico Restaurant in Greenhills, San Juan, where we were served the restaurant’s vegan specialties, and finally we capped the tour with a midnight snack of sorts at Indulge Vegan Pizzeria along Malingap Street in Quezon City.

The cyclists were unanimous in saying that the 100% plant-based dishes they partook tasted as good, if not more delicious, than their meat-based counterparts.

Isabel Co, owner of Agico, shared that her family started Agico in 1981, when they realized that the plant-based diet and lifestyle was truly the healthiest option. Since then, she and her family have never looked back.

“It has become my mission to encourage more people to become vegan,” she enthused.

Diane Ginete Mejilla, co-owner of Indulge Vegan Pizzeria, explained that she and her boyfriend—Rence Montales Organo II—started the restaurant in 2017 because none of the restaurants that they went to offered vegan pizza options.

“Before we went vegan, we loved pizza. So we decided that, if we can’t find vegan versions of the pizzas that we used to love, why not make our own? We believe that we don’t have to harm animals in order to eat delicious food or thrive in any other aspects of life,” Diane stressed.

Project V360 also aimed to show that bike commuting is a safe, viable, and fun means of transport in and around the cities, and that road conditions for both bike commuters and fellow motorists can be improved if both parties embrace the concept of road sharing and proper road discipline.

Our society can lead a kinder, more compassionate existence not only for fellow human beings but for all the other creatures that humans share this planet with. And ordinary citizens can start propagating compassion and kindness with the dietary choices they make. The less demand there is for meat (pork, beef, poultry, water creatures, and other animal byproducts such as dairy, leather, feathers, and the like), the less number of animals would suffer. This Project V360 Tour series has been a ride for compassion at its core, allowing participants to gain the benefits and enjoyment of cycling in a group, while enjoying great-tasting food prepared by vegan chefs, realizing the Project V360 motto that “no animals need to suffer for us to live to the fullest”.

This Christmas, and for all time, “Give the gift of life for all animals! Go meatless!”