By James Aldrin V. Concepcion, Haribon Communications Intern
Haribon Foundation, through its Road to 2020 campaign, carried out its year-end tree planting activity in Mount Cristobal in Nagcarlan, Laguna on 10 December 2016.
Led by forester and Road to 2020 Coordinator Thaddeus Martinez, 38 volunteers from BUVFAI, donors from UGEC, Philweb, and Dusit Thani, among others have joined the planting of 700 native tree seedlings on the mountain site. These include Palak-palak, Manangkalaw, Malatubig, Malagasaha, Malauban, Tibig, Narra, Hauli, Balanti, Pusupusuan, Ipil, and Kamagong.
The groups gathered at 7AM in San Pablo Laguna and then set off to Nagcarlan for an hour drive. The activity at the site began with a simple orientation conducted by Martinez and the Nagcarlan-LGU.
By 9:15am, the groups have started their trek consisting of damp paths, slippery and mossy rocks and boulders, and plentiful plants enshrouding the areas. It was quite a beautiful sight to behold while trekking upward, seeing the mountain ranges as well as the peak. The fresh air and cool breeze and the tall trees that covered the paths, helped everyone to stay refreshed and relaxed while climbing.
However, it was quite a challenge for everyone to ascend the terrain and some volunteers admitted they are first-timers while a few others had to discontinue the trail due to the difficulty of the trek. With the guidance and support of BUVFAI, everyone was nonetheless unharmed, even those who have descended early.
Upon arriving at the planting site, reaching about 900 meters above sea level, Martinez demonstrated the proper way to plant seedlings, and the groups of volunteers were assigned to individual strips of land.
Despite the somewhat exhausting venture, the sense of fulfillment and joy on the volunteers’ faces were made manifest. Everyone enjoyed the activity especially the meaningful endeavor of planting trees. And most of all, their experience to be one with the earth made them appreciate all the more the beauty of nature, and realized how they can contribute to preserve its life and grandeur.
Volunteer Lei Pedrosa laments that while planting trees is rather easy, it is confounding that our forests continue to disappear. “Madali naman pala magtanim, kaya nakapagtataka kung bakit nauubos ang kagubatan natin.” (Planting trees isn’t so hard so it makes me wonder why we continue to lose our forests.) He also stated that it is mainly due to human activity, and emphasized the importance of self-discipline as key to helping preserve the forests.
Krizine Jacon, on the other hand, recalls how the forest fondly reminds her of her homeland. “Laking probinsya ako, kaya normal na sa amin ang mga puno. Ngayon nakatira ako sa siyudad na walang puno, kaya nalulungkot ako kasi kapag mainit ang panahon, ang naiisip ko na sana marami ang puno.” (I grew in the province so it’s typical for me to see trees around. Now that I am living in the city, I am saddened that there are few trees especially during the summer.)
“I joined because I care about the environment. I live here in the Philippines and this is one of my opportunities to give back to the country,” enthused David Middletich, who came from a foreign country.
Each participant has a unique story to share. They come from different places and they wanted to plant trees for different reasons. But at the end of the day, all a day’s work contribute to a greater good – to help protect, preserve and save our ailing Mother Earth.
It’s time. Plant trees today.
Haribon’s Road to 2020 campaign aims to restore the Philippine forests using native trees.
James Aldrin V. Concepcion is a Communications intern at Haribon Foundation. He joined Haribon’s year-end tree planting activity in Nagcarlan, Laguna on 10 December 2016.