AMONG the seven sub-tribes of the Mangyans, the Alangan is a small community of indigenous people (IP) who try in their simple ways to protect the forest, their ancestral land. They reside in Sitio Pandurocan, Barangay Pag-asa in the municipality of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. Near the community is the Pandurocan Falls, which is frequently visited by locals to bath in the cold water.
It is also where the Mindoro Pine Forest is located, dubbed as the little Baguio in Mindoro because of its cold temperature.
Amidst the beauty of the place is the threat to the forest and biodiversity. Many years ago, food was abundant in the forest but nowadays it is hard for them to catch wild pigs and fish for they are vanishing rapidly because of massive hunting and fishing. After their Ancestral Domain was granted through the issuance of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT), they are now trying to protect and restore the lands they inherited from their forefathers.
Through the rainforestation strategy initiated by Haribon Foundation in Sablayan, the Alangan used an approach to restore their forest within their ancestral land as close to its original state. Assited by Haribon and funded by Value Frontier, an organization based in Japan, they restored 1 hectare of forest and will maintain the restoration site within the next three years. In the process, the community will benefit during the planting and maintenance activities. In the long term, they will also reap the rewards of forest services such as clean air and water, protection from flooding and soil erosion, food, water for irrigation, among many other tangible and intangible forest benefits.
On March 25, the IP community established a growth chamber for native trees using indigenous materials. They used small bamboo poles as frame, vines as tie and “pakil” (a species of banana with plenty of seeds) as shade. The chamber housed about 1,300 wildlings of Malugai, Lauan, Amoguis, Malak-malak and Putat, which was enough to be planted in the one hectare area of 2 meters by 4 meters interval. In two months, the growth chamber was opened, the wildlings sustained hardening, and the planting started on June 2015 which is also the start of the rainy season and is the perfect time for transplanting the wildings for higher rate of survival.
Based on the Alangan tribe’s culture and tradition, they want to restore the integrity of the forest by replanting native trees that naturally thrives in the area. They are hopeful that the areas within their ancestral land will be rightfully protected and designated as important “life resources” for the tribe always considers land as life that should be handed down to their sons and daughters and the generations to come.