As vacationers enjoy the hottest beaches or coolest mountain destinations, the oldest nature conservation group in the country is offering a tour package of a different kind.
On May 27, participants will be taken to San Pablo, Laguna where they will take a dip in Sungwan Springs and ride bamboo rafts in Pandin Lake, one of the seven lakes found in one of the oldest towns of Laguna province.
But more is in store for travelers as they get their feet wet in conservation work.
“Haribon Travel to San Pablo, is an immersion trip in our partner forest community,” said Lounelle Godinez, Haribon’s Training Specialist. “It is an opportunity for everybody to get closer to nature and experience tree nursery activities while having fun and delighting over local delicacies.”
San Pablo sits on the foothills of Mount San Cristobal where Haribon continues its efforts to bring back forests via rainforestation technology, or using native rainforest trees adapted to tropical climates. This way, the newly-planted forests will have a better chance at survival, and are best suited for ecological services that sustain water supply, and abate human-induced climate change.
The one-day excursion includes round trip van transfers, lunch and snacks, entrance and environmental fees, and even one-year Haribon membership for non-members.
Participants will meet farmers and families of the San Cristobal Farmer’s Association who take part in weekly native seedlings nursery activities. Their efforts, combined with donations from Haribon’s Adopt-a-Seedling program, are part of a grander movement to restore the country’s forests called Rainforestation Organizations and Advocates or ROAD to 2020.
To register, simply visit Haribon’s Facebook page fb.com/goharibon and sign up via the main event page or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The first 10 paid participants will receive a free stainless steel straw from Go Zero.
If more people partake in conservation work, protection of communities and the return of local forests might just bring back Philippine Eagles in the area; the last sighting of them on nearby Mt. Banahaw was last recorded in 1989. But this cannot be successful without the support of the general public, including vacationers looking for a different kind of souvenir to take with them, and leave behind.
Godinez added, “Understanding the conservation work is best when you’re contributing to it firsthand.”
ALBERT BALBUTIN/HARIBON FOUNDATION