• Haribon volunteers plant future forests on Mt. Cristobal

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    The Haribon Foundation, through its Road to 2020 campaign, carried out its year-end tree planting activity in Mount Cristobal in Nagcarlan, Laguna on December 10.

    Haribon’s Road to 2020 campaign aims to restore the Philippine forests using native trees.

    Led by forester and Road to 2020 Coordinator Thaddeus Martinez, 38 volunteers from BUVFAI, and donors from UGEC, Philweb, Dusit Thani, and others 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 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.

    However, it was a challenge for everyone to ascend the terrain, with some volunteers unfortunately having 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 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.

    Volunteer Lei Pedrosa lamented 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 up 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 had a unique story to share. They came from different places and they wanted to plant trees for different reasons. But at the end of the day, a day’s work contributed to a greater good—to help protect, preserve and save our ailing Mother Earth.

    JAMES ALDRIN V. CONCEPCION/HARIBON FOUNDATION

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