Excitement rushing in our veins, I, along with my team from Globe Telecom, was more than ready for Haribon Foundation’s tree nurturing activity. We all agreed to wear the sportiest outfits with matching rubber shoes, and an extra shirt just in case.
Driving farther away from the bustling city, the sceneries became greener and the air got fresher until finally, we arrived at our destination: the Buhay Punlaan.
Only a three-hour drive from Manila, Buhay Punlaan is Haribon’s two-hectare nursery of native trees. Located at the Caliraya Watershed in Lumban, Laguna, it was built as a response to the native tree seedlings shortage in the country.
During the four-minute trek down the slope, the mud began to feel a little bit softer. The smell of lush foliage happily assaulted our senses. After reaching a medium-sized hut, the orientation started with a prayer and lesson on the importance of biodiversity and the ecological services it provides.
We learned that biodiversity is defined as the variability of all living things in nature and how they operate in general. The services they provide contribute to the natural cycles that help make our planet habitable to humans and contribute to our way of life in many ways such as providing food, water, shelter, pharmaceuticals, and helping mitigate the effects of climate change such as drought, floods and unbearable hot weather. For these reasons alone, if we want to continue benefiting from the wealth of these natural goods and services, the bio¬diversity that establishes them must be saved and maintained for long-term.
The facilitator, Razel Ripalda, a forester from Haribon, gave us a rundown on how we could bring life to one of earth’s important living organism—the trees.
We started with soil bagging and potting wherein we mixed the soil properly by filtering and removing the rocks then blended it with rice hull.
Afterward we placed the mixed soil evenly inside the polyethy¬lene bag then proceeded to collect small wildlings and transplanted them in the bag. Later on, Ripalda guided us to an area wherein there’s a line of native wild¬lings to be planted. Assuming a few years have passed; the group was instructed to prune the seedlings, water, and remove them from their bags so we can plant them on the ground.
To sustain and nurture their growth, the seedlings will be maintained and cared for by Haribon’s partner communities and People’s Organizations (POs) for three years. This is another way of the foundation to ensure its highest survival rate while augmenting the livelihood of the partner communities.
The field activity concluded with an insightful recap and how our groups felt and what we learned. Just a few meters away from the nursery, we reached a native hut called the Caliraya Sunshine Canteen that has a beautiful view of the Caliraya lake. Here, they served our team with traditional Filipino fare. It was a wonderful and relaxing way to end the day’s event.
As we walked back up in our respective vans, though feet were slightly sore, we still managed to savor the moment with loud laughter.
Haribon has provided our group with a safe and healthy activity surrounded in a beautiful space that will be the source of healthy native tree seedlings for years to come. This experience will truly be cherished for a lifetime.
* * *
Act. Make an Impact. Support Haribon. To join Haribon’s Adopt-A-Seedling, Nurture-A-Seedling programs, and Tree Planting Activities, call 421-1209 and/or email email@example.com to make a donation today!