WHEN you gaze at the Sierra Madre, you are admiring the longest mountain range in the Philippines. Spanning almost 500 kilometers in length and including 10 provinces in three regions in Luzon, it is home and a primary source of life to a large number of wildlife species and human communities. But what you don't see, under its seemingly serene beauty, is nature's power to sustain and protect — and how taking this power for granted can result in terrible consequences.

Sierra Madre's forests provide fresh water to residents of Metro Manila, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Quirino, Aurora, Quezon, Rizal, Laguna and Bulacan. Sierra Madre also stabilizes the water flow and soil to prevent typhoon-related calamities. Moreover, its terrain provides a buffer to Central Luzon and its densely populated cities, slowing down and often taking the brunt of typhoons. Just like a doting mother, Sierra Madre gives sustenance and protects her children.

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