Written and based on an experience of MS. DOREEN JOY DURANO BAUYA
When I got the chance to avail the Philippine Airlines Promo travel to Manila for a week, I instantly grabbed it without second thoughts. I immediately bought and reserved my ticket… but I only allowed myself for a 4-day travel. So I texted and emailed my friend about my soon travel and I’m so grateful for her kind response and that she would be taking charge of me there and for the rest of my weekend “lamyerda”. I’m thankful also to my boss for allowing me to be out in the office for a couple of days.
Whenever I have travel I’m always very curious of the environment. Well I just can’t help myself because I simply love our Mother Earth. From Davao Airport to Ninoy Aquino International Airport, I’ve checked around the area, oh thanks God I saw some green trees… because I feel worried and sad if I can’t see green trees around and keep asking myself, do people really care Mother Nature? Are they sensitive about what’s happening around? And while on the plane I kept my eyes busy looking at the clouds and below and I was a bit surprised or shocked, coz I didn’t feel the super coldness inside, but I felt a bit hot, oh gosh!, it just showed that our planet earth is getting bad now, climate change is really here, hmmp!
Upon arrival, I proceeded to Cultural Center of the Philippines where my friend work there and waited for me. Of course I was so excited to see my friend and some of other bunch of friends because it took us years or many years before seeing each other again. Wow, as I walked inside the CCP I was so amazed of the beautiful structures, designs and artworks... well, in all fairness thanks to Madam Imelda Romualdez Marcos because this center has been a big help for the artists at heart, she just wanted to show to the world what the Filipino talents have. CCP is the home of many artists and performers from literary, musical, visual and theater arts. It is bringing the arts and culture from regions to the center, where we Filipinos have our own unique different tribes to showcase and to be proud of around the world. I had my late welcome sumptuous dinner from my two good friends at Haf Chang, just around the vicinity of Harbor Square and hmmm, I savour the enticing oriental specialties of Chinese Food. Around CCP Complex you can have a glimpse to Aliw Theatre, Manila Broadcasting Corp, Star City, Coconut Palace, Manila Film Center, to name a few…
Here comes Manila, the country’s capital – where we can get the taste of everything the rest of the country has to offer, know or revitalized the local heritage through many cultural centers and museums, engage in recreational activities of all forms and from family fun centers for kids and parents and other stuffs. I only had a light travel tour with my two good friends because of my limited time. When visiting Manila, I love to have a walk at the Luneta Park – one of Asia’s loveliest parks, on late afternoon till evening because of its green trees that are still there present to give shades and feel us comfy. In Baywalk or in Harbor Square is greatly so comfortable to walk or jog in the morning and in the evening catch the sunset and dine in one of the many restaurants dotting around. Then my two friends took me to Intramuros and so happy because I visited the place once again which I really love and more reasons are adding to revisit this walled city which it has many stories to tell within its walls. It has now been transformed to a trendy party spot with dungeons converted to bars, cafes, fine dining restaurants and a rave discos. It is also reconstructed as an open-air park and performance venue and a good blend of modern and olden days. But I hope that our government officials will take good care of Intramuros because it’s already part of us Filipinos. There also the churches of an old colonial Spanish-era the Manila Cathedral and San Agustine Church. We dropped by Wow Philippines and it was just a right timing we bumped into an exhibit on Passion de Jesus Cuaresma were almost of the Saints in the Holy Bible were displayed. Next stop, I went to Manila Ocean Park, oh oh I saw face to face some huge sharks there and big fishes, wow! The park is just a man-made wide aquarium to feel and satisfy us, thinking all the while that we were in a real ocean playing or watching colorful fishes and corals. But for me someday I want to go, to see and to experience the real beauty of underwater sceneries and dive it all the way and be with millions of fishes playing hide and seek on their host table coral and the rich colorful coral reefs.
On the following day, we passed by the old Santa Cruz Church and went directly to Ongpin in Binondo and visited the well-known Chinese Store “Salazar” and bought some pasalubong and dropped by at SM City. I also witnessed the 1st Philippine Pyro-Musical or fire walks display at Mall of Asia and it was so beautiful, colorful and with lots of different designs, making people around shouting and clapping. And when it’s already end, I had my pasta dinner at Lourd Stow inside the mall, it’s so creamy and yummy and there’s a lot of green mixtures on my pasta, wooh!
My last day lamyerda, was a long travel to Tagaytay City in Batangas, at 2,250ft above sea level, has a cooler climate than the Metropolis and offers a panoramic view of Taal Volcano which considered the smallest volcano in the world. A hot, dusty breeze swept through my face which reduced my eyes to were slits as I looked out from the window of our moving car, kept me busy and I guess if your new on this place you will never feel tiredness. On the way to ridge, drive a picturesque countryside, tress around, there are a number of restaurant side by side that could feed up your hungry stomach - refreshments and coffee shops, breakfast, lunch and dinner served at the ridge top lodge overlooking the lake and volcano. We dropped by at Ilog Maria Honeybee Farms were they sell natural health soaps, shampoos, bath and skin products. When I’m at the farm I feel that I’m in Tibolo, surrounded with many growing trees, coconuts, bamboos, plants etc… and of course the company of bees, hmm, yummy! Our next destinations are the Bahay Pastulan-Good Shepherd Sisters Convent, for awhile we rested in the cottage, took some pictures and inhale the fresh air. Here, you can buy the best ube jam from the sisters, tawilis (bulad) in the bottle, this fish catches by the fishermen along Taal Lake and vegetable salad which I love the taste so much. And we go to Tierra de Maria- Mary Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth (Home of Meditation and Enrichment), this is a place of small chapel were you can offer all your prayers whether it will be a request, thank you or sorry, just feel free to kneel down and talk to God. Healing priests like Fr. Suarez and Fr. Farraon have their different schedules of healing here and I’m sad because during my visit they have no schedule for healing. Tagaytay is a good venue for reflection, meditating, soul searching, relaxing and anything that you want to do. The place also provides you exclusiveness and privacy together with your family and love ones. Left and right, there are many different convents, monastery, and seminar houses of priests, nuns and brothers. Had a lunch at Leslie’s Restaurant, overlooking the Taal Volcano serving “sariling atin” and it tasted so good, go pinoy. Before going home we dropped by in one of the Tagaytay’s market or palengke, oh my… what a disciplined market vendors too, the area were so arranged “dili ka masaag-saag” and so clean.
My short summer weekend lamyerda was a weeklong vacation. It was full of wonderful memories, joy, fun and excitement. I saw beautiful sights, superb dining and the most important experience was that it was wrapped with the genuine love of continues friendship that flourished even better. And of course I’m happy because everyday when I’m out, I could still able to see trees around in different places of Manila though there are only few but at least there are people who take good care of our Mother Earth and continue fighting for it. I just hope that the next generation will continue to help save and love our nature... till next swing around! (:>
Friday, April 16, 2010
The first area being recipient of the Operation Kontra Baha parenting stage is Talomo River. As an offshoot activity, MFSM and LOGSAC have conducted the actual counting of plants that survived last April 9-10, 2010. It took us two days to finish the survey starting from Los Amigos down to Talomo Bucana area. The survey team was composed of 5 LOGSAC members (Julpanz, Papong, Jonas, Pawiks, Butche) and 2 TRIMMOCs (Marvin and Brayn). Listed hereunder are the results of the survey.
1. Survival Rate is very low. This is attributed basically due to the El Nino Phenomenon that wrecked havoc in the early part of year 2010.
2. Other areas conducted with tree planting has become grazing/pasture areas of farm animals such as cow and carabao, thereby causing damage to the plants.
3. Based on verbal reports from the community, there were several instances of flash floods in some areas that caused erosion and landslide which eventually led to the dying of some malibago plants.
4. Still based on verbal reports from the community, no monitoring teams from the barangay government units deployed to monitor the newly-planted seedlings.
1. Massive replanting should be conducted. Areas recommended for replanting are in Ula, Mintal, Tacunan, Catalunan Grande, Ulas and Talomo. These are the very areas with very minimal or having zero survival rate.
2. The barangay governments should take their part in the monitoring period. They are the very familiar entity in the area that's why they should take the lead in monitoring of the plants.
3. The Memorandum of Agreement should be revisited and check the stipulations especially in the parenting stage. If we keep on planting without care and maintenance, all our efforts will be in vain.
4. The good thing about the project is that there are plants that survived. However, we cannot assure that these plants will survive forever. These plants are still vulnerable to damage and even death. Hence, appropriate actions should be taken this early.
Monday, April 5, 2010
On April 1-4, 2010; my club LOGSAC has conducted the 2010 Lenten Climb monitoring as part of our club’s calendar of events. The activity basically aimed at ensuring that Sta. Cruz trail to Mt. Apo would not be congregated with irresponsible climbers especially since issues regarding Mt. Apo’s closure hemmed in just one week before the holy week season. There were also several groups and government agencies who helped us during the monitoring such as the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples, Philippine Army, Sibulan Porters’ Association and Mountaineering Federation of Southern Mindanao who were tasked to keep an eye in the upper portion of Mt. Apo particularly in the summit area including holding camps in Tinikaran. I stayed at Tumpis then along with Jonas, Domas, Kabing and Faridah.
However, we noticed one important agency that was not with us during the monitoring – the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). It is indeed a sad thing, considering that DENR’s main mandate is to save and protect the environment, the Mt. Apo Natural Park (MANP) to be exact. It was the first time it happened. When worst things happened in Mt. Apo last holy week season, DENR was nowhere to be found. Hopefully, concerned authorities of this agency will be able to realize the importance of having such an activity.
Meanwhile, listed hereunder are some of the salient details and observations we gathered during the 4-day activity:
• There were only a total of 94 trekkers (guides and porters included) who used Sta. Cruz as an entry point to Mt. Apo. Much as there were still climbers who wanted to be registered, we only accommodated registrants until March 31. Reasons for this include prevention of forest fire, avoiding huge environmental impact to MANP, among others. Also, the Local Government Unit of Sta. Cruz is always strictly following the recommended carrying capacity of a certain Mt. Apo trail which is only 250.
• Based on verbal reports from friends in the mountaineering community, Bansalan trail had the most number of climbers passing through with a rough estimate of approximately 800 persons. Were those friends kidding me when saying of the figure? Eight hundred persons are extremely too much for a trail to carry in a single climb. I presumed the event was called SINGGIT SA KINAIYAHAN....indeed, nature I guess not only shouted, it even screamed with the impact it brought about. I hope LGUs should be aware of this kind of dilemma. Yes, tourism sprouts economic siblings but not to the point of compromising the environment. Undeniably, it is still the nature that is at stake here.
• Still based on verbal reports, Digos City trail was open last holy week. My remark to Digos is that this LGU has really appreciated the economic value of mountaineering. Last year, the registration fee they imposed was 650 pesos per climber. This year, they accelerated it to 720 pesos (that’s 10% increase). Being one of the most accessible trails, Digos is still one of the entry points that climbers preferred to despite the expensive registration fee. However, the City Government might have not conducted proper briefing to their guests. As usual, sitio Colan of Sta. Cruz served as an exit point of some climbers registered in Digos. And when asked why they did so, they said they were not informed of the 1 entry-1 exit policy. And when asked of the exit fee, all they could do was said “we don’t have money anymore”. Until now for me it is still a puzzle why Digos trekkers are not lured to back trail. Trekkers passing Digos trail are perhaps the most stubborn climbers (puera de los Buenos).
• Once again, solid wastes were familiar scenery in Mt. Apo during holy week. Environmentalists are correct in saying that Mt. Apo has been the largest garbage can in the country. The Sta. Cruz monitoring team has gathered bundles of garbage from the peak. Thanks to Raffy and company who really had the courage to bring those garbage down. I hope all LGUs opening their trails last holy week would be able to facilitate a straightforward rehabilitation effort to free this mountain of garbage. In the case of Sta. Cruz, they’ll have it this last week of April – an event called PISTA SA KINAIYAHAN.
• Verbal reports from a very reliable source also pointed out that Mt. Apo summit last holy week was an instant entertainment club. There were climbers who never – or failed to realize the sacredness of Mt. Apo. Personally, there are things that even I sometimes had to violate. When I get there I always have some sort of drinking liquor. But not to the point of distressing other persons. That’s why I hate climbing Mt. Apo in a holy week. Every climber has reasons of climbing this mountain in the same way that intoxication has its own time also to shine. However, it should not be at the expense of those who wanted to relax and meditate.
These are just mole out of a mountainous observation we generated while conducting monitoring activity in Mt. Apo. If these experiences will still be observed, there are so many reasons for a long-term closure of Mt. Apo to trekking activities.