OUR SHARE - This is the theme of AUSL PEERS tree planting activity last week. The tree planting is the brainchild of PEERS President Jo-Ann Naoe and Project Leader, Jose Ira Archimedes Borromeo. The objective was to put our share in the reforestation of Mt. Makiling by planting new trees on its slope that were destroyed by Typhoon Milenyo sometime 2006. We were assisted by UPLB-Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems, headed by Ms. Vicky Mariano, the Barangay Officials of Dampalit, the farmers themselves who work there and by the PNP Los Baņos as our security escorts.
The activity was a definite success as we were able to plant more than a hundred seedlings like rubber and narra trees to the barren slopes of Mt. Makiling- We have to descend and or climb to the rocky areas that are difficult to be forested. The local community was very enthusiastic to accept us, having contributed a great deal on its reforestation program.
The activity started when we left the school premises by bus at around 6am on June 28, 2009. We had a 2-hour ride to Los Banos, where we were cordially received by the local government. A brief program ensued with the Brgy Captain, the NGOs and UPLB giving us an overview of their project accomplishments and their plans to further preserve the forest mountain.
We left to the mountains at 8am for about an hour and a half trek to the planting area, where we planted the seedlings. Afterwards, the local farmers invited us to their homes at a further 1 hour trek from the planting site, where we took our simple lunch. We had a short program where the local farmers and UPLB-MCME shared stories about the Makiling Forest Reserves. We left their homes after wishing us well that we are welcome anytime.
We then went down the mountain to a pond carved out of a spectacular waterfall of Dampalit. We took a dip and swam and took pictures as our souvenir on this once-in-a-blue moon, but worthy event. We then finished the activity by extending our heartfelt thanks for all the assistance that the locals and UPLB has bestowed on us. Particularly the police team who never left us out of their sights.
We left the site at around 4pm with heavy hearts but with joyous smiles and a sense of accomplishment. That we took part in returning to nature what we owed her. That Arellano University School of Law who endeavored to promote consciousness and sensitivity to the protection and preservation of the environment and eco-system, was a part of the great effort to restore and preserve the mighty Mt. Makiling.
By Raul Tumangday