When I found out that Romi Garduce, my officemate who is the third Filipino to climb Mt. Everest, had organized a Mangrove tree planting activity in Hundred Islands in consortium with EcoRescue, I jumped at the chance to do a civic duty and at the same time go out of town. So I emailed Romi and invited my beach bum housemates Chu and Gay and Saturday found the three of us sleeping at the back seat of a rented van all the way to Alaminos.
We got to Alaminos in time for lunch. I introduced mysefl to Romi, who shook my hand and air-boxed me for all the jokes I cracked at him while we were communicating virtually. There were 22 volunteers, and since the tree planting itself was planned for Sunday, we spent the first day island hopping. We visited Governor’s island, where the highest point of the hundred islands can be found. We huffed and puffed up the stairs to the lookout point, but the breathtaking view was so worth it. After lunching on that island, the boat took us to another island where we swam in the waters. The sand was as fine as polvoron. Then we took one of the boats to go snorkeling in the area where the giant clams were supposed to be found. But the water was so deep, we ended up seeing only one or two of them. We went back to the island in time to see a glorious sunset – a hazy magenta ball dipping into a rippling bowl of saltwater soup. When the sun had all but disappeared, it was time to head back to Alaminos, where our accomodations were. We showered, ate dinner and slept soundly.
The next day we woke up early for the tree planting. After breakfast, we rode the van to the mangrove site. They had bought 400 saplings for us to plant, and they explained the proper way to plant them – we were supposed to peel off the black plastic from around the soil around the roots, then cradle the soil with our hands and bury it into the hole intact. So off we went to the sea to plant the mangroves into the squishy mud-slash-sand. It was actually fun, and when we had finished planting all the saplings, we found ourselves saying, “Bitin!” But we were done, so we headed back to our lodgings to pack and check out after a light lunch. Then we rode the van to Pampanga, where we ate our “lunch” at around 3pm. We had their specialty – lechon manok (with the crispy skin) and sisig (with too much onions). Then it was nappy time in the van all the way home.
Some of the pictures in this blog were taken by my budding photographer friend Chu (he insisted I give him credit, so ok fine). Do drop by his blog to see more of his photos and read his works. He writes as well as he takes pictures.
Today I got below thank you email from Romi as forwarded by his friend Boy from the EcoRescue team. Should you want to help Mother Earth, drop me a line or contact EcoRescue directly with below details.
In Behalf of EcoRescue, the City Government of Alaminos and the Philippine environment, I would like to thank you for your help and very cheerful participation in the reforestation of the coast of Alaminos City..naks! Pormal ba? hehehe
Oh wala nang kalokohan…maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. Sa panahon ngayon, talagang kailangan natin maka recruit at develop ng mga Eco Warriors. Sumama na kayo sa amin sa pag salba ng ating kapaligiran, Mag sama pa kayo ng iba, kailangan na nating dumami at hindi na tayo puedeng mag bulagbulagan pa. Environmental disasters are about to befall us one after the other if we do not move now. The worst disaster is for people who can do something will just sit in the side lines and do nothing.
If you want to find out more about EcoRescue go to www.ecorescue.org if you want to find out about environmental news and volunteer calls then join our egroup at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat.