Service · Stories

Saving the EARTH: 1 TREE at a TIME

Our class is required to have a service learning activity.  As soon as I heard it, the light bulb in my head lighted. In excitement, my mind started to run at 200 kmp with pictures of the sea, the mountains, the forest and the rice terraces flashing in my mind. At the back of my head, I am listing the activities I wanted to do and the persons I need to call.  To my eagerness, I have forgotten that this is a group activity and my group mates all have regular jobs.  Oops! Mea culpa.

The fact that it would be difficult to coordinate an out of town activity did not stop me to look for one.  I called a friend who organizes eco-tourism tours for a possible mangrove planting activity near Metro Manila.    She gave me a number from the local government of Kawit, Cavite.  I immediate called the number only to find-out that this is not the right season for mangrove tree planting.  Dead end again.

The deadline for submission of Service Activity proposal is just a few days away.  I have no choice but to give-in with the agreed activity of the group.  However, the desire to wear a cape and help save the earth is hunting me.  So I called my friend again for another possible activity near Metro Manila.  She told me to send a message to the Facebook account of DENR National Capital Region and confirm if their tree planting activity on June 23, 2017 at the La Mesa Water Shed Area will push through.  I followed her instruction and jumped for joy when DENR confirmed it.  Finally a spark of hope!

I started sending messages on June 7, 2017 and they immediately confirmed, but cannot provide details.  The details were only provided on June 21, 2017.  In between those dates, I have been sending messages to inquire for details.  I called their office on June 13, 2017 and it was then that I found out that it a simultaneous tree planting activity and the nearest to my area is at the Las Piñas – Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA).   While waiting for the details, I posted the activity in my Facebook account hoping someone will join me in this adventure.  I received a lot of likes but none offered to come.  Then alone I will go.

Fortunately, a friend of mine resides near the area.  I did not ask her if she wants to go, I merely told her that I need her to come with me and she did.  Thank God! So there we are, two Mother Nature crusaders without our capes.  All we have are our hands, our feet and our willingness to help. Off we go!

Following the instruction given was easy, but standing on top of the foot bridge looking for LPPCHEA and not seeing any sign of a gate nearby almost made us doubt our sense of direction.  We called the coordinator to ask for help and he confirmed our fear that we need to walk for miles to reach the place.  Out of nowhere and by divine intervention a “pedicab” appeared and that brought us to our destination. At last!

We arrived in time for the opening ceremonies.   We were given instructions on what to do and where to go. The activity took about two hours.  When I started planting, I can’t help but continue until we finish all.    Initially I counted the number of trees I have planted, but I got lost after tree number seven.   I just continued because I am enjoying myself.  I am enjoying myself because I know I am doing something good. Yes, saving the earth one plant at a time!




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