Forests of Hope and HAPI-ness: When the HAPI Trees Project Unfold

Posted by admin | Posted on January 29, 2016
Jennifer C. Gutierrez,  Climate leader, trained under the Climate Reality Leadership Corps in Canada by VP AL Gore

The Executive
Director’s Report
HAPI-ness: When the HAPI TREES Project Unfold
The HAPI Trees Nationwide
Tree Planting Project is not just an ordinary tree planting activity,
not in a sense that unlike those who had done it before, had done it
for compliance to their company’s corporate social responsibility
(CSR), where attendance is required and or for grades in school.
The HAPI Trees planting
activity is a gesture and act of love, a true expression of
compassion for nature and the people of the future. Participants from
eight locations around the country -Manila,
Sorsogon, Cebu, Leyte, Bacolod, Cagayan De Oro and Surigao Del Norte
and Surigao Del Sur, had gathered voluntarily on September 26 to do
their share for the environment, in hope to mitigate climate change,
to help our people in years to come and to simply serve back nature.
This very fateful day had probably marked to be the largest and
widest tree planting activity of any given humanist and NGO
organization in the country.
Starting from HAPI
Manila with
the largest number of registered participants of almost 300 people,
the Manilenos flocked and gleefully trekked their ways to the lush
La Mesa Dam Forest Reserve in Lagro, Quezon City. This attendance is
much unexpected of all since knowing Manilenos, they would usually
spend their weekends on malls or outdoor gyms. In fact your ED
Jennifer C. Gutierrez, the lead implementer of this project, had only
projected about 120 people to participate in Manila.
The event was only
announced in Facebook exactly only a month before the event! The
surge of participants had continuously risen and this became a HAPI
problem. The La Mesa Dam Management is very strict on the number of
people they allow on the premises. Only a hundred per entry are
allowed! And so this prompted the Manila team to conceptualize a
scheduled scheme to accommodate all those who wished to plant. That
day in Manila, we had 5 batches of about 80-100 participants per
batch. The day started exactly at 8 AM and ended at around 2:30 PM.


The Manila participants
were attended by people from the following groups: TUP Green Society,
PLM College of Science Faculty & Alumni, World of Art Photography
group, Conservation Cavers Inc., St. Joseph School Batch 96, PATAS,
Rational Filipino, Let’s Do It PH Eco Warriors, Komunidad Kay
Kristo, HAPI’s Batang Riles from Alabang, Ampid National HS
Teachers, GoldenVille Elem School, DepED, and the Philippine
Astronomical Society. 


The Manila chapter was able
to plant 400 trees at
the La Mesa Dam Forest Reserve.

Down further Luzon, we go
a newly created HAPI chapter that happened because of this tree
planting activity. Led by a dear co- clean up eco warrior friend, Ms.
Sonia Lariosa singly took charge of this challenge to grow trees in
their area. Trees and farming is very close to her heart, as she is
connected as well to the Sorsogon Farming and Irrigation Association,
she was able to sought the invaluable help of Chief City ENRO Officer
Roland Gerona who even gave a lecture to Assembly of God School
children for the importance of growing a tree as they are the next
generation to protect and preserve Mother Earth . This tree planting
activity in Sorsogon was participated by PNP, DEPED, 4P’s members
family and all the barangay officials within the area.

Below is what our HAPI
lead implementer of Sorsogon, Ms. Sonia Lariosa has to share…
“It is overwhelming to
see the faces of this children as they bravely walk almost 1km to
reach the area for them to plant those trees and they pledge that
they will take care and visit the place since the lot is donated by a
friend to the school, about 100 children participated, we have
planted more than 800
trees including the river bank.
As City ENRO CHIEF Roland
Gerona said, “planting a tree is not just putting it on the ground
but to nourish it with care to grow, like a baby. There are so many
tree planting activity were millions had been spent by the government
and out of this only few survive why? Because of mere compliance! So
now in partnership with HAPI, we do it the other way around any
organization must adopt a barangay and People’s Organization a
private land owner, that they can partner to see to it that the Trees
planted will be taken care of and after 3 months we will visit the
area to check how many trees survive. With this concept we have
assurance of survival of the Trees planted for the next generation.
If we want change then let’s change the pattern.
Thank you Ms. Jennifer and
Ms. M for your passion to preserve and protect our only plant Earth,
thank you HAPI for this opportunity to help nature.”

Going to Visayas now, we
the tree planting activity was led by the HAPI Cebu Team composed of
Rose Musong, Patti Milton, Alain Precillas, Dmitri Cortes , Agustina
Torres & Mira Paslon with the invaluable help of Department of
Agriculture by which they planted our trees around Mandaue City.

Attended by some LGBTs and
around 60 students from Mandaue Comprehensive National High School,
these students were also the ones HAPI lectured on about Climate
Change, these obviously Earth committed students is sure to become
our future environment stewards!
They were able to plant
about 100 trees on the
Mandaue City.
Next, we go to the dynamic
and one of HAPI’s most active chapters – HAPI
led by the core guys Alvin
Ballares, Luis Andreas Alviar, J-Rik Villa and Mark Janeo.
They were able to ask the
invaluable assistance of Bacolod’s local water distributor BACIWA
who helped them with the acquisition of seedlings and location which
is at Northern Negros Natural Park at Brgy. Cabatangan, Sitio
Campuestuhan, Talisay.
A total of 65 participants
joined this event coming from HAPI, STI-WNU and CHMSC-Fortune Town
Graduate Studies. They were able to plant 1,500
on this event.
 Going further in Visayas,
we have HAPI –LEYTE.
The tree planting activity was held at Baranggay Mas-in, Ormoc City
through the leadership of our lead implementer Yoyoy Cala and
Rosselle Panta who together with the Kahugpungan Farmers had helped
us put up 2,500 trees! During
the last meeting with them just weeks before the event, it was
expressed by ED Jennifer Gutierrez that her biggest goal is to
replant and reforest Leyte because it is where trees are needed most
after the Yolanda (Typhon Haiyan) devastation, so far, this HAPI
chapter has the most number of trees planted.
 Leaving Visayas, we go to
HAPI-Cagayan De Oro (CDO)
in Mindanao led by our implementer Rev. Rholdee Lance Lagumbay, a
theist in our community being a pastor of Catholic Universalist.
 Together with ACTO
(Alliance Of CDO Texters Orgs), Bombo Radyo Listeners Club ,
CENRO-CDO especially to sir Ben who sacrificed his time effort to be
with us during the activity, they were able to plant 250
at F.S Catanico, Cugman, Cagayan de Oro
Another overnight chapter
was created because of this event through Mr. Nards Go, a caving
friend of our ED Jenny. Mr. Go had accepted the HAPI
challenge for this tree planting
activity. A very able and capable man of Surigao City ENRO, Mr. Go is
an environmental specialist 2 who share the same passions of ED Jenny
namely caves, nature and trees! So when ED Jenny asked her about
helping out put up forests around the county, Mr. Go didn’t have
second thoughts! He asked her only, when?

Only a week after our
collaboration for the clean up, Mr. Go gathered 86 volunteers from
City ENRO, DAR, Surigao Bikers Assn and the Brgy Mat-i council who
facilitated the tree planting activity. A total of 100
were planted (50 assorted fruit
trees-mango, macopa, santol, and 50 Narra Trees).
A very heart-warming
message came as a surprised from a farther place, SURIGAO
, through Surf Lanuza Tourism,
when they decided to join us to plant trees as well despite being
only 3 in number; they had sent us their photos for this event. It is
such a surprised that HAPI can even reach that far in this call for
environment advocacy.

The HAPI TREES Nationwide
Tree planting Event has gathered us donors that came overflowing.
Despite not really so much in focused on asking or lobbying for
funds, HAPI found itself receiving pledges for trees from
enthusiastic donors who even thank us so much for the opportunity to
help and have a tree planted under their names! In this activity
alone, we had raised about P 9,100 from local donors, USD 170 from
international donors and USD 250 grant from Foundation Beyond Belief.
The great diversity of the
participants made the event very colorful and enjoyable as well. We
have seen people unite, believers and
non-believers to collectively join in doing something for humanity,
bonds had been forged between communities, organizations, parents and
child, people with other people from all walks of life in expressing
their love for nature.
In total, we have gathered
about 700 registered participants and
planted about 5,653 seedlings that soon will become trees
over the country. This
project will definitely create a big impact
on mitigating climate change and will help the communities
in the future.
Clearly, this event is a
phenomenal in success, the low cost, high-impact activity had made
people naturally move to care for nature, awaken to volunteerism,
increased environment awareness
at the same time be informed about humanism as people asks about HAPI
and what humanism is all about.
Humanism for HAPI is
not just a philosophy or a stance, through our projects and
advocacies, we are putting action and making this work for real
people, real time.
As your Executive
Director, still as of the moment keeps receiving congratulatory
remarks and endless thanks you’s for presenting this opportunity to
many people, this event will not be possible if not for the following
people who supported this project proposal.
I would like to thank the
HAPI CORE group, all the chapter leaders and implementers, our
participants (who came in solo and in groups) and our dear donors for
making this event very successful despite being the very first and a
pilot of its own!
International Team
Marissa Torres Langseth, Bobby Olarte, Cris Rafael Silao, John Lester Aguila, Dave Allen,
Alex Wisner & Michael Sherman
Don Paez, Jho Celino, Jahziel Tayco Ferrer, Benru Ramesis, Gian
Joaquin, Jan Albert, Ernesto Tabios
Chapter Lead
Rose D. Musong, Patti Milton, Änťhöný Mãļďîtő,
Dmitri Cortes, Agustina/Mira Torres 

Sonia Lariosa

Alvin John Ballares, Luigi Andreas Aviar, J-rik
Villa and Mark Janeo
Rosselle Panta and Yoyoy Cala
Rholdee Dela Mance Lagumbay
Surigao Del Norte
Nard Go
Photo Credits:
(c) MikeCarlo Caparas,
Samuel McDonald, Jojo Duenas, Cherry De Vera Agoyaoy, Eric Socrates,
Lex De La Torre, J-Rik Villa, Alain Presillas, Sonia Lariosa, Nards
Go, Rholdee Lagumbay, Rosselle Panta and Surf Lanuza Tourism
                     written by Jennifer C. Gutierrez
                      HAPI Executive Director
                      Director for Environment Conservation

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