HAPI TREES Year 2- Sept 11, 2016
21 chapters in about 20 provinces nationwide stood up in solidarity to care for our mother nature, last September 11, 2016. Hundreds of volunteers had joined and planted thousands of trees, mangroves and even grass at their locations.
Such a widespread and big event was no easy task. A huge amount of time for coordination and communication to mobilize all the chapters, as well as attending to the questions and needs in between work and family duties almost made me run hiding to the nearest cave.
As the project leader, what kept me going despite having such meager funds to start with was the excitement, coming from my friends and colleagues, in volunteering to plant trees. Imagine, people wanting to plant trees in this era when people rarely take their eyes away from the screens of their iPads and smartphones? Plus the gratitude given you and your group for providing the opportunity for them? That alone is the reward.
“‘Pikit Mata’ (Eyes Closed), we embarked on sustaining the HAPI Trees Year 2 project and acquire all the funding needed for it, unsure whether we could. To this end, we came-up with the ‘Adopt a Tree program’ for individuals who would like for us to plant trees on behalf of them.” – Jennifer Gutierrez, HAPI-Trees Project Director
The ‘One hundred peso (100 Php) a tree and a name’ helped subsidize the needed funds for the pick-up, transportation and hauling of the seedlings needed by all 20 chapters., as well as for provisions like water, snacks, the certificates and sometimes even the personnel transportation of some of the participants from their pick up locations to the planting site.
More than 5 dozen people signed up for this composed of both individual volunteers and groups. In total, we gathered about 55,000 Php in donations, pledges and registration fees. The rest came from the HAPI’s coffers and the officers’ pockets.
From the academe, we have the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila led by Dr. Emelinda Sabando College and Nemia Dacumos, the Northwestern Visayan Colleges led by co climate leader Rebecca Tandug who was able to mobilize the entire college, the Francisco S. Galang National Highschool in Negros Occidental, also led by, a co-climate leader, Art Alvarez and Mr. Jolly Gariando who greatly gathered and involve hundreds of students, the Lyceum of the Phils, the Technological University of the Phils, with the Green Society, College of Saint Benilde led by Prof. Antonio Ingles, the Mandaue Pilot School in Cebu led by Alain Sayson Presillas, and so many more.
From the secular groups, non-government organizations like the ECO-farmers of Leyte led by Mr. Rey Enales, the Sorsogon Irrigation and Farming Association led by Ms. Sonia Lariosa, religious organizations such as the Catholic Universalist Church led by Rev. Rholdee Lagumbay.
From the local governments, most notable were the Government of Kabankalan province, Cavinti Provincial office led by City Admin Rick Jayson Tatlonghari, the Balasan, Iloilo province, led by the mayor himself and his wife, Mayor Toto Ganzon and Yvette Ganzon, Surigao City led by the city environment and disaster officer, Nards Go, the Lanuza Tourism office in Surigao del Sur led by the Mayor Salvacion Azarcon and Glenda Felix, Kapalong, Tagum in Davao led by Sir Efren Tagorda, Davao Del Norte led by CENRO/Tourism officer Nonoy Parcon whose unique chapter had planted Vetiver grass instead of trees by the eroding river banks in their province.
We also have the Department of Education and Polillo Elementary/HS in the remote island of Quezon led by Jilkie Bosque, Tourism office in Tboli, South Cotabato led by Rodel Hilado and Compostela Valley tourism led by Jeffer Cano and a group of youth in Cagayan De Oro led by Cyra Mae Balaba.
Unique hobbyist and specialist groups also joined such as the Cebu Spelunking Society led by Sir Nathaniel Domingo, Bikers club from Surigao and Manila, the Rekindle artists in Bacolod led by the Bacolod Trinity Alvin Ballares, Rayd Espeja and Jrik Villa, Photographers from Manila through WAP led by Sir Jojo Duenas, and police teams from Sorsogon and in Tagum, Davao.
We had the Adventure and Tour company in Tarlac led by Sonia Bognot together with Jing Dalagan who brought her students from Capas, and a team of doctors from the Premier Hospital and Sierra Madre Eye Clinic led by Dr. Paul Guerrero in Baler, Aurora who planted thousands of mangroves in Dicasalarin.
All in all, around 50 groups were involved in the HAPI Trees coming from different sectors.
Our Sincere Gratitude
HAPI would like to thank all our sponsors, donors, friends and organization partners. We thank our classmates, batchmates, caving and outdoor friends. I would most especially like to mention my generous and kind schoolmates and kababata. Jhonhel Ancheta Rodriguez and her officemates, Frederick Alcantara, Rodel Lapidario, Sahlee and Gerard Dangca, Jenesis Ombao, Hilda Sta.Maria, Carlo Navarete, and many more who wanted to remain anonymous. We would also like to thank the HAPI donors from abroad like Elena Allen, Michael Sherman, Cris Silao, Ensign Akhum, and much more. The officer’s family and friends who donated food in their respective locations and of course my co-officers who helped me in Manila esp. Jahz Ferrer and friend Jho Celino, the HAPI Board of Trustees (BoT) and International Community (IC). The DENR foresters on-site, especially Forester Joel Rosal of the La Mesa Dam reserve. And of course Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR) nationwide for their ‘National Greening Program’ that made it possible to acquire all our seedlings.
A Continuing Effort
The HAPI TREES Year 2 was a huge success. As far we know, it was one of the largest or perhaps the most wide reaching tree planting event by any secular organization. We know the science and we know the proper trees to plant. The continuous monitoring of the trees is managed by the Philippine government after planting, as we choose to plant our trees in locations administered by the National Greening Program.
Looking back, after about 50,000 trees and mangroves planted and hundreds of volunteers, I can’t help but be amazed at how it was done. Generosity from the nature loving people combined with the will and determination from the chapter leaders and volunteers made it possible.
Once again as we do another year with another 7 more additional chapters on board, all I have to remember is that we did it TWICE and we can do it again. I personally thank all the people who were involved in leading the chapters and all our donors last year.
There is hope in people. There is hope in humanity. As we face the reality of anthropogenic accelerated climate change, we need to care for the planet more than ever. To adapt to this time of rapidly changing climate situation is not enough. To be prepared is not enough. We need action to stop and mitigate it. Planting trees serves a lot of purpose not only for us but the whole ecosystem.
As we face the great looming threat of severe fresh and drinkable water shortage by the year 2050, along with the challenge of keeping the Earth’s temperature from rising by 1.5 degrees Celsius, trees will greatly help. Reforestation is needed in the areas we had used for other purposes all these years.
You can help and be a part of the solution. Love humanity not only now but also the people in the future- your children. Let them know that you care for them by doing something today. Plant a tree in one of our 30 chapters on September 24 or support a chapter.