Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday, June 02, 2013
An army soldier volunteer next to my spot on the ground


I N   R I Z A L

Being a city dweller in Metro Manila, I've always been used to seeing tall buildings and concrete walls. Every chance to visit my relatives in the province meant that I would see trees and get to climb in one of them.

Now that I'm all grown up and visiting other provinces in the Philippines, I still anticipate seeing trees. And whenever I get the chance, I climb in one of them. This ritual puts me in place. It sets my mind to reflect on issues that matter at a time when technology can measure trends that grow and disappear. Trees, for that matter, also grow but I wish that they stay standing strong for a long time.

MMDA General Manager Corazon Jimenez
When I got the opportunity to celebrate the first anniversary of an online group that I created, I welcomed the idea of one of my group's admin officers to participate in a tree planting activity. Besides, it was someone from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) who offered the volunteerism program to us. The tree planting is part of the nationwide greening program of the Philippine government. It's a monthly volunteering commitment that started last March of this year. It was repeated the month after and I got scheduled for the third installment last May. The venue off the tree planting is the 73 hectare landfill of San Mateo in Rizal. The goal is to be able to plant at least 100,000 supplings by December of 2013.

Soon enough I was standing in front of the MMDA headquarters in Makati City sipping my cup of hot chocolate at 5:00am to sign up on site for the tree planting. I spotted someone who seemed important what with the throng of civilian volunteers and army soldiers occupying the small junction in the area. She motioned a lot in different directions with a smile and walked in a pleasant manner. I approached her and introduced myself as a travel blogger. It turned out that she's Corazon Jimenez, MMDA's General Manager and driving force behind the tree planting program.

I boarded an assigned bus with some of my online group members by 6:00am. In a couple of hours, we were all at San Mateo already for a quick introduction and gathering of sorts. Seeing the vast former landfill as an open space made me glance along the fringes of the area. I realized that in 3 to 5 years the open space will finally be similar to the surrounding tree-filled landscape.

In an hour, I was down on my knees by a cliff of the former landfill. Burying a molave tree suppling on an MMDA-marked spot on the ground, I was confident that I was not only contributing to a good cause. I was also celebrating my online group's advocacy of being a good influence to Filipinos for a great nation. After the activity, all volunteers, including the MMDA staff, shared in servings of boiled egg, banana, and biscuits.

The MMDA is inviting volunteers to participate in its monthly tree-planting activity in San Mateo, Rizal. If you'll miss the upcoming June 30, 2013 schedule, you can call MMDA for next month's schedule. Simply visit their website or shoot them a message on Facebook.

This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for June 2013 with the theme "Travel with a Cause" hosted by Grasya Bangoy.

My travel stamina partner, Laminine   +   My personal blog, New Self    +   Pasig City Natin


  1. congrats sir..
    the sight of barren mountains melts my heart.

    1. Thanks. Same here. I always get sad whenever I see a patch of barren land on top of a mountain whenever I travel via bus in some provinces.

  2. So noble...

  3. Hi. Do you happen to know how and where to participate in environment/tree planting events? Thank you very much


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