Last March 8, 2014, the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF), together with De La Salle University – Dasmariñas’ SERVE (Students’ Extension of Resources through Voluntary Efforts) partnered with Sagip Tinga Falls Association, Inc. for a tree planting activity at Tinga Falls in Batangas City. The activity was one of Barangay Tinga’s efforts of reviving the beauty of its water fall. Three of the participating Journey Companions from NCAF share their experience during the tree planting activity.
Jem Eripol, Journey Companion Batch 4 Civil Engineer and currently teaching at Technological Institute of the Philippines
The tree planting activity was a nice way of giving back to the environment. In return, it was a way of enriching awareness in environment-related issues.
The experience of being in the tree planting activity in Tinga Falls was a wonderful experience for me. The idea of guiding and leading individuals toward doing something for Mother Earth was both fulfilling and fun. Even though I ended up getting dirty, smelly, and tired, it was truly worth my time and effort because I know that the seedlings we had planted will help future generations.
Beyond this activity, I hope that Barangay Tinga will take care of the seedlings for the benefit of the future generations. I also hope that the rivers will become clean once more, and that people may remain passionate for their environment, and have a greater initiative to take care of the resources they have.
Jayjay Dizon, Journey Companion Batch 3 SAP Basic Consultant at MSG-TSFI Solutions Philippines, Inc.
My Journey throughout the activity was a worthwhile experience. I actually expected it to be just a simple tree planting gathering but to my surprise, it turned into an adventure of its own!
When we first arrived we saw how such a strategically beautiful spot can be in disarray. The site in the riverbank was supposed to be a place of magnificent view, under a waterfall, supposedly surrounded by trees. But to our surprise, the place was disregarded; there were trash everywhere, and not trees but weeds were growing elsewhere. On learning the history of what was before us, we had the impression that the place was not very well-maintained and had almost been forgotten. But that was exactly what we came for.
The tree planting activity had the end goal of restoring, if not initiate, the revival of the area. When all worked hand-in-hand, from community volunteers, students, and youth leaders like us from the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation, I can say that it was a mission accomplished. After cleaning up the site, we were able to proceed to our main task of planting trees along the riverbank. The trees can provide a better breathing place there not only to the nearby communities but also directly to the riverbank itself. The seeds of hope for the rebirth of a magnificent site had been planted.
Sure, it was tiring but what we saw at the end of the day took all of that away. Seeing the area transformed into a clean and trash-free zone gave us all the impression of how our actions, though small, can give rise to a beautiful masterpiece when joined together.
It was truly a marvelous occasion – how the community and organizations, especially the youth volunteers, were able to work together for a common goal. Small actions joined together can truly change the world we live in. This goal of restoring the riverbank gave us the desire to start with small actions in the hope that others will follow.
Joy Critica, Journey Companion Batch 1 Executive Assistant at De La Salle – Philippines
The experience was a manifestation or the reality of what happens when we do not think of the effects of what we do. The tree planting activity got me thinking about a few things:
This activity provided awareness and knowledge to the participants and to the community that it is important to protect and preserve the environment. Hearing their stories of the past – that the falls used to be a sanctuary where people were even allowed to swim – down to the current situation where the water has become polluted with all kinds of wastes imply what had been lost. It was an eye-opener.
Environmental efforts should be in collaboration with and among the sectors of the community. It is remarkably important to come together. As it was shared by the local officials, people living along the river are mostly not aware of how much their wastes create so much risk (piggeries, households, factories etc.) and without proper information, they might remain oblivious to the consequences of what they do.
Be an example to other communities
May the community share their experiences and stories to other communities to create a shared value for the environment and hope that they too can influence others to do the same.