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Mt. Banahaw | A Tree Planting Event

Mt. Banahaw
I’ve been to different outreach programs; I even organized some of them before. I already attended some forums and seminars about environmental hazards. But, this is my first time joining a Tree Planting Event in a mountain. Organized by Jeff and Sadeck; participated by some mountaineers, outdoor enthusiasts and travellers. This event focused on planting more trees for the next generations and to prevent soil erosion resulting to flooding in the metro.

Nowadays, flooding and soil erosion is one of the huge problems in mountainous part of the country as it destroys livelihood, assets and even life. Actually just today, August 18, 2013, we encountered habagat and typhoon Maring, so all of us were affected! And according to DENR, the numbers of forest areas in the country lessen because of illegal activities. So we decided to have a “Tree Planting Event” at the holy mountain – Mt. Banahaw.

We chartered a jeep from Taft going to Brgy. Kinabuhayan (jump off of Mt. Cristobal) in Quezon. We met at McDo along LRT 1 Taft Station at 12 midnight. I recognized some participants and first time to see some new faces. The weather wasn’t that good because of the easterlies and the low pressure area in northern part of Luzon, so we all thought that everything will flow according to plans, but read our story below to find out what we encountered.

Mt. Banahaw
The weather was fine when we’re on our way to Quezon. We had several breaks in some 7-11 store along the way, but we had our final break at San Pablo, Laguna where we took our early breakfast at Friendly Mami along Maharlika Highway. They were actually featured in Manila Bulletin’s Dining Section on April 26, 2012. 

Tree Planting Event
Everyone of us was excitedly waited for our guide Kuya Lito near the basketball court. We grabbed that time to prepare for our today’s journey. Some bought coffee in nearby vendo machine while Saddeck chose preparing a 3n1 coffee mix. It was his first time using his stove and when he couldn’t make a flame, sir (I forgot his name) helped him. Next time, he needs to make sure that he reads the instructions. “Basa-basa din pag may time”

Tree Planting Event
When Kuya Lito and his son arrived, we read the rules and regulations issued by the DENR and WE PRAYED! After that, we proceeded to DENR at around 4:45AM and picked the seedlings that we’ll be going to plant at the holy mountain.

tree planting
Real smile while holding the seedlings! Everyone got excited holding the seedlings of Nara tree; some picked the larger ones, but mostly selected the smaller sizes but older enough to survive their new environment. We stayed at DENR area for few minutes, and then started ascending!

trail mt. banahaw
We started planning our trees at 6:30AM. There were 20 participants in our group plus our guide, Kuya Lito and his son, so we’re 22 in total. We brought and planted 22 seedlings for the next generation. We are hoping that the 22 newly planted trees will survive in all factors in their new ecological unit.

mt. banahaw trail
Since Mt. Banahaw is still not open to the public; I easily recognized the beautiful flora and fauna in every corner of this holy mountain. The photo above is a proof of its richness; this gorgeous orange forest ornament wrapped by a pure white fog.

The video above is my 360 degrees shot at Kapatagan taken at around 8:30AM. As what you can see, the fog was really thick that made us chill because of the cold wind blowing our skin. Based on what you heard, the wind was strongly blowing the trees in the area.

Summit Mt. Banahaw
We reached the summit at around 10:58AM, NO CLEARING, just a thick fog and a cold strong wind welcomed us. Instead of feeling frustrated at that moment, we enjoyed it! because we were able to reach that level and we’re all okay. After waiting the last group, we had a short break, and then prepared our lunch. Lunch break served as our social part – as in umaapaw nang pagkain, KANIN NGA LANG, tapos daliri nalang ulam! To all the pipz who shared their foods, thanks a lot! Special thanks to Cheng, because she brought and shared us her unique and the only ADOBONG ASIN, garnished with pork and oil. Sa alat ba naman, naging main ingredient ang asin ng hindi inaasahan!

After lunch, we thought the weather will change but it didn’t happen, but that’s okay! 12:30PM, we left the summit and we started descending the mountain. The rain drops were falling, then after few minutes, the drops transformed into strong rain showers. The wet trail transformed into a muddy one and the water was flowing along the trail while we’re descending in a hurry. The water was cold; the wind was colder, so the feeling wasn’t that good! But those factors didn’t stop us enjoying Mt. Banahaw. 

holy mountain
We reached Kapatagan at around 1:30PM at we waited there until we’re completed. The weather was still the same, but we were not hearing the rain drops or the winds hissing sound anymore because it was changed into hilarity and happiness. Because the trail was slippery because of the rain, instead of being upset, we made that time to know more about ourselves. We also counted if how many times fell on the ground and how many times we stood up and proceeded – that’s applicable to our life, isn’t it?

Hiking Mt. Banahaw
I was taking photos of the grass but I accidentally included the faces of these people and with the fog as the white background. This time, good thing that the rain stopped, so we waited the rest by talking anything that came to our mind.

When we’re complete, we continued descending. We thought that everything will be fine, because it’s just two hours trek going to the jump off at Brgy. Kinabuhayan, but we encountered another challenge that hindered our speed. We were walking on the trail that serves as the trail of the horses that transports veggies for their livelihood, so the soil was eroded and the mud was really thick. So, that remaining time was spent in balancing, bending our knees and holding to the grass and trees for our brake. I think the mud didn’t hinder us in terms of speed, I think it helped us a lot! We almost run because the gravity was pulling us down.

DENR Mt. Banahaw
We finally made it! We reached DENR at around 3:49PM. Then, we proceeded to the “holy river of Banahaw,” took a rest, cleaned ourselves and our dirty stuff while waiting for the rest. Some people were fetching water from the river, because according to the believers, the water on the river is miraculous as it can cure any diseases.

It will be my second time visiting this river, the first time was during our climb in Mount Cristobal, where some called it the “Devils Mountain” Just to give you an idea, at the river near the entrance (probably the beginning of the river) the Religious Zone can be found where a foot mark on the rock can be found. The believers said that the foot mark there is from Jesus Christ. I don’t want to comment on that belief, but all I can say is: if you are Christian, you need to believe in the Bible; you need to live based on the Bible and not just for some belief created by humans. FAITH TO OUR GOD is the ONLY WAY FOR A MIRACULOUS LIFE.

The rain drops were falling on the ground, so after cleaning and taking a break at the nearby store, we proceeded to our service and left Brgy. Kinabuhayan. Majority of the group were sleeping, I know that because I was staring to them the whole time. The rain and the wind got stronger and stronger; so instead of listening to that noise, I turned on my iPod and listened to the songs of Beyonce, Mariah Carrey, Rihanna and Shakira to relieve the stress I felt because of the storm. We took our dinner in Bulalo restaurant along the high way of Laguna. We stayed there for less than an hour and then proceeded to our destination. We were on the way, when we encountered a storm, please play the video below:

The wind and rain hitting the windshield was really strong! The other participants woke up because of what’s happening outside. The other cars opened their hazard lights because it was almost in zero visibility to prevent accident. We were in that situation for almost two hours, so kudos to our driver! We finally reached Taft, so we thought everything is fine now, but the water in the terminal  was in kneed high level, so that’s another problem. I was thinking of the situation in my area in Cainta, Rizal; because our subdivision is a flood prone area.

Different plans came into my mind because I was considering everything. Finally, we (with a new found friend) proceeded to MRT Station, took a ride going to Ortigas station while our bags and other stuff were wet. The passengers in the train were all neat and we didn’t care about it! When we get off at Ortigas Station, we saw high water level along EDSA. Walked going to Robinsons Galleria, took a ride in the bus (good thing that we were the first ones entered the bus so we were able to get a seat.) I was the first one get off the bus, so I said Good Bye to my new found friend! I walked, took a short jeepney ride, but when I was at the tricycle terminal, the drivers couldn’t make to our street because we’ll be going to pass along the street filled with flood and the water can reach the trike’s motor and might stop. Another tricycle arrived at the terminal and his trike is higher compared to the others, so he said YES. Another passenger entered the trike and he’s soooo cute! I was in left part holding my huge backpack placed on the trike’s floor and he was on my right. He’s shoulder touches my shoulder; he was embracing his small backpack. When we’re along the street with deeper flood, he said: “uy, yung bag mo baka mabasa” so I grabbed my bag and put on my lap, he was so kind and his voice is still in my mind until right now! I am so KILIG!! And I finally reached my apartment securely. Thanks for reading our story see you next time!

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