Haribon Green Travel to Mangatarem, Pangasinan
What to expect from this trip if you plan to join Haribon in their conservation campaign: Lush green tropical forests filled the music of different species of birds.
by Jiggy Marquez
People of all ages with different backgrounds joined the Haribon trip to Mangatarem, Pangasinan from an 8 year old girl to a 67 year old botanist from Mindanao, a niece and aunt bonding, a family of three, a mother a father and their daughter of eight years of age, a game developer, a software engineer, a financial analyst, a chemical engineer and a veterinarian from the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, a group of friends working for a call center, everyone actively participated in the activities of the trip.
We arrived at the Manleluag Spring Protected Landscape (MSPL) at around 9am. Speakers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the local government unit talked about the importance of protecting the landscape and ecosystem in Mangatarem, and gave insights on the different species that can be found in Mangatarem.
The site where NAGMACAPAK, a peoples organization, process palay and animal waste to turn them into organic fertilizer through Vermi Composting.
We started trekking to barangay Catarataraan, when suddenly - everyone ahead was quiet and anxious. Some brought out their binoculars and started surveying the trees around us. To my surprise, when I looked at the birds through the binoculars, I was able to see its difference from the common maya-maya, the brilliance of the colors of the hues of its feathers; I didn’t imagine birds I often see on trips to be that beautiful and free; I didn’t even know that there were more than 90 species of birds in Pangasinan like the bee eater and swallows.
When we reached barangay Catarataraan, lunch was prepared by the gracious locals of the barangay. Our guide told us that there are many mango trees in Catarataraan that’s why it’s called Mangatarem.
After lunch, we trekked to the site where they do the vermi composting. We gathered leaves and then shredded them with palay. We applied water on the leaves then these palay and leaves mixed with animal waste will be left to decompose for some time. When they are ready, this compost will be fed to African Night Crawlers, a type of worm that reproduces fast and consumes compost faster than other kind of worms, which makes it ideal for compost production. The waste product of the African Night Crawlers is the final product or the organic fertilizer; this compost fertilizer is much preferred by the farmers since it costs very little to produce - compost is a complete fertilizer and does not make the soil bitter and dry with frequent use.
Members sift through the compost to separate the finer product from rocks.
During the trek back to the Manleluag Spring Protected Landscape, we stopped by the nursery site where we conducted a tree planting activity. Despite being tired by the long treks and the day’s activities, everybody actively participated in placing soil to plastic containers, watering them and planting seeds, they even shared jokes of which everybody felt obliged to share one.
When we reached the camp at the Manleluag Spring Protected Landscape, everyone was exhausted; the camp was peaceful and spring, each one was happy to have experienced the day’s activities and took in the serenity of the protected landscape.
Haribon is doing its best to raise awareness on the importance of our rainforests and the need to expand and protect the landscape. The Philippines before had as much as 21 million hectares of rainforests, now we have close to one million hectares left. During these trips, there are limited slots to keep the impact on the rainforest and protected landscapes to a minimum. After the trip I felt relieved that some people are doing these things to protect our rainforests and biodiversity.