Article: The City of Pines Down South -
02 Aug 2010
MANILA, Philippines - You feel the air getting colder as you wind your way up the tree-covered mountain. Soon that familiar scent of pine trees comes wafting through the chilly air. You stick your bare hand out the window of the car and it feels like you dipped it into an ice box.
Sounds familiar? It most certainly is to those who used to go up to Baguio via Kennon or Naguilian Road, back when the city was still a cozy and isolated little nook atop the mountains of Benguet.
Baguio, other-wise known as the City of Pines, is still recognized as the summer capital of the Philippines, but somehow the trip via Kennon or Na-guilian Rd no longer feels the same. Many of those sweet-smel-ling pine needles and cones have been felled to give way to a burgeoning popu-lation that has made Baguio probably the most crowded com-munity in the nor-thern part of Luzon.
But while pine trees are fast disap-pearing in Baguio and its suburbs, these same trees are growing in abun-dance in Davao City.
Nestled on the foothills of the great Mt. Apo is a bucolic village named Tama-yong. Home to less than 6,000 people, Tamayong is a peaceful agricultural community of indigenous people.
Tamayong used to be covered by a lush secondary growth forest. But logging (mostly illegal), upland migration and agricultural expansion turned this paradise-like village into a rolling flatland planted with pineapples, bananas and plastic-covered cut-flowers. There was nothing to arrest the rush of water that would come cascading down the slopes of Mt. Apo whenever there was a heavy downpour. Massive soil erosion and flashfloods used to take place regularly especially during the rainy season.
Then Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who heads the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name or simply the Kingdom, came along and bought a 20-hectare slice of what villagers refer to as Purok Six. Nelida L. Lizada, senior vice president of the Sonshine Media Network and a highly trusted executive of Quiboloy, said they saw the dangers of not having any trees to protect the area from floodwaters that invariably came rushing down everytime it rained heavily.
Lizada, known simply as Neneng to Quiboloy’s flock, said they proceeded to reforest the area and the tree of choice was the Benguet pine.
“We started reforesting in the year 2000,” recalled Neneng. The Kingdom’s property covered 20 hectares and, with the concerted efforts of volunteers from among their ranks, the entire area is now covered with an estimated 30,000 pine trees. Neneng quoted a forest guard from the Bureau of Forest Development as saying that the area is the largest pine tree cover in the Philippines.
And their effort doesn’t stop there. Neneng said they have bought another 10 hectares which they intend to cover with thousands of pine trees.
So beautiful is the place that Pastor Quiboloy has decided to name the place The Glory Mountain as a tribute to “the glorious spectacle of restored paradise on earth.”
The Glory Mountain project is cited not only for the restoration of the mountain’s natural beauty but also for its contribution to preserving the ecological balance of the earth. Scientific studies reveal that an average pine tree absorbs 10 kilos of carbon dioxide from the air each year and releases enough oxygen each day to supply a family of four. Imagine how much carbon dioxide 30,000 pine trees can pluck from the atmosphere and how much clean and pure oxygen these same trees can release for families to breathe without fear taking in polluted air.
What’s more, these same studies show that each healthy tree can reduce air-borne dust particles by as much as 7,000 particles per liter of air. In other words, a healthy tree is a free standing air conditioner and purifier that doesn’t a single watt of electricity.
Source: PhilSTAR.com , Agriculture Section
Posted By: Roman Floresca, Philippines Star
10 Oct 2010
BUSINESS DIRECTORY: ORGANIC, HERBAL & NATURAL PRODUCTS