Save the Trees in Montalban, Maharlika (Philippines)

This is the first post for mend-a-patch. Let’s mend the lungs of Montalban.

It was in July this year that i tagged along with a very good friend and her husband to Montalban to visit one of the Ang KaSaMa Inc. project lead by Dada Divapriya (Deo).

First, we went to the town in Quezou city, then to the forest in Montalban and ended in Manila city. The city always caused so much imbalance to my senses, the car honing, smoke from vehicle and everything is so cluttered together (Feel it?). All my senses are fully used! Another common senerio is the huge gap of living standard in the city of south East Asia. Along one street there is a fast food restaurant patronise by the university students (yes, they come from a wealthy family), just across the street people live in broken houses, children sleeping under the bridge etc… It is always make my heart feels so heavy, and feeling consciously helpless… but how to mend mine and theirs?

Huh… Going to the nature… i love the forest! The air is crisp and clean, the ‘walls’ are green, the sounds are gentle from the birds and insects. Montalban has no tourist! The beautiful villagers lived by the banks of the river. Marharlika Guest House is right at the end, a distance away from the human activities. Wow… Green Paradise!

Ang KaSaMa has started a wonderful project for the trees in the forest. They got the licence from the authority to protect the trees of the plot of forest land. They prevent the trees from logging. Marharlika Guest House was take over from a forest ranger who is related to the villagers, interestingly due to this relationship he has difficulities stopping them from doing any damage to the forest.

Dada has given Jagapal to maintain this place. Jagapal together with the youth volunteers work together to upkeep the place, they are the Forest Rangers!

One of the boy, Rasamay stayed in the Guest House most of the time. He had a horrible childhood, (yes, he could be one of those who live under bridge when he was only five or six) he lived alone in the street after his mum left him, and his father in prison. He was bought back by a member the organisation when he was badly bullied by a group of children. Good thing now he spent most of his time in the forest, maintain the place with Jagapal.

Jagapal being fatherly figure is a very gentle and sweet person, he cooked and took care of us when we are staying there. He oversees most of the work in this place, he even guide Rasamay in his study since he is very shy to learn in a school with all the very little children.

Tarakanath is from one of the tribe in Davao, but the tribe is force to move out. i feel so fasinating talking to him, beacause i have never talk to a tribe person so personal before!

Ang KaSaMa has always been active in inspiring youth to do something for the environment or arts. Due to the lack of job opportunity, many ladies in Philippines travel to other countries to work as a domestic helpers, but no demand for the boys if they do not attained some academic qualification. Hence, to prevent them from turning into taking drugs and alcohol Ang KaSaMa get them to volunteer for different project and hopefully create some job opportunity for them in the future.

As Dada has been coming to Singapore over the years to share his project and also to raise fund for these projects. I’m always curious about it, so without much thinking i made a trip to his project.

Instead of depending on donation to sustain this project, Dada planned to start a self-reliance tofu production.

The profit from the tofu sales will provide an allowance for the rangers, increase the allowance of the teachers (they have a daycare centre for the children in the villages and the maintenance of the place.

Tofu has demand! The villagers buy tofu from the market in the town daily, and it is also a good source of protein for the rangers. (forget to mentioned Ang KaSaMa promote vegetatrianism, so they are all vegetarian! Me too! :)).

Here i am… supporting this project! It is one of the most wonderful project! For the trees, for the people… and  ‘teaching them to plant instaed of feeding them everyday!’ So now i have to collect SGD1,000 for the start-up capital for the Tofu production.

Especially for Rasamay, as a young boy, he need some fund for his school fees and daily expenses. When we were there, we bought some necklace made by him, he used the money to buy a pair of second hand shoe for himself.

Hope this workout! 🙂