A Hiking We Will Go

Hubby S is a member of PBSP which had a tree planting activity last July 23.  The company where he works was sending 80 volunteers to help with the project and he also decided to let us all join.

We left the house at 7 in the morning in order to join the convoy to the site in Busay.  The organizations’ goal is to plant 15,000 seedlings that day.  Over 800 people showed up to help with the tree-planting activity and the event had a fun, festive vibe.

We had our little garden hoe so we were ready to plant.  The group was divided into 5 teams, each with their own guide and we took a hike into the mountainside.

The day was boiling hot.  Standing on the street before our hike, I could feel my skin burning.  It felt hot enough to melt plastic.
However, the minute we stepped into the forest, it was like there was an invisible wall and we stepped into an air-conditioned room.  It was cool and refreshing inside the forest.  Speaking from someone who has constant allergies and breathing problems, the difference between the air in the forest and out was dramatic.  I could breathe easier and the air smelled sweet.  It is a far cry from the smoggy air we are used to in the city.
The path towards the planting ground was very steep.  I was worried for the kids but was trying not to let it show.  Turns out I didn’t have to worry. Daughter C was like a mountain goat, outpacing all of us.  Son still needed help because some of the steps were half to 3/4 his height but we managed without any spills.
After a short hike, we found our planting spot.  We had to find pre-identified spots spread all over the area where there stakes driven into the ground and a small seedlings resting next to each stake.  We had to finish digging the small hole, slip the seedling out of its plastic pouch (without destroying the plastic because they needed to reuse it) and cover the hole with earth.  The plastic pouch goes on top of the stake so people will know the seedling has already been planted.

We got our hands dirty, and dug into the ground to plant our seedlings.  The ground was hard so it took a little digging to completely cover our hole.  We proceeded to hike all around our forest area, avoiding the super steep areas that even adults had trouble traversing then we hiked back up to our car.  A and I got bitten by some ants, we were a little sweaty from the hike but we had a lot of fun. A was so high from the hike he kept shouting “We are Number One!”  I think it’s all the oxygen going to his brain. C was so excited from the hike she kept saying she wanted to do it again.

We sat down outside our car beside the forest, and the kids had a snack.  S and I took the opportunity to tell our kids that we should take time out sometimes to do something that will help other people or help make the world a little bit better.  Planting trees is a good way for us to protect Mother Earth.  Since we were given so much, we should also take time out to give back in any little way we can.

Although there was a lot of whining at the beginning because of the early start, we all went home happy.  Luckily, for some reason, the ant bites didn’t raise the huge itchy rashes I expected.

Our learnings for next time, we just need to let the kids wear long socks and tuck their pants into them to protect from insects.

Hubby S and I plan to do this regularly and we plan to bring the kids.

It’s a brand new experience for them, something they can talk about and share with other kids.  It also broadens their horizons without the need of spending any money.  It is also an opportunity for us to bond as a family.

It’s a win win situation.

On a separate note:  Our picture appeared on the front page of Cebu Daily News last Sunday!  It was a pleasant surprise.

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