Skip to main content

Urban Adventure : Tree Trekking with Haribon

I get a high just walking around, staring at plants and trees - whether I'm in the city or out on a hike.  This year however, my admiration to nature has really grown. The feeling is oddly familiar, like developing an attraction to a friend where you suddenly develop a need to know almost every  detail about them - at least, that's how it is for me. :P 

Last February 27, I joined an urban tree trek organized by Haribon Foundation, the Philippines' pioneering environmental  organization. The activity, dubbed as "3Ts  Tree Trek" is part of the group's campaign to raise awareness on the importance of native trees. The Ts, stand for Tree, Trek and Tag, an event where participants are taught how to identify native trees and its role in biodiversity (the existence of the variety of plants and animals  in an environment).  You don't need to have a specific background or be part of an organization. You just have to be quick to sign-up! Event calendars are usually posted through their Facebook Page, Go Haribon. What's even cooler -  the lectures are free! 
Haribon members introducing themselves before we started the tree trek
The first two events were held in CCP and in Camp Aguinaldo but I never got to join until its 3rd run, which was at Kanlungan ng Sining, a garden inside Rizal Park (good place for some me time here!).  There are native trees planted inside the compound which made it a conducive place to learn about trees. 
Narra, the Philippines' National Tree grows easily and can be found in the major islands of Luzon, Visayas & Mindanao
After the organizers from Haribon introduced themselves, we played a game to break the ice. It involved some role playing and a Pinoy game, which in the street is  called "bato-bato picks" Haha! (Not sure how they call it in other countries but it involves using the hands to represent rock/paper/scissors). I was never fond of group or parlor games but for the love of trees, I actively participated and enjoyed it too! :P  The atmosphere in the group was congenial. The organizers were very open,  encouraged us to ask questions and provided additional trivia on trees. 

There were about 50  participants or maybe more, but we were divided into groups which made it easier to listen. We were also provided with a clipboard, a piece of paper and a pen so we can write notes. 


We were introduced to 11 native trees  -  Kamagong,  Botong, Balete, Banaba, Duhat, Molave, Is-is, Narra, Talisay, Dita and Hauili,  a small fraction of the 3,600 identified Philippine native trees.  The flow of the lecture was fun and informal. Fun details were shared about each tree. 

Trivia 1 : Did you know that the Balete or the Banyan tree is actually the National Tree of India? It's a different specie of balete though. :) 
With fellow tree lovers after the 3Ts activity. :) Photo from Oliver Pe
Once we were provided with techniques on how to identify trees, the lecture became even more  interesting! You need to stop and look at the tree -  consider its fruit, flowers, leaves - its apex (the tip of the leaf), shape and arrangement.  It can be very exciting! :) 

During the session, our lecturers also stressed the importance of planting native trees as these are recognized by other organisms, enabling the ecosystem to flourish. Exotic trees however, do the opposite and can even hamper the development of native trees. 

Trivia 2 : Duhat tree grows fast and can grown in not so fertile soil, very tolerant to heat and resistant to grass fires!

Check out this article on why we should plant native trees, An Appeal to People who Plant Trees, a must read to those who are planning to organize tree planting activities after summer.

3Ts Tree Trek is a very enriching activity, especially  for someone who is very eager to learn more about trees. I'd love to do this again and perhaps next time, it'll be on a mountain trail! :) Thank you Haribon Foundation! 

Haribon’s 3Ts (Tree, Trek and Tag) project is funded by the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation Inc. (PTFCF). Blowing kisses to you PTFCF!

Want to get more involved in nature conservation? Join Haribon! 
How to be a Haribon Member? 
Visit their Membership page to learn more about its benefits and register or renew your Haribon Membership. 
Contact Number :   +632 421-1209 
Email : membership@haribon.org.ph

To get updates on future activities, like Haribon on Facebook ,  Go Haribon
Instagram : Go Haribon

Want to expand your knowledge on trees? Check out these Social media accounts.  I am not an admin of any group and I strongly advise that you read the rules of the group before posting.  
Facebook : Philippine Native Tree Enthusiasts 
Facebook : Plant A Philippine Tree

and oh this friend, I like, if I were to compare him to a tree, he'd be an exotic Balete tree - beautiful but misunderstood. :P 


It's not very common that I meet people who feels overexcited about trees. If you're one, connect with me on Instagram (@jovialwanderer), let's tag each other on tree pics! 





Popular posts from this blog

Hiking in La Trinidad : Mt. Yangbew

To kickoff 2017, I  returned to the Cordillera region with one of my closest friends, Jules. We wanted to take it easy  so we decided to try a couple of short but very scenic trails in Benguet I found online (References posted below). 

Barangay Tawang in La Trinidad,the capital of the province of Benguet  is less than an hour from Baguio city and features several accessible, scenic mountain trails - Mt. Yangbew (also known as Mt. Jambo), Tayawan view deck and Mt. Kalugong. These are all beginner-friendly or as the younger Pinoy millenials would say, pabebe-friendly. :P
Since we were taking a super early bus ride,  (1:30 AM early! :P), we made sure  we got nice, comfy seats. Fortunately, with 3 days prior to the trip, we were able to book online via iWantSeats.

In five hours, we arrived in the City of Pines and walked towards Session Road to hunt for a hotel. Fortunately, a vacant room was immediately available at Benguet Prime Hotel so we were able to leave our bags.  We took our sweet t…

Part 2 : Bataan Adventures | Where to Eat in Bataan (Updated 2017)

Being an avid hiker and foodie, I've grown very fond of visiting  Bataan.  This province offers several hiking trails (check my post here) passing verdant forests and nicely decorated cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a proper cup of coffee and affordable comfort food. It is also highly accessible from Manila via land travel, making it a good option for a short but rewarding out of town adventure. 

Here's a list of restaurants in Bataan where you can enjoy satisfying meals. 

ANGELITOS (Orani)
The restaurant's name which means little angels (male) was inspired by the owner's 3 young boys, Miguel (after St. Michael), Rafael and Gabriel.This 2 year old family owned restaurant has a homey ambiance and serves any type of food that the family enjoys.

Dishes are flavorful and priced affordably -100 Pesos above for the main dishes and 20 Pesos above for the desserts.Specialty includes, pork binagoongan and creamy tofu (my fave!). The restroom which has a mini garden is als…

12 Useful things to Bring on your First Mountain Hike

Hiking has become very popular in the Philippines that it's now easier to find a mountain and come up with your own itinerary  or join an organized group. (Read 10 Tips on How to be a Good Climb Participant
If you're heading out to your first mountain hike and thinking of what to bring, here are a couple of tips. Note that this list was created as a guide and not a mandatory checklist. The items featured are based on what I observed to be  useful when hiking in tropical weather.

7 Hiking Tips for Beginners | 8 Essentials for Rainy Day Hikes by Basekamp PH

1.  Footwear
Footwear should enhance your experience outdoors and protect you from injury. There are shoes designed specifically for hiking but I encourage you to research the mountain  first before purchasing hiking shoes. Will there be sections where you need to cross rivers? How long will you be hiking?If the mountain has a clear and established trail that normally won't take more than 4 hours to complete, you can very w…