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! 

Past adventures

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