The Parable of the Apple Seeds

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Tree planting (c) Dakilanglaagan

I’m greatly fond of apples that I ended up planting its seeds when I was young. I did all means taught by my teacher in order for it to grow fast and bear fruits. Of course, living in a tropical island, we all knew what happened to those poor seeds. Together with them, my interest in planting died. I gave planting a second chance when I was in grade six and was asked to propagate a plant using one of the many asexual methods taught in class. To support this, my lola gave me three bougainvillea branches to which two I have taken care of. Since my pot was small and could no longer accommodate the third bougainvillea, my mother got it from me and instantly inserted it among the other plants in her makeshift garden. Two months after, I brought to school and submitted… the bougainvillea planted by my mother. You know already what happened to the other two.

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Baloy mossy forest (c) Dakilanglaagan

You see, I have long rest my case with planting and have long accepted the fact that I was born to eat the fruits others labored. Since then, I never got interested in all kinds of planting activities. But when you have spent most weekends around Cebu mountains, experienced majestic moments amongst the mossy forests of Pulag, Kanlaon, and Baloy, and saw firsthand the destruction brought about by industrialization and rise of economy, it becomes difficult not to entertain the idea of reforestation.

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Campo Siete Manmade Forest (c) Dakilanglaagan

While Cebu has many manmade forest sites, which would match Bohol’s pride, many of these are products of poor planning and research. It turns out that many of these tree planting activities are flawed and have defeated the purpose of reforestation. Much of the trees planted years ago were composed of exotic species and recently found to be invasive and harmful to the local environment – say mahogany and gmelina. Aside from the wrong choice of trees, many of these seedlings were left to die after every tree planting activities. Once the pictures were posted and captions such of #SavingtheEnvironment #TakingCareofMotherNature #Environmentalist were made, very few dares to revisit the tree planting site which defeats the sustainability of the project. Who knows if they were eaten by cows and goats? What is the survival rate of those seedlings?

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Participants from all walks of life gathering for the tree planting activity (c) Dakilanglaagan
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Tree planting at Pamutan, Cebu City (c) Dakilanglaagan
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Tree planting at Pamutan, Cebu City (c) Dakilanglaagan
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Trailblazing in going to the road proper (c) Dakilanglaagan
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Too engrossed with tree planting that they didn’t realized they were already uphill climbing (c) Dakilanglaagan

But well, we take our chances right? Thanks to “legal” and “illegal” logging, we are now left with only 3% of the original forests where native trees grow. So when Sir Juan posted about a tree planting activity within the Central Cebu Protected Land (CCPL), I immediately got interested with the idea most especially that its nearby the Spartan Trail (Banawa – Pamutan). Since I (and many other hikers) frequent in the area, why not upgrade the usual weekend hike? The idea of planting 10,000 native seedlings sparked interest to many – including Sir Jayvee who brought his family for this event. His son, Gabe, stoked inspiration to many adults and moved them to a realization that kids these days must be exposed to the outdoors and activities that would cultivate values such of patience and respect for the integrity of creation and environmental sustainability.

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Sir Jayvee teaching his son the proper way of transferring the narra seedling (c) Dakilanglaagan
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Gabe demonstrating to his parents how planting is properly done (c) Dakilanglaagan
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Mother and son bonding (c) Dakilanglaagan
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Trees used in boatmaking (c) Dakilanglaagan

Now that I think about it, maybe my apple seeds didn’t die in vain. Maybe, they were been duly nourished and cultivated through time and experiences amongst the mountains and the people I meet on trail. They were watered with knowledge and wisdom learned from every encounter of strangers, friends, and dear people to keep. They were warmed by the love felt with those who do extra mile so that others may live in abundance and sustainability. And hopefully, they will continue growing and providing shades of inspiration to those who read this blog and those I will soon meet on the days to come. Truly, there is so little that we can do.  But it has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world. Shouldn’t we take our chances?

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Photo op with Sir Juan Yao (Laag Lokal) (c) Dakilanglaagan
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Sir Juan with Sir Jayvee’s family (c) Dakilanglaagan

PS. Hope you find time to plant on your next hike. If you frequent in an area, might as well leave a legacy there right? Let’s share each other’s story below or in our Facebook or Instagram sites. If you feel this is insightful, feel free to share. See you on trails!

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