Mangroves are trees or shrubs that thrive in saline water, thus, it normally can be found in seashores. Mangroves are trees that are exposed to highly extreme environmental elements like salinity, water saturation, dessication, and exposure to saline air because of the water breeze as they are commonly found near riverbanks and seashores.
Mangroves however, have grown under extreme pressure from a lot of things. Human activities and interventions, most especially illegal logging has affected and led to the degradation of these mangroves. Using mangrove as wood products have highly affected mangrove development. There are also those which were unconcerned about the environment turning mangrove parks into aquaculture ponds and other livelihood.
This June, as we celebrate the Environment Month, and being part of the SOCCSARGEN Bloggers group here in my place, I am proud to have been part of a successful event we have dubbed as Mangrove Tree Planting Party. Main mission of this activity is to encourage planting, protection, recovery and development of the mangroves in General Santos City.
I woke up as early as 3am, very excited to do my part in helping to save Mother Earth by planting mangroves. Bariles texted us as early as 5:30 and a friend fetched me from the highway directly to Purok Asinan.
When we arrived in the area, the orientation just ended and the planting already began. We were shown how to plant trees so that when the high tide comes, the mangrove saplings will stay stuck in the place where we planted them and will be tied to a bamboo stick also stuck deeply in the mud for the mangrove to survive.
You have to brave the knee-deep mud. It was super soft and heavy for the legs to carry. It was as if you are gonna be stuck in a quicksand. Ever tried mudpack? That's how soft the mud feels on our legs. It is easier to lift the legs if you have power and energy bringing it to the surface, but for those who are heavy, it takes them an awful lot of effort to do so.
There were over 100 participants. With the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) as our partner, we were able to plant at least 2,000 mangrove saplings. This event was initiated by the SOCCSARGEN Bloggers but were actively participated by different groups, including college students from Mindanao State University, my Alma Mater, Petron Gasoline Station, Music City VideoK Bar, the Air Force and many others.
Not only was it a FUN activity, but it was a very worthwhile one. We did a great job in helping to preserve Mother Earth by planting mangrove trees that may protect us from the tsunami, or even salvage our economy by the wide range of valuable forest products they provide.
Getting my hands and feet wet and dirty was none of my concern that time, nor of my friends and group mates. We just wanted to do our share, and as we planted, we were saying a prayer that the mangrove we planted will have to survive so that it can protect us during times of trouble.
The rich, the poor, no one was above us that very time. We were there to mingle with everybody. We united as we planted.
Friends stopping for some picture-taking while having fun with sticking the mangroves half a meter down the muddy flats/seashore.
And resting after we have planted at least 10, some of us were able to plant 25 or more. My applause to my mates for braving the pressure of the mud flats.
It was a fulfillment for us as bloggers to have initiated such a successful event enjoining many others to plant mangroves. My salute to those who woke up early to be with us and grabbed a sapling. Even with their designer and branded shirts and shorts, some people were just oblivious to how these expensive shirts will lead to.
Despite the heat of the sun, and the sleepy moods we were still in at that time, we are proud to say: We have done our part, and will continue doing so!
Nota Bene: Thanks to Brian Dan Congson for the pictures! Thanks for being there to document this activity.