, May 22, 2024

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Web of Life at Masungi Georeserve

  •   3 min reads
Web of Life at Masungi Georeserve
Masungi Georeserve Instagram
by Marne Kilates

Droves of lovers of the outdoors, the nature and ecology-conscious, conservationists, and those just out for thrills have long been trooping to the most popular and accessible environmental tourism destination nowadays, the Masungi Georeserve at Baras, Rizal southeast of Manila.

Discover and explore the two main trails at Masungi. The Discovery Trail features the spider web-like netting and rope-bridge above the treetops. Find your balance as if on top of the world while bouncing and swaying on the nettings and gazing at the Metro Manila skyline in the distance and the shimmering Laguna de Bay. The Legacy Trail is Masungi’s tree-planting and forest recovery site. Leave your legacy at Masungi. Plant your tree.

Or, while enjoying all this, contemplate a bit the web of life that connects us all. For that’s what the rope nettings reminds us of: that you and me are part of life’s great web. From the roots of the trees and the lush vegetation, up to how water is stored in the watershed provided by the same trees, roots, and rocks, we are all continuously, inevitably linked. Each of us benefits in terms of the fruits and crops from the plants, the clean air, and again from the water stored among the rocks and trees.

How rainwater is stored and saved

Masungi’s limestone mountains are nature’s storage bins for the rain. That’s why they’re called “watersheds.” The Masungi area is the Upper Marikina Watershed. When these mountains are shorn of the trees and their roots (when they are rendered bald by logging or scraped bare by mining), nothing will hold back the water that becomes the floods rampaging through the lowlands of Metro Manila. Exactly what happened during such disasters brought by typhoons Ondoy and Ulysses.

The watershed protection and forest recovery activities of Masungi have been recognized and praised by environmental watchers from all over the world. Among these is the National Geographic Society which gave Masungi an Exploration Grant; and the World Conservation Congress which has made Masungi a Model for Man-Nature Interaction. It has also been given the Pathfinder Award by the Innovations for Conservation Financing & Resourcing by the IUCN, UNDP, and WildArk; and was a finalist at the United Nations World Tourism Organization at Destination Stewardship under the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards of the World Tourism Council.

All of these are much deserved recognition for Masungi Georeserve’s diverse works including forest preservation and recovery (e.g tree-planting), watershed maintenance, and environmental tourism in general.

Concern for nature: why we need it

In the middle of all this, vested interest continue to rear their ugly heads—the land grabbers and quarry operators who undermine Masungi’s work through spurious claims, eviction notices, and the exploitation of the native Dumagat population in the surrounding areas. The campaign of lies and misinformation goes on unabated on social media, as well as traditional media (press releases and paid radio commentators are also used to spread the lies). Exacerbating this is a do-nothing government that tolerates the campaigns against Masungi. But Masungi Georeserve will not give in or be intimidated. Its countless stories of doing good for the environment far outstrip the lies. Its weapon is more powerful: the truth.

It is no wonder that many who have a special concern for nature and the environment should come to the aid of Masungi. Many of them have banded together, even if informally, to defend Masungi. They continue to speak in its favor and encourage their friends to visit the place. And they are one in expressing their love for nature and join forces to help in the proper maintenance of the watershed, which in turn protects the metropolis from inundation.

Thus we see how connected we are. We help protect and maintain the Masungi mountains and watershed, the watershed stores our water and saves us from floods.

Let us enjoy the Masungi trails and adventure. Let us save Masungi from encroachers. And the Masungi Georeserve and watershed will help save us from catastrophe. Save Masungi, and it will help save our houses, our lives, our livelihoods.

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