“Puno ka ba? Kasi di ako mabubuhay nang wala ka.”

This is how Albert Guma, Environment Manager of Samsung Electro Mechanics Philippines (SEMPHIL) highlighted the importance of tress during his speech after conducting the tree-planting activity in one of Bantay Kalikasan’s (BK) eco-tourism sites, Lobo, Batangas. Humorous as it may sound, we are forced to understand its deeper meaning that trees truly play a vital role in the environment and in our lives. With the help of their 50 volunteers, they have planted 200 trees on the border of Mt. Nalayag in Lobo, Batangas, part of the Verde island passage known as the center of the center of marine biodiversity in the world.

Their willingness to contribute in the preservation of the environment was not hindered by the one-hour trek they had to go through before reaching the planting site. They literally crossed a river and climbed a mountain to reach their destination. “Nakakapagod po yung ganitong activity pero very fulfilling kasi first ko po ito at nakakatuwa po na makatulong ka para maprotektahan yung environment natin. Naisip ko na kaya ko pala, kasi we cannot make any changes if we will not begin in ourselves. Kailangan po matuto tayong maging active and go beyond our limits.” said Maridel Plabiano, one of the volunteers of SEMPHIL.

(It was a tiring yet very fulfilling activity because we are able to help protect the environment. We cannot make any changes if we will not begin in ourselves. We need to be active and go beyond our limits.)

The sacrifice they endured is small compared to the help they have given to the environment and to the future generation who will also benefit from such activities.

“The greater the sacrifice, the greater the love. I think they have shown that they are willing to sacrifice for the benefit of the community here in Lobo, for the benefit of the environment, for the benefit of our children despite the fact they can choose other sites nearer Manila, nearer Laguna, but they decided to be with us. So, we are really thankful for that,” said Rheal Dayrit, Deputy Program Director of ABS-CBN Foundation-Bantay Kalikasan, as he expressed his gratitude to SEMPHIL for choosing BK’s eco-tourism site to conduct their environmental initiative.

According to research, one tree can provide 260 pounds of oxygen. Thus, planting 200 trees will leave a great impact especially once they grow and propagate eventually.

Conducting tree-planting activities is more than just a worth-while activity, it is also something that raises an individual’s level of environment awareness.

Guma concluded the event with the quote, “The best time to plant trees is 20 years ago, and the second time is now.”