Love for mangroves: Bulacan-based youth organizations conducted mangrove tree planting

By Benjamin Sarondo

The Junior Chamber International (JCI), Malolos Chapter, in partnership with Sentrify Technologies Corporation, Bulacan State University Student Government (BulSU SG), and BulSU SG Environmental Committee, conducted a two-day mangrove tree planting in Sucol, San Sebastian, Hagonoy, Bulacan, on August 19 and 23, 2023. 

BAKLOD stands for BAKawan sa LungsOD (mangroves in the city). This program aims to propagate mangroves in Bulacan, especially in coastal areas such as Bulakan, Hagonoy, Obando, Paombong, and the City of Malolos. 

After identifying healthy mangrove propagules, a volunteer carries them to prepare for pagsasasa. (Kent Cedric Ramos)

“This program was born out of our continued commitment to reforestation and environmental well-being,” Lance Arojado, JCI’s Vice-President for Individualism, said. “This initiative aims to transform the area into an eco-tourism destination in Bulacan as well as help the environment since mangrove trees have a lot of positive impact on the environment.”

Arojado said the decision to embark on planting mangrove trees arises from the organization’s deep-rooted commitment to nurturing the environment and fortifying communities against the ever-growing threats posed by climate change. “Mangrove trees emerge as potent agents of ecological transformation, offering multifaceted advantages that align perfectly with JCI Malolos’ vision.”

Planting new beginnings

The volunteers sorted through 3,000 mangrove propagules, identifying healthy specimens and removing around 500 dried propagules. “The propagules came all the way from Aklan, a sponsorship courtesy of our co-JCI chapter known as JCI Aklan Kalantiao.” 

Healthy propagules underwent pagsasasa, a process involving submerging them in water and arranging them to prevent sinking. “On day two, we transferred these healthy propagules to plastic seedling bags filled with nutrient-rich clay from Bukid.” 

Tatay Matthew, a local of San Sebastian, Hagonoy, Bulacan, owns the mangrove nursery the organizations partnered with. He is an advocate for mangrove conservation and believes in the importance of this tree, especially for residents near coastlines like him. He guided the volunteers throughout the whole two day activity.

Tatay Matthew, the owner of mangrove nursery, arranged the mangrove propagules before transplanting along the coastline. (Kent Cedric Ramos)

The saplings will remain in the mangrove nursery for four months before being transplanted along the coastline to assure that the mangrove’s morbidity rate will be low.

“Our hope is to secure a location supported by the LGU where these mangroves can thrive and fulfill their ecological role,” Arojado stated.

Lance Arojado, JCI Malolos Vice-President for Individualism, submerges mangrove propagules to assess their viability. (Marlin Ople)

Empowering and engaging youth

Arojado said that with active participation, youth not only contribute to ecological improvements like the reproduction of mangroves, which weakens the impacts of typhoons, and provide habitat to different animals, but also champion a legacy of environmental stewardship for generations to come. 

Jerson Robles, the Vice President of BulSU SG, added that the involvement of youth is important in changing the system and restoring balance to the environment. “They must be knowledgeable when it comes to environmental protection and conservation to save future generations,” Robles added. 

“Involvement in initiatives like mangrove planting fosters a firsthand understanding of the interconnectedness between human actions and the environment. By immersing themselves in tangible projects, youth and students develop a sense of ownership over the planet’s well-being.” 

“Looking ahead, we aspire to extend the reach of Baklod beyond our current borders, venturing into other provinces to share the success story of mangrove conservation and inspire LGUs to recognize its intrinsic value,” Arojado said. “Our commitment to mangrove conservation and environmental preservation remains steadfast, and our upcoming programs will continue to reflect this enduring dedication.”

A BAKLOD volunteer transferred a healthy propagule to plastic seedling bag filled with nutrient-rich clay. (Kent Cedric Ramos)

Some of the youth organizations are focused in the education sector or in the field of sports, but these Bulacan-based organizations and student councils are committed to contributing to solving the problems that they experience firsthand.

Photos courtesy of JCI Malolos and BulSU SG

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