Last Updated on October 27, 2022 by Tina
Last Saturday (October 22), I joined a mangrove planting activity in Pila, Luna, La Union. I found out about the activity in a surf town Facebook group post. The first time I saw it I ignored the post because Luna is a bit far from San Juan. I don’t know how to commute to the venue if ever my brother wouldn’t want to drive for me. A week after that, Curma posted about the activity again. I decided to message the organizer to ask how to get to the venue. She told me she is planning to rent a van for the volunteers. She asked if I am willing to pay for the transportation and I said I don’t mind. (We ended up not having to pay for the transportation because Curma offered a free ride for us).
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The meeting place for the volunteers is at Sebay. While waiting for our ride, the organizer, Jillian Gutierrez told us it was her birthday and she wanted to do something memorable for her birthday that’s why she organized the activity. She said there are about 60 volunteers for the activity, some tourists, and others are locals from Luna.
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Mangrove Planting Activity in Luna, La Union
Prior to the activity, I thought mangroves only grow in coastal areas. But we planted the mangroves inland, far from the sea. Before we started planting, Ms. Grace Libong from the Office of the Governor- Environment and Natural Resources Unit (OPG-ENRO) gave a short orientation about mangroves. She said that in coastal areas, mangroves serve as the breeding grounds for fish. Inland, mangroves help during typhoons. They help to prevent erosion and reduce flooding.
After the short orientation, we took the seedlings that we were going to plant. We were told that the spacing of the seedlings must be around 0.5 meters to 1 meter. We decided to leave all of our things (phones included) and our footwear on the side of the road because we were going to plant in muddy soil.
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For the first few seedlings that we planted, the locals dig a hole for us because we didn’t have shovels. Later on, we discovered we can create a hole using our feet because the soil was soft. We started around 4:00 PM and we finished planting 700 mangrove seedlings in 30 minutes.
I’m glad I joined the activity. It feels fulfilling to know you did something good for the environment and I’m happy because I made new friends. We’ve been living in La Union since 2014 (although I rarely stay here before because of my profession) but it is only now that I’m meeting people from the community other than our neighbors.
I know the title of this post is misleading because mangrove planting activities in La Union are not done regularly. But you can follow the Facebook page and Instagram account of Curma to be informed of upcoming activities.
In case you were wondering if we went home with dirty feet, no we didn’t. There was a house near the planting site with a deep well where we washed our hands and feet. After that, we were given light snacks before going back to San Juan. And our day didn’t end there. I and my three new friends decided to have dinner at Tavern by the Sea. I had so much fun that day and I am looking forward to doing other fun activities with them again in the coming weeks.