Friday, May 05, 2006

A trip to La Mesa Ecopark

Several negative things have been written about Metromanila - pollution, traffic, garbage concerns, bombings, etc. Well, despite all these, something good has happened in Metromanila - the La Mesa Nature Reserve and Ecopark.

I had recently been to Puerto Princesa City in Palawan and had been so envious about how it has so far been maintained and kept clean despite the fact that it has become one of the major tourist attractions in the Philippines. Mayor Hagedorn has his right foot on the accelerator and the people has responded well to him.

During my younger years, mom had brought me and my siblings to the La Mesa dam. It has not since been maintained well and reports were that the watershed had continually regressed. but, like the forests of Palawan, the watershed had been reforested and restored to more than how I remember it to be. Now there are plenty of tall trees, the grass is greener, there's a proliferation of different animals including butterflies which you rarely see in manila these days, camping ground, swimming pool, and other recreational facilities.

We had a visit at the La Mesa Watershed today. I had previously watched advertisements and shows where the dam had been featured and to my surprise and satisfaction, the dam is more than what has been publicized about it. Bantay Kalikasan must have really done a lot to restore the place. I take my hat off to them. But somehow they should also be able to really reach out to the people in terms of really educating them during their visits. It's a pity to see how some people take their time, money, effort and other resources to build and help something that takes practically years(!!!) to accomplish while yet others who are mere bystanders try to watch what the poor guys do and even contribute to the detriment of the activity. I refer to the trash in La Mesa. Sure there are numerous (and I mean numerous!) garbage bins that are even color coded for the segregation of trash. There's even a fine on littering. But do the people use them? Some do while others - many of them - don't. It is a good thing that the bantay kalikasan has stationed some volunteers/employees to watch over the place.

Perhaps a better option is to have some volunteers give an orientation of the place, how it was before and how it is and should be. The place must be protected and the environmentalists (I consider myself as one) should enjoin everyone especially the guests who go to La Mesa to contribute at least by trying to promote the park and maintain the place as they had found it. I'm sure even the boy scouts and girl scouts would be able to do this. Perhaps the DepEd (and CHED perhaps) should require that the protection of La Mesa be part of the curriculum? How can we contribute to the cause? Can we attain the same success as the people of Palawan? I wonder...

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