Last June 18, Chloe decided to spend her 11th birthday in the Tungtong River. She spent the day with her family (Daddy Jodee, Mommy Mary Ann, Kuya Josh and younger brother Jose) guided by TRCP Coordinator Mr. Henry G. Calilung and TRCP Staff Alex Monserata Sr. Chloe’s family are from Quezon City and they do not study in HEDCen.
Getting to know HEDCen’s wilder residents
We started the day with a tour of the Holistic Education and Development Center’s animals, kept here for educational purposes. The kids had fun experiencing close encounters with otherwise creepy crawlies. It’s through moments like these that a child learns to, in the words of HEDCen’s foundress Teacher Emma Gutierrez, “Respect all creatures great and small.”
Not quite a walk in the park
After the wild halls of HEDCen, we went to the not-so-tame wilderness of Tungtong River. Chloe’s family trekked under a forest canopy, waded a sea of grass, filled their shoes with river water and got their fill of sunlight, wind, water and yes, the call of wild birds. Our trek ended on top of the Tungtong River falls where the group waited while Sir Henry and Kuya Alex set-up the rappel gear.
The family were a little scared at first but soon enjoyed the sensation of ‘going down a rope’ which is the definition of rappelling. Unfortunately, Jose is still too young for this activity so he contented himself splashing in the cool river waters.
Family fun at the falls
After the rappel, we rested a bit and had some fun at the base of the Tungtong River falls. This place is certainly worth protecting even if just for the smiles that it brings to the faces of children such as these!
Becoming a true guardian of this Earth
It took us only 20 minutes or so but this last part of the trip was the most meaningful not only for Chloe and her family but for the millions of Tungtong River resident plants and animals as well. The family planted 3 endangered Philippine native hardwood saplings- 2 Ipils (Intsia bijuga) and 1 Mulawin (Vitex parviflora). We ended the day with a nice picnic lunch packed prepared by Mommy Mary Ann.
Not only did Chloe get her birthday wish for an outdoor adventure, she also became a true guardian of this Earth. Happy Birthday Chloe!