Tungtong River Conservation Project

an environmental advocacy of the Holistic Education and Development Center

Category: Envi Camps & Other Activities

Providing oxygen for 140 people every single day (G3 Tree Planting, 20 April 2016)


The Grade 3 batch of HEDCen went to the river as part of their Science class under Teacher Mariel.  With the guidance of Sir Justin Duque and other TRCP staff, the children got a first-hand immersive experience on walking the HEDCen talk of becoming Better People for a Better Earth.

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The day began with a short talk by TRCP Coordinator, Mr. Henry Calilung.  More familiarly referred to by HEDCen students as Sir H, he gave instructions on the proper way of planting the trees and of why it is important to plant native trees in our forests.  From HEDCen, we proceeded to trek to the tree planting site.  A bee hive (known in Tagalog as pulot pukyutan) and madre cacao blooms greeted the class on the trail.  Sir H also showed the Grade 3 students a sapling of Sindora supa (locally known as supa) which was planted by volunteers of Hands On Manila last 2011.  The supa tree is valued for its durable timber and aromatic oil.  Unfortunately, extensive logging of this species has earned it a place in the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List of endangered species.  What makes the supa doubly special is that it is found only in Luzon and Mindoro.

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The first activity was tree planting.  The Grade 3 students planted 35 ipil saplings.  Known to botanists as Intsia bijuga, ipil trees (not to be confused with the more common ipil-ipil) are another valuable timber species.  They very much deserve to be called by their English common name of Moluccan ironwood.  Used globally in heavy-duty construction (including railroad track supports!), ipil tree stands throughout Asia have been thoughtlessly cut down.  Very few natural stands remain and no sustainable ipil plantations have been established.  Apart from its timber, ipil also has extensive yet untapped medicinal properties.  The tree planting was also a meaningful bonding experience between parent and child (or guardian and child for some cases) as the following pictures attest.

The tree planting was followed by a short break.  The students had some fun frolicking round the water falls after eating their snacks.  The result?  Plenty of wet pants and wide grins!

The Grade 3 Science activity was concluded with a short river cleanup.  No, they did not pick up loads and loads of trash but just the same, the cleanup (and the entire day) was a success.  Why so?  This is because TRCP was once again able to bring children one step closer to their Mother Earth.

A note on the title of this post:

It is estimated that a fully grown tree produces oxygen for four people every day.  So if all 35 saplings achieve their full potential (in about 10 years), that’s enough oxygen for 140 people everyday!






Interview by CISV, March 18, 2012


From left to right (back row): Fatima Cuervo (HEDCen HS IV 11-12); Luis Hombrebueno (HEDCen HS IV 11-12); Anna Marco (Coordinator, Interviewer); Sam Santos (HEDCen HS IV 11-12); and Henry Calilung (TRCP Coordinator) From left to right (front row): Diego Jose (Freelance Photographer for “Press Play for Change” photo exhibit); Riya Morales (Summer Camp Committee Head, CISV Philippines); and Dafrose Bajaro (HEDCen HS IV 11-12)

The Tungtong River Conservation Project was chosen to participate in a photo/video exhibit by the Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV) for their annual Asia Pacific Regional Workshop and Junior Asia Pacific Regional Conference to be held in Antipolo from March 30 to April 4, 2012.

Entitled Press Play for Change, the exhibit will feature persons who are making an impact for the better in their local communities.

For more info on CISV, mouse over to http://qc.cisv.ph.

The photo/video shoot was held last Sunday, March 18, 2012 at the Tungtong River.

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Thanks to Teacher Jali Fernando (CISV Volunteer and HEDCen Val Ed teacher for HS IV; seated at front right in the photo below) who made this event possible!


Spreading the Eco-Gospel

The Tungtong River Conservation Project Coordinator, Henry Calilung, gave a talk cum tree planting activity to a group of pre-schoolers at the Mano Amiga Academy in the Habitat for Humanity compound in Taguig City, Metro Manila last March 1, 2012.  He was invited by the Global Responsibility Head for Rustan’s Coffee Philippines, Ms. Zee Perez and by the Mano Amiga Development Director, Ms. Lyn Pinugu.

Mr. Calilung, or Sir H, talked about the state of the Philippine environment and how each Filipino, from the youngest to the oldest, the poorest to the richest, is not exempt from conservation work.

As a finale and application of the lesson, Sir H, Ms. Zee, Ms. Lynn, and Sir Mark (a Mano Amiga volunteer) guided the pre-schoolers in the planting of three saplings of Apitong (Dipterocarpus grandiflora), a critically endangered Philippine native tree.

One of TRCP’s thrusts is to spread the eco-gospel, to call for a personal commitment to change one’s lifestyle and sustainably use our vanishing resources.  With each visit and extension work, we hope to gather enough young minds to form a critical mass of Filipino youth dedicated to the restoration and conservation of the Philippine environment- from backyard streams to mountain heights.  For, in the final analysis, the youth will inherit this Earth- or what’s left of it.

Here are pictures of the event with comments lifted verbatim from the facebook post of Ms. Zee.

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To learn more about Mano Amiga, mouse over to their blogspot or their facebook page.

Grades 4 Charles Darwin and Francis Bacon- cleaning up the river

The Grade 4 students of the Holistic Education and Development Center at the Little Farm House helped clean the river on successive dates last February 23 and 24, 2012.  They were supervised by teachers Rubby Alcaraz (Chemistry), Henry Calilung (Environmental Science) and Dobie Cajayon (Art, Music and Filipino).  The students also watered the trees in our Tree Conservatory.  Cheers to all young ones (and the young once in this group, hehe)!  May we all continue to grow in our love for nature and in our fierce passion to protect and restore our Mother Nature’s treasures!

Friends, feel free to copy the pictures but please remember to tell whoever will listen where the originals are posted- at hedcentrcp.wordpress.com.

Tumungtong kami sa Tungtong (adapted from a post in the Facebook page of Creative Space)

The Grade One and Pre-School students of Creative Space visited the river as part of their science program. Their visit was divided into two sessions (Jan 26 and Feb 11). Here's the first of two posts:

We started with learning how to study birds using binoculars. Here we see eager students aiming double-barreled optics at our feathery friends. We found out that birds are nature's tree planters.

Our trek to the river was spiced up by a nod from a sunflower. How wonderful to see the students' reactions to nature's beauty! We learned that a sunflower is actually composed of hundreds of individual flowers. The petals are called ray flowers (or florets) while the central disc is made of tiny disc flowers.

Chips off the old block? Children today are children of concrete and electricity. It is not uncommon to meet a high schooler who mistakes a cow for a carabao on sight. It is comforting to know that there are still parents who take time out to bridge the gap between nature and their kids. Our children will after all, inherit this Earth. Cheers to the parents who accompanied us that day!

Budding environmental chemists? It is a challenge to teach so-called advanced topics to young students. Who says that the use of a field pH meter is only meant for older students? In reality, the wonder and curiosity of young learners often makes it easier to teach them "advanced" topics. What they may lack in comprehension is certainly made up for by their enthusiasm!

Our lesson on the pH meter was followed by basic hydrology techniques such as measuring the width..

..and depth of river basins. We learned the importance of monitoring the health of river ecosystems since so much depends on them. These science lessons, held outside the classroom, are a fun way of forming our young ones into true protectors of our Earth.

And here's more of the fun part of learning about the environment. When our children enjoy the benefits of a clean river, the task of impressing them with the need to conserve Nature becomes much easier.

Our Tungtong River field trip ended witha tour of HEDCen's Science Laboratory in which we learned about carnivorous plants such as Venus fly traps and pitcher plants,..

...scorpions (!),..

..and ball pythons! We learned that we should respect all creatures great and small. This is a favorite saying of Teacher Emma- the Center Director of the Holistic Education and Development Center at the Little Farm House (the host institute of the Tungtong River Conservation Project).

The Creative Space children were accompanied by outgoing teachers. We teachers often think of our students as our very own children- the sparkle of wonder we see in their eyes is for us, a treasure beyond measure. P.S. Don't be fooled by this teacher's expression. She's not afraid of the snake- she's wary of the frogs croaking to her from a nearby shelf =).

The students of Creative Space couldn't resist making use of the space in our general assembly stage. I had fun facilitating the first part of their river immersion trip and from the looks of their faces, the children had as much fun as I did. Cheers!.

To view the full photo album, follow this link.

It's Gandhi's turn

The 3rd HS students of HEDCen (Section Gandhi) will have an overnight class at the Tungtong River this Monday, 3PM to Tuesday, 12NN (Oct 10 to 11).  This is to orient the incoming Senior students on the various research protocols conducted by the Tungtong River Conservation Project personnel.  This will greatly help them in choosing their thesis when they come in next school year.

For more details, download this pdf file.

River clean-up by Year I and II (Aug 26, 2011)

The Year I and II HS students of the Holistic Education and Development Center did their share in cleaning up the Tungtong River last August 26, 2011.  This activity was done in lieu of their outreach for Values Education.

I waited for some time to get the photo compilation and here they are finally.  Enjoy!

Follow this link to the Facebook album  (Many thanks to Joannah Rivera for the pictures!)

Complete album of the Bach & Beethoven river clean-up (15/09/11)

Check out the pictures taken by HEDCen’s Sir Myke Toquero!

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig Van Beethoven clean up Tungtong River!

Nope, I don’t mean the musicians but the jolly kids of Grade 3 Bach and Beethoven.  These two primary sections of the Holistic Education and Development Center comprising 49 well-rounded students (and some of them are really round!) went to the Tungtong River for a 3-hour clean-up session last Thursday, September 25 from 12nn to 3pm.  Teacher Jo, Sir Rollie, and yours truly accompanied these young environmentalists on their mission to save a small corner of this Earth!  Mabuhay kayo!


Thanks for the pictures Sir Rollie!  (To see more pix, follow this link to Sir Rollie’s facebook album.)

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