On August 19, despite the imminent heavy rain, students and teachers of ALC braved the three-hour bus ride that began at 6:00am to Los Banos, Laguna and trekked the forest trails of Mt. Makiling.
Students and teachers listen with rapt attention to an Outbound educator as she explains the importance of raptors as ecological barometers.
The educational tour started with a short stop-over at the UP Los Banos Museum of Natural History where students marveled at the exhibits of the different flora and fauna of the Philippines. They saw exhibits of living walking sticks taken from the forests of Mindanao and Laguna. They also listened to a brief lecture on the Philippine eagles and other raptors.
“One very amazing fact I learned is that Philippine eagles can decide to kill themselves when they are very stressed,” said Sr. Maria Iom from South Korea. “It is very important that we give them enough space and quiet to live their lives, and that means not disturbing their habitats and cutting trees in the forest,” she added.
After the museum tour, the students proceeded to the nearby Makiling Botanic Garden (MBG) and learned about the different tree species in the country, most specifically endemic dipterocarps.
The group doing intense stretching exercises before the start of the trek
“The Philippines is very lucky to have a very diverse flora and fauna,” said Sr. Flor from Argentina. “This reminds me of my own country and the Amazon Rainforest,” she quipped.
From MBC, students and teachers trekked for 30 minutes to Flat Rocks, an area in the forest that has a small stream and and a rocky water fall, where the group learned about the importance of watershed areas and trees in controlling floods and providing the people with water.
The group enjoying the sunshine and the cool water of Flat Rocks
“It was tiring, but all worth it,” commented Br. Santiago from Peru.
The 3rd Cycle educational tour was facilitated by Outbound Education that specializes in developmental learning programs “designed to validate theoretical learnings inside the classroom and apply these to the real world, in real time and in real conditions.”