“Greener Cebu” Mangrove Planting at Alonguinsan: IBM in Collaration with RAFI

“Planting and maintaining mangrove forest greatly contribute not only in ensuring the balance in our ecosystem and for the protection of our natural resources and people. It also helps in bringing back biodiversity, in developing eco-tourism, and sustaining socio-economic development in our country. Thus, community-based initiatives are crucial the preservation and nurturance of the environment,” Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) President Roberto E. Aboitiz said.

Last June 16, 2012 was my first ever mangrove tree planting experience. It was organized by IBM Philippines, in collaboration with RAFI, as part of its 75th Anniversary. It was their 2nd year of organizing the activity. The previous year, IBM Employees of the Philippines and PBSP Visayas worked together on a mangrove reforestation project in Olango Island. And for this year, they went Midwest part of Cebu – Poblacion, Aloguinsan. The aim of the project is to create healthier mangrove forest that will directly and indirectly boost the town’s main source of livelihood.

Aloguinsan, known as a fishing town in the Midwest Cebu, has over 5,000 households that depend on fishing for a living. It is said that 75% of all the tropical commercial fisheries pass part of their lives through mangroves because it serve as nursery grounds, provide shelter for food.

Few more minutes to 12:00 noon, we (some IBM employees, CBSi Bloggers & IluvCebu Team) arrived at the Municipal Hall of Aloguinsan. We did not directly go mangrove planting but instead, we first had an eco-tour at the famed Bojo River – river cruising at its best (see separate post: Bojo River Cruising). It was an information overload and fun eco-tour. I threw a lot of questions to our guide about mangroves.
Bojo River at Alonguinsan, Cebu


After that, we then proceeded to Aloguinsan’s AloDome, where majority of the IBM Employees gathered in preparation for the tree-planting. There, we had our voracious late lunch. When chow time was over, the program was officially opened – To Mangrove Planting, We go! We headed out the gym and took a short walk to the venue. And before we began, RAFI representative gave a short briefing on how to properly plant Mangrove seedlings. Let’s get it on!


A RAFI representative demonstrating on how to peel off the black plastic from the seedling.

As I have said, this was my first tree-planting experience. It was fun, really. At first, I somehow hesitated since it was low tide and the place was muddy and I brought no extra shorts. I took careful steps and looked for a spot to plant my first seedling. As I was planting, I forgot how muddy the ground was. I was enjoying, like big time – no joke!  It was really a nice feeling that in my own little way, I did something that would surely benefit the environment.

Grown mangrove seedlings ready to be planted.
An IBM employee peeling off the black plastic from the mangrove seedling to be replanted.
Synchronized Mangrove Tree-Planting headed by Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, IBM Country President and General Manager

Everybody cooperated, everybody planted and surely, everybody enjoyed. I so wanna thank Sir Owen Cammayo and the whole IBM Team for this opportunity and experience. I would love to join you guys on your third year of Mangrove Tree Planting!

And the final pose… SMILE!!!

Photo Credits to Geemiz.com for the last two images.