community projectLast Saturday, the head of the police group from Laoag that escorted a medical and dental mission arrived in Adams when we were about to start our service for indigents in the town. He came to where we were positioned and asked us what the LEAD Movement is all about. Curiosity, perhaps. We told him we are mountaineers from Laoag. We wanted to tell him more, but we had no time as the children were already in line.

We have been guided by the Core Values of our organization. It is known to us as the LEADERS TRAIL Leadership, Eco-consciousness, Altruism, Democracy, Equality, Respect, and Teamwork, Reliability, Action, Integrity, Loyalty. It is often that people ask us why we are doing what we do. It is hard to explain how we started looking beyond our simple dreams — enjoying nature and adventure. Our initial exploration was an awakening; it opened our eyes to the direness of the current situation of the environment. Establishing sustainable ecotourism projects, empowerment of the marginalized communities, promotion of environmental awareness are our long-term goals. As LEADers, we want to be a catalyst for change regarding responsible ecotourism and adventure.

We were scheduled for a group trek to Maligligay Falls on April 18, 2009, but we thought it was a good idea to give some love to the children of Adams, a postlude to their annual Tadek-Bagat Festival. We gave away used books, toys and clothing, and we delivered some to the month-old triplets — Ramy, Romy and Randy — in Sitio Maligligay. The 3 boys were in in the pink of health, and their mother too. She told us she has forgotten who’s who.

After visiting the famous triplets, we trekked to Maligligay Falls. On the trail, we saw cut trees and some abandoned wood boards. The ascent was tough because some areas were denuded. We felt bad that irresponsible timber poachers were at it again. It is very difficult to handle issues such as this one. Like a mob, there are big-league protectors, and it is usually the bush-league or small potatoes who get caught. Big money is usually involved — about 15,000 – 20,000 per load. The forest, where we trekked, is part of the Kalbario-Patapat Natural Park. How come the Protected Areas Management Bureau (PAMB), created by virtue of the NIPAS Act, and chaired by the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) is not doing their job? The DENR initiated the proclamation of the area; and also the endorsement of the Proposed Northern Ilocos Norte Natural Park. The DENR Region I office, headed by Dir. Cora Davis, was in Adams to attend the fiesta celebration, a day before we were there. We hope she noticed something too.

volunteerism

making a difference

the triplets

telltale signs

landslide

For additional photos of Maligligay Falls trek, click here.

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