Monday, July 9, 2007

Arroceros Forest Park - Sunday in the park with hordes

Pardon the gimmicky title. it's been awhile since I've last ventured into the Arroceros Park in downtown Manila. Ever since the city of Manila decided to make it a site of the public school teachers living quarters, it was kept off-limits to the public. We even attempted to shoot there early this year but without the requisite permit or letter of request, we opted not to go through the red tape and defer it to a later date. but wanting to test my new camera for outdoor shots and finding my Sunday noon free, ventured to the park and tried my luck.

I was happy to be allowed entry by the very accommodating Ono. I was just appalled by the spaces used to be planted to trees which are now sites of either the living quarters or concrete walks. The old growth forest was being turned into a formal garden. Anyway, I met interesting people there -- Pio Andrada of the Inquirer, two freelance writers (whose name I will get the next time we meet), CPA by day and weekend artist Fermin Arceo (an uncle of my friend, Ross Capili) and Dan Pasia, a radio broadcaster and green advocate. Dan challenged me to get involved in the Green Network whose ambitious plans include photodocumenting the entire breadth of the Manila and Pasig rivers all the way to Laguna de Bay. It's a good cause, and one I'm interested in.

There's much to be done to somehow bring the park even to half its original state. Pio commented that there was kamagong tree cut down, perhaps sold for a steep price or turned into a priceless dining table by some VIP. Sad that what took generations to grow took only an hour to cut, and to serve what purpose? as a conversation piece of some bigwig. Anyway, let's just help out where we can in replanting the forest. The city needs more of green spaces if we don't want to drown and suffocate in the near future.


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