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The Guilang-guilang community recently held a meet-and-greet session with several important organizations and representatives to discuss the potential of the area for Agrobiodiversity and Carbon Sink projects. The event took place at the tribal hall (Tulugan) located at Kapulingan Hill, Barangay Guilang-guilang, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon which is near the nesting area of the Philippine Eagle named Guilang-guilang.
The key participants in the meeting included members from GADNAI (Guilang-guilang Apo Datu Nanikunan Association Incorporation) and the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), with the presence of Dr. Jayson Ibañez, Director for Research and Conservation at PEF. Also in attendance were representatives from LGU MENRO, Mirova Natural Capital Inc., Global Evergreening Alliance (GEA), and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
The Global Evergreening Alliance (GEA) was represented by Julian Prior and Maaike Slotema. GEA is a global campaign that focuses on facilitating large-scale land restoration programs. The Catholic Relief Services (CRS), represented by Chin Nobleza and Hannah McLafferty, is an organization dedicated to helping people in need. Xavier Colet represented Mirova, which specializes in facilitating investments in nature-based solutions. All these organizations were invited as part of PEF's efforts to build a network of partners for a holistic strategy in ensuring the well-being of the Philippine eagle and the community that safeguards it.
The primary purpose of the meeting was to explore the potential of the Guilang-guilang area for Agroforestry and Carbon Sink projects. Agroforestry is a system or technology that involves planting perennial woody plants, such as trees, shrubs, bamboo, alongside crops and livestock on the same land-management sections. This approach helps in promoting biodiversity, conserving natural resources, and fostering sustainable agriculture practices.
Additionally, the participants discussed various carbon sink projects, which are initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the area. Examples of such projects include tree planting efforts and programs and seminars to promote the cessation of tree cutting and kaingin (slash-and-burn farming). By implementing these projects, the community can contribute significantly to mitigating the effects of climate change and preserving the critical habitat of the Philippine Eagle.
The GADNAI, under the leadership of Datu Enerio Sumohoy, also known as Datu Manlundigan, warmly welcomed the guests with a traditional tribal ritual called Pamuhat. During the Pamuhat, offerings of food, typically native chicken, along with alcohol and tobacco, were presented to appease Magbabaya (God) and seek permission from the spirits to protect the guests throughout their visit. “Ang sa amo nga kultura, nga gitarong, gidawat ang maong bisita o kinsa nga tao, bisan paman gali mananap tarungon namo kay ang gibilin sa among katigulangan nga mao kini among buhaton kung naa mi bisita." Datu Manlundigan made a point of highlighting the importance of hospitality in their culture, which was passed down to them by their ancestors.
Meanwhile, the Local Government of Manolo Fortich represented by Senior Environment Management Specialist Miles Salingay added, “Guilang-guilang is a cold place with warm people.”
As a reward for GADNAI's labor and dedication in overseeing the well-being of the Philippine Eagle and its habitat, future Agroforestry and Carbon Sink projects will be integrated into a biodiversity-friendly livelihood support program for its leaders and members.
There is a dedicated group in Barangay Guilang-guilang that goes above and beyond in protecting not only the Philippine Eagle but also the forests and all the wild animals residing in the mountains. Known as "Bantay Kalasan" volunteers in the local binukid language, which directly translates to "Forest Guard," they play a crucial role in safeguarding the natural habitat.
During the visit, the Bantay Kalasan volunteers provided valuable assistance to the guests, guiding them as they ascended the hill to get a closer view of the eagle's nesting site. Their presence ensured that the guests had a safe and informed experience during their exploration of the area.
Additionally, the guests received an extra layer of security and protection as they were also accompanied by the Philippine Army throughout their visit.
The meet-and-greet event provided an essential platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange among different stakeholders, fostering a collective commitment towards the conservation of the Philippine Eagle and the promotion of sustainable practices within the Guilang-guilang community. Through these efforts, the community aims to create a more environmentally responsible and ecologically balanced future for both the people and the iconic Philippine Eagle in their midst.
Date Posted: August 01, 2023