KASAMA Vol. 12 No. 2 / April–May–June 1998 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

by Edgar Alexander G. Manlapao

My Lolo (grandfather) used to set aside some precious time with me for story-telling, not of aswang (evil spirit) or duwende (ghost), not of horrible world war experiences but of recollected memories of natural concord; of harmony with the environment.

With an overbearing gesture he would boast of the time when fresh spirits were breaking the surface of uncorrupted rivers. When brisk pairs of legs outrun other pairs down the slope of carpet meadows touched only by bare feet. When with the enthusiasm of the young people the hills responded with a blissful approval.

Today he tries to recapture such a marvellous panorama, only as long as his memory can serve him well and as long as he reads a book of the past or through the make-believe scenarios in the movies. For when he looks out the window, an entirely different scene is unfolding before his eyes.

Children today break apart a heap of garbage in our waters as it swims alongside with them. A decayed and leveled land has become the victim of the destruction brought about by the greedy, who, with their enthusiasm, the hills smile no longer as it breathes no more.

I fear what my Lolo had narrated to me I could not relate to my friends much less to the succeeding generation. What was a reality to the fortunate people before my era will soon be a cherished dream of the damned people after this age unless something is done about it.

The demand for environmentalists has mounted since the need for environmental conservation has escalated as well. There is lack of resource, not financial but the most powerful of all – committed human beings, individuals who want to substantiate their nature-association experiences as they relate them to their children.

The world at this critical period in our history calls on everyone to plant a seed, and to plant a favorable future as well. After all we did not inherit this world from our ancestors, we merely borrowed it from our children.

Reprinted from the December 1996 issue of Dunang-Manggad, newsletter of the Negros Forests & Ecological Foundation Inc., South Capitol Road, Bacolod City 6100, Philippines