Follow LoyarBasikal June’s BikeVentures in her (singular?) mission to get LoyarBurok’s forest, along with other things she speaks about here of course!
When I said yes months ago to participate in a 24-hour mountain bike fundraiser in the Philippines, I said yes out of solidarity for a unique cause. While this isn’t the first bike challenge fundraiser for the Cordillera Conservation Trust (CCT) to raise funds to re-forest the denuded areas of the Cordillera Mountains, it is however the first challenge where an all-female team would take the reins and represent women working on environmental issues.
This challenge will highlight the importance of women in supporting sustainability, and recognises that women are pivotal natural resource managers in their communities and elsewhere in the Cordillera mountain region. With the funds raised a forest of 25,000 saplings of indigenous species in Kapangan and Tublay in the Central Cordillera would be re-built.
How could I not say yes?
The first time I tentatively broached the idea to LoyarBurok on possibly supporting this cause, I was greeted with very positive responses. It was very heartwarming to know that a group of amazing Malaysian activists were interested in supporting re-forestation efforts in the Philippines. And oh yes, if we raised enough money, we would get a hectare of forest named after LoyarBurok too.
Within less than a week, my expectations was surpassed – we not only met our goal but we raced past it to come up with a sum of RM2220 (PHP31,908).
We are getting our LOYARBUROK forest!
The all-female team will be represented by: Jaja Reyes – an elementary teacher who is also a member of Team David’s Salon, the first all-women multi-sport team in the Philippines; Adamey Domogo – a preschool teacher who spent her childhood playing in the forests and rivers of Sagada and Besao; Raech David who works in advertising and is a member of the UP Mountaineers; Valerie De Guzman who sums up the girls’ determination when she says that she will give her best for the benefit of the project; and oh, of course, me.
And so, on 15 January 2011, we’d be a-sweating, a-grunting, a-pedalling up and down a planned route that runs through Trinidad-Kapangan-Kibungan-Bakun-Buguias-Kabayan and described as having rough roads with regular altitude changes. Did I mention that it would take oh, about 24 hours to complete the route?
I just hope I’d return to Malaysia in one piece, but one thing’s for certain: LoyarBurok has made its mark in the Philippines. And soon, the world?
June is a Malaysian conservationist from Sarawak, where she was born and raised. She is of Krokong-Bringing (Dayak Bidayuh) and Filipino (Tagalog) descent and now seeks peace and acceptance in the Philippines. She worries about how to stay unmarried through tweeting at @j_rubis.