Masungi Georeserve takes center stage in BOx RecWeek 2021

Written by Prince Soriano
Photo by Ranger Nilbert of Masungi Georeserve
Illustration by Matthew Profeta
Published 11 November 2021

Members of Ateneo BOx visit the Masungi Georeserve. Photo by Ranger Nilbert of Masungi Georeserve

The Ateneo Biological Organization (BOx) has partnered with Masungi Georeserve to raise awareness and support for forest rangers and the conservation of protected natural areas in our environment, during the BOx Recruitment Week (RecWeek) 2021: Forest and Nature Reserve on September 6–18, 2021.

Unlike last year’s RecWeek, an information campaign accompanied by merchandise sale was also held by BOx this year in benefit of the forest rangers of the Masungi Georeserve, a protected conservation area in the southern parts of Sierra Madre in Rizal.[1] 

For all life

In messages previously released through social media, the management of Masungi Georeserve emphasized that ‘biodiversity conservation in the Philippines faces a staggering 80% funding gap,’ and that the pandemic further worsened the impact to local conservation efforts primarily led by forest rangers in the area.[2]

Sapot’, a tourist attraction within Masungi Georeserve. Photo via Jtepace/Wikimedia Commons

Lara Angeline Valmores, VP for Organizational Strategies and Research and project head of BOx RecWeek, spoke about their collaboration with Masungi Georeserve in a recent interview. 

According to Valmores, there is a misconception about the forest rangers that they wanted to dispel. “What people think of forest rangers is ‘tagalinis lang sila ng forest’ (‘they are just cleaners of the forest’). Our forest rangers don’t just clean; they take note of the biodiversity in the whole reserve[…]. They also have to protect themselves from land grabbers,” Valmores said. 

Ateneo BOx, through the merchandise sale, raised more than PhP 11,000 pesos for Masungi Georeserve to partly help in the maintenance of the georeserve, as well as directly support forest rangers. Both BOx and the Masungi Georeserve hope that through continued advocacy projects, more people will not only support the Georeserve financially, but also shed light on the conservation issues in the area.

‘Not just a home org’

Valmores also spoke about what this collaboration means for Ateneo BOx as an organization. 

“We were looking for a theme that would let BOx put its advocacies into action. We wanted to do that while we tackled relevant biological issues,” Valmores mentioned. 

Valmores said she did not expect to still have a good number of applicants this year, especially with less social media promotions compared to last year. According to her, it was also notable that there seems to be more students outside the Department of Biology who also joined BOx, which was a significant difference compared to before when people “thought BOx was just a home org.”

She added, “We want to show the LS community that we’re not just a home org; we are indeed an advocacy org[…]. These advocacies are shared by everyone, not just Bio/LifeSci majors.” She said that the RecWeek was also a good opportunity to “amplify the voices of our rangers” and help raise awareness about the Masungi Georeserve within the LS community.

References

  1. Masungi Georeserve. About Masungi [Internet]. 2021 [updated 2021 Sep 10, cited 2021 Nov 10]. Available from: https://www.masungigeoreserve.com/destination/about-us 
  2. Ateneo Biological Organization – BOx Facebook page. Due to community quarantine, it’s become harder to visit our local conservation areas to support their efforts [Internet]. September 8, 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 10]. Available from: https://www.facebook.com/AteneoBOx/posts/1634384273427889

ERRATUM: The total funds raised through Ateneo BOx’s merchandise sale for Masungi Georeserve is Php 10,000. The article has been edited to rectify the error. We sincerely apologize for the oversight.

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