Ilonggo bikers showed their strength in numbers by joining the first-ever Bike.Hike.Plant (BHP)+ 2022 on June 25, 2022 in observance of the 159th Year of the Philippine Forestry Service and Arbor Day 2022.
The event gathered a total of 932 registered participants who joined as either bikers or hikers. The National Greening Program (NGP) team led by Forester Fred P. Canto also recorded a total of 1,338 seedlings of Narra, Tapuyay, Bagalunga, Iloilo Tree, Kansulog, Bagalunga, Ipil, Kamagong, and Balayong species that were planted during the activity. The tree seedlings were sourced out from the Iloilo Provincial Nursery, CENRO Guimbal Nursery and Maasin Watershed Nursery.
B.H.P.+ 2022 was initiated by the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in collaboration with the NGP team of the DENR Region 6 that was also graced by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr., Maasin Mayor Francis Amboy, DENR Assistant Secretary for Indigenous Peoples Affairs Jose B. Ong, FMB Director Tirso P. Parian, DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran and other DENR 6 key officials.
Bikers pedalled the total length of 31.9 kilometers from Esplanade 3 in Iloilo City down to the municipalities of Pavia, Sta. Barbara, Cabatuan and Maasin, Iloilo. A 15-minute hike was then made by all who went to the planting site inside the Reserve.
DENR 6’s field offices such as PENRO Antique and PENRO Iloilo also joined the Bike.Hike.Plant+ 2022 activity last June 25, 2022.
It is one of the most memorable BHP events ever conducted by far with the strong support of seasoned bikers, newbies and enthusiasts who were either registered online or just waited on the road then bike-in with the group. After the group’s ride out from Esplanade 3, a short stop at a hydration station was made in public plaza of every municipality where a Medic station staffed with team from Department of Health (DOH) is also available in case of emergencies.
The event was made more successful with the solid support from the local government units of Iloilo City, Pavia, Sta. Barbara, Cabatuan and Maasin. Pavia’s best baye-baye was provided to all during the brief stop at their municipality, while Mayor Amboy generously provided lunch for all officials and others. The bikers and hikers were provided packed lunch as well.
“Si Honorable Arthur Governor, Sr. ang unang nagbigay ng hudyat and we wanted to plant trees for the province. The greening of Iloilo – it started in Maasin Watershed. The issue [on deforestation] has evolved into a concrete intervention and what you see here now are the impacts of those activities and interventions,” said Director Livino B. Duran in his message.