Thursday, June 20, 2013

"Friends of the Forest": The Paradise Ranch way of Giving Back and We're In It!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Going on trips and giving back to charity seems to be on the opposite end of the pendulum as people usually can do one or the other on a given occasion. But not if you are in Paradise Ranch Clark's Nature and Conservation Park in Sacobia Valley Clark Airbase, Angeles, Pampanga.  Each visit to Paradise Ranch is a two-fold opportunity to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature amid its 100-acre environmental project, while being provided a chance to help save the environment and help the poor through a "Responsible Charity" instead of a "dole out" by giving them something to do at the ranch for a fee with the packages we availed of. 

Paradise Ranch was an easy choice for venue for our annual family reunion last April 30 to May 1, 2010 with the theme "A Family That Plant Trees Together, Keeps the Forest Forever".  The idea behind the chosen theme was to find a place where the family could enjoy nature at its best and educate the kids on protecting the environment and saving wildlife. The ranch's large campsite, nipa huts accommodation, bonfire area, cottages, villas, themed gardens, butterfly sanctuary, aviary, fish pond, organic vegetable and floral orchard, Zoocobia Fun Zoo and Vista Montana Pool did just that for us!  For Php 750 per person (old rates), we have enjoyed an overnight accommodation at the three (3) nipa huts, three (3) eat - all you -can meals (dinner,breakfast and lunch) and full use of all the facilities for activities like swimming, rafting, hiking, and sightseeing. My whole family especially the kids all enjoyed feeding ostriches, teasing the monkeys, learning about and playing with the butterflies, rafting and fish feeding, visiting the bat cave, touching the iguanas,learning more about birds, playing and taking pictures with the bubbles, climbing tree, doing obstacle course, watching the sky at night, feeling the rain,hearing the sounds of the night, making natures' collage, playing scrabble, and swimming. 

But that's not all!  Our family have started a tree planting tradition and now one of the Friends of the Forest'  of Paradise Ranch which includes schools, companies and individuals as follows: 

1. Asian Computer College of Calamba City 
2. Asian Institute of Science and Technology ( Dasmarinas Branch)
3. BDO Foundation Inc. Go Green Program
4. Child Future Guided Academic International
5. Conception Catholic School (EGT Tours)
6. Diliman Preparatory School ( Sen Nikki Coseteng)
7. Dr Carlos Lanting College
8. Fuji Xerox Philippines
9. Galing Pilipino Movement
10. Gueco Balibago Elementary School
11. Holy Family School of Quezon City
12. Ina ng Buhay Catholic School
13. Infant Jesus Montessori Center
14. Jollibee Nicdao Dela Fuente Group
15. Jose Feliciano College Foundation
16. JPIA System Plus College Foundation
17. Juliever Academy Valenzuela City
18. Laguna College of Business and Arts / NSTP Department
19. Manggahan High School Pasig City
20. Mapua Institute of Technology
21. Marciano Del Rosario Memorial National High School
22. Mary Help Christian School
23. Metropolitan International Christian Academy
24. Miriam College
25. Morning Dew Montessori
26. Mother Theresa Of General Trias
27. Ojeda Family Reunion Lovers of God’s Creation 
28. Pabaza Shell Retailers Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales
29. Pampanga Colleges
30. Philippine Air Force
31. Republic Central Colleges Boyscout of the Philippines
32. Rotary Club of Bagumbayan Manila
33. SM City Tarlac
34. Southville International School
35. St. Ann Study School
36. St. Benilde International School
37. St. Paul College Island Park
38. St. John of Beverly
39. St. Mathew College
40. St. Paul College of Paranaque
41. St. Therese Child of Jesus School
42. St. Therese of the child Jesus Academy
43. Stella Maris College
44. Sunlife Financial Corp Cypress
45. System Plus College Foundation
46. System Plus College Foundation High School Dept. Organization
47. University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Pharmacy
48. University of Santo Tomas
49. UP Aguman
50. Westfields International School Angeles City
51. World Tourism Day

'Friends of the Forest' program requires participants to commit in planting 300 mahogany trees for a fee of P50 per tree  or a total of Php 15,000.00, not only as a massive reforestation effort but also to help provide more jobs for the poor.  We were told that with the amount we paid, the ranch can hire one Aeta (native of Pampanga) who will take care of the trees for at least three months,  until the trees can grow on their own.

Everyone participated in the tree planting - young and old - (kiddos) Mikaelah Alliune - (2), Shanara Mae (2 1/2), Franchette Anne (4),Shaznay Anne (4 1/2), John Anthony (5) ,Francine Kyle (5), James Bernard (9),Jay-M (9 1/2),Ian Benedict (10 1/2) and Michellyn (11) (adults) - Belenda, Imee,Amelyn,Allan,Mhe-anne and Michael Anthony and even our senior citizens - Papa Lito and Mami Tita.

Indeed, It takes very little to give back a lot!

You too can be one of the Friends of the Forest to make a difference to the environment and to the community. Call Paradise Ranch today at: 0922--860-0317 or 0917-510-8266, from the USA please call 916-222-2220. (Note: I am not in any way connected to this NGO so the contact details is from the website).

This is my entry to PTB BLOG CARNIVAL for June 2013: Let's create a Travel Guide (with a cause) hosted by Grasya Bangoy of This Grasya on The Road of Life blog.

Check out the previous blog carnival topics in Estan Cabigas' Pinoy Travel Bloggers Blog Carnival.

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