(A very long hour exposed to the reality of Laguna de Bay, June 2, 2014---World Environment Day)
(A very long hour exposed to the reality of Laguna de Bay, June 2, 2014—World Environment Day)

To pollute nature’s body is to to pollute our own.

In celebration of the World Environment’s Day, our organization facilitated an event in Brgy. Janosa, Binangonan Rizal. Our activity aims to re-educate  the people of Janosa about solid waste management and the negative  impacts of improper wasted disposal in relationship with climate change.

Brgy. Janosa is one of the 17  barangays of Binangonan, Rizal within Talim Island. It is the jump-off point going to Mt. Tagapo. The barangay is located in the mid-western portion of the island, between Barangays Buhangin and Kaytome.

Going to the island is not an easy task for us. The first time we went there for a reconnaissance trip, we traveled for almost 2 hours from Bay, Laguna in a 6-sitter motorized banca  without any protection from the sun (or rain). We then asked the locals if there is an easier alternate route going to and from the barangay, and there is. It is is via Bigaa in Cabuyao, Laguna. Actually, the only thing better in this route is that we got to ride a larger motorized banca where we can rest during the entire trip. In this route, we experienced the reality, the sad reality, that the Laguna Lake is in right now — garbage, garbage and garbage.

Our lecture was brief and finished around 2pm. We took our lunch and rested for a while and had small preparations before ascending to Mt. Tagapo. We were very fortunate that the weather was very much favorable for a trek during that time. The sun was covered with clouds, almost approaching rain, but it didn’t rain (in Tagalog, it is called “makulimlim“).

Mt. Tagapo, as narrated by one of the oldest of our participants, was called “Susong Dalaga” (Maiden’s Breast) before it was called Tagapo. It is because of its shape, so she said. Then, a foreigner came along, and the name was changed to its name now. According to her story, the foreigner asked a local during his visit in the area what the name of the place was. The local thought that what the foreigner was asking was what he was doing, and therefore answered, “Taga po” or cutting the branches of the tree.

As we started our trek, it was very noticeable that the area is covered generally with bamboos. According to the locals in thee area, those bamboos were used as different kinds  furniture and in fishing. Most of which were cultivated. Although it actually looked good, I was hoping that the biodiversity in the area was high.

The trek was short, it just took us around 1 hour and a half to arrive at the peak but it doesn’t mean that it was easy. When we arrived in the area just below the peak, we planted different kinds of fruit trees and continued to ascend to the peak. It was very relaxing. The sight was very great. I even forgot the image of garbage that we saw in the lake. We stayed there for around 30 minutes and took a lot of pictures and descended immediately since we needed to go back to the university since most of us still has work the next day.

When we left, we took  nothing but pictures, we left nothing but memories.

Additional notes:

  • There are definitely a number of alternate routes going to Janosa since there are several municipalities surrounding Laguna Lake. Pls check google to know what is the best route for you.
  • If you are planning to take the Bigaa route and go beyond the last trip schedule of 2pm, you should get contact number of people in the port in Bigaa or tell them ahead so they will know when you will arrive. (When we went home, we were stranded for almost 3 hours in the lake because no small banca approached us.
  • It is better to have a guide when trekking Mt. Tagapo since there are a lot of identical passages. Guides in the area are organized by the local government of Janosa.
Travel Guide*
Olivarez Plaza** to Bay Public Market Jeep 15 minutes
Bay Public Market to Iwahig/Aplaya (San Antonio) Tricycle 15 minutes
 Iwahig/Aplaya (San Antonio) to Brgy. Janosa Small Motorized Banca ≈2 hours
UPLB to Bigaa, Cabuyao, Laguna (Aplaya) Chartered Jeep ≈2 hours
Aplaya to Brgy Janosa (Jump-off point)  Small and Big Motorized banca ≈1.5hours
Jump-off point to Peak Foot ≈1.5hours
*based on actual events
**Los Banos, Laguna (College)