Finding Meaning in the Mountains - Part 2

THERE'S this much-raved about arts and music festival happening soon in a much-visited mountain up in the Cordilleras.  

It would have easily caught my interest knowing the arts and music enthusiast and nature lover that I both am but instead, I saw it in a bad light. Because I believe that the featured mountain does not need any publicity at the moment, neither droves of people going up there all at once. What said mountain needs is to actually "heal" from all the negative impacts it has received since hiking started trending among Filipinos a few years back. (Although upon research, I discovered that festival in question is organized in partnership with a foundation that supports communities through sports, arts and music. So I do hope that a big part of the profit goes to the advocacy of this foundation. Organizers have yet to divulge details about this aspect.)

On another instance, I advised a cousin to make sure that the mountain tours she had been joining observe proper hiking manners, like not leaving garbage and being considerate of the communities. The most recent climb she joined had as much as 63 tourists. That's a lot of people.

Awareness on these matters I have developed after recently joining Random Act of Kindness (RAK), a group of mountain-loving people from different backgrounds and professions. Lead by professional mountaineers, RAK imparts mountaineering courses and ethics. More importantly, it organizes climbs for a cause.

RAK actually gives back to the locals and indigenous peoples residing in remote communities at the foot or sometimes, even deep in the mountains.

Take for example our annual Give Light and Pasko Fiesta program that took place last December 17, 2016 at Sitio Manggahan in Barangay Daraitan at Tanay, Rizal. It provided eight solar lamps to eight Dumagat families from Purok Paydas which remains without access to electricity, a basic need, as well as donated toys, clothing, school supplies and food to hundreds of locals both young and old from the sitio.

"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness." -- Desmond Tutu

To know more about the successful community outreach, you can read the article I wrote for Business Mirror (link here). Also in the story, Dumagat Chieftain Eufemia Enciso of Sitio Manggahan expressed her gratitude.

Dumagat Chieftain Eufemia Enciso of Sitio Manggahan

"Nagpapasalamat ako at nagpatuloy pa rin ang Random Act Kindness sa pag-aabot ng mga donasyon, damit, pagkain, laruan para sa mga bata. At higit sa lahat, ang solar lamps dahil hanggang ngayon, wala pa rin kaming kuryente [I am grateful because RAK continued its donation of clothes, food and toys for the kids. Most important, the solar lamps,  because we still don’t have electricity]."

Hearing these words, I sincerely felt that I was finally in the right place and time doing the right thing.

Now, time to see photos from the 2016 Give Light and Pasko Fiesta:

Let there be light! Three of the eight Dumagat beneficiaries of the lamps made by SolarSolutions Inc., a solar enterprise that promotes use of sustainable and clean energy. 
Little girls of Sitio Manggahan show off their plush toys from Jollibee,
which sponsored our outreach through its Maaga ang Pasko campaign.
 His cuteness caught me. And he caught me in act!
Well, he likes me! :) Kilig! 
And here's us wishing all our donors and sponsors our gratitude for making our Give Light and Pasko Fiesta 2016 possible.

Finding Meaning in the Mountains - Part 1
Musings from Mount Tagapo

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