It's good to dream. A good dream is always an inspiration to remember. But with the deepening imperfections unfolding each day like double-talk and insincerity, failure of consistency, culture of inefficiency, high premium for selfishness and the weakening priority for the common good, we tend to dream less of wonderful things and beautiful places.
Maybe it helps to dream again of rainforests, clean waters, fragrant wild flowers and of rare good people who care for the future of Mt. Apo. Dreaming warms the heart. And when the heart is enflamed with a clear vision, the defining moment for concrete action is just few steps away.
The sun is rising steadily but the cool breeze still pervades the thick foliage of mature tinikiran trees. The morning dews are still hugging the lush vegetation of the forest floor and intermittent sun rays appear magically under the long stretch of tree canopies. Chirping birds are heard all around. Tracks of wild pigs furrowing the forest ground are everywhere and young deers are running swiftly back and forth along the shores of the two lakes located within this 635 forestland at the southeastern lower portion of the peak of Mt. Apo.
That is a future glimpse of Ma-ag area 10 to 15 years from now. This undulating stretch of land, naturally bounded by stiff clips, slopes and rising peak and hills, is called macadac during my initial climbs in the late 1990s. But the Mt. Apo Protected Area Management Board (Mt. Apo PAMB) , in deference to the true historical identity of the place, has approved recently a resolution establishing its proper identity. The area is now correctly called Ma-ag.
At 2,446 meters above sea level, Ma-ag is the highest reforested area in the Philippines. PNOC-EDC started the reforestation in 1993 after it was razed by series of bush fires. The company, in partnership with local governments and other concerned private institutions, is still continuing its rehabilitation efforts to preserve the remaining forest frontiers around the majestic peak of Mt. Apo.
I have trekked this Ma-ag landscape many times since 1999. The planted tinikaran trees then were young, the lane shrubs were tall and the open grounds were wide. My latest climb this year with the provincial governor of North Cotabato and the Czech Ambassador to the Philippines was a revelation. My Ma-ag dream is slowly unfolding. With nurturing attention of dedicated people, Ma-ag will soon become a natural paradise with birds of different species chirping all day long, rare wild flowers endlessly blooming, valuable forest plants multiplying in abundance and forest floors teeming with diverse flora and fauna.
In not so distant future, Ma-ag will be a refuge to the pureness of intention of the people behind its re-creation. It will soon become a landmark of a dream come true. With good and sincere people, its not to late to dream again of rainforests, clean waters and fragrant wild flowers.