San Nicolas Elementary Plants 145 Flood & Saline Proof Trees from St Jude Catholic School for Hagonoy, Bulacan

IMG_92209 March 2017, Hagonoy, Bulacan.  38 young environmental leaders from Saint Jude Catholic School (SJCS), a Chinese-Filipino School based in San Miguel, Manila, sponsored a “One Child, One Tree”* planting activity of 145 flood and saline resilient trees – with the enthusiastic participation of 50 Grade School children and 23 teaching and coordinating staff from San Nicolas Elementary School (SNES) in Hagonoy, Bulacan. TARP ST JUDE March 9, 2017 (San Nicolas ES, Hagonoy).png

The early morning commenced with a warm welcome by SNES Principal Felicisima T. Manarang, who spoke at length about how Hagonoy used to be clean and green during her childhood, and how important it was for the future leaders of the country to collaborate in restoring our environment, health and safety.

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Principal Manuring’s talk was followed by:

  • An inspiring message from SJCS’s Rommel Villas, who called upon the students to thank all those who enable the One Child, One Tree initiative with San Nicolas Elementary School;
  • Benjamin Tan, one of the main student team organisers on behalf of SJCS, spoke about “responsible citizenry” and thanking all the key organisers for the opportunity to engage in climate change adaptations;
  • Anne-Marie Mananquil Bakker, FEED Director of Partnerships, reflecting on climate smart adaptation and the need for more “calls to action” by the youth;
  • Vic Cruz, Head of the Hagonoy Fishers Farmers Producers Cooperative – who delivered technical insights on mangrove and coastal species for flood protection, also singing to the children about the environment and how Bulacan’s environment  used to be protected even revered by the local community; and
  • Diane Penales, FEED VP Operations, who engaged the audience on the various Philippine native trees and their functions being planted to reforest the Philippines.

Of the 145 tree species planted, majority (100) were Philippine Mangrove (Bacauang Babae) trees, 40 Mulberry trees, and 5 Bitaog trees mobilised upon recommendation of one of FEED’s technical partners in agro-forestry, Professor Lito Gavina, Director of International Partnerships at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial University (DMMMSU), Bacnotan.

Mangroves (“Bacauang Babae“) in Bulacan

Mangroves.jpgThe Philippines is known to be one of the mangrove biodiversity centers in the world (next to Indonesia). Mangroves provide several ecological and socio-economic services to coastal communities valued at US$ 292,000/ha (UNEP 2007). However, there have been massive mangrove losses particularly during the 1970s-1990s periods.


Bulacan Province has one city and four municipalities located along the Western Philippine coastline. It comprises 15 coastal barangays: Pamarawan, Masile, Caliligawan, Babatnin and Namayan for Malolos City; barangays Puga, Tibaguin, San Roque and San Pascual for the municipality of Hagonoy; barangays Masukol and Sta. Cruz for the municipality of Paombong; barangays Taliptip and San Nicolas for the municipality of Bulakan; and barangays Binuangan and Salambao for the municipality of Obando.

The province’s coastal area measures about 12,189.8 ha with a shoreline length of 43 km (GIS-PPDO). Out of a total population of 2,924,433 in the province, 43,005 live in the coastal barangays (SEP 2010).

IMG_9153.JPG“Mangroves are being cleared at an alarming rate and there are numerous threats to these forests, including; land development, pollution, deforestation for fuel and climate change. One of the major reasons for the loss of mangroves has been to establish fishponds for aquaculture. It has been estimated that since 1980 between 20 and 35% of global mangroves have been lost, with current losses around 1% per year.

The last IUCN assessment highlighted that more than one in six mangrove species are currently under threat of extinction. ZSL’s mangrove work is currently focused in the Philippines, where over 50% of mangroves have been lost. Super-typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) highlighted the vital role mangroves play as nature’s bioshields for vulnerable coastal communities.”  -Zoological Society London (Source:

There is a need to raise environmental awareness of the community, to obtain their support in coastal resource protection and management and empower them. The awareness of the stakeholders on the value of mangroves, the effects of its loss on the coastal environment, and on the emerging environmental issues will enhance their appreciation on the need for management interventions for mangroves. (Source: Status of Mangroves in Bulacan, Mangrove proceedings V7,

Bitaog Tree (Callophylum inophyllum L.)


Photo Courtesy: Mindanao Tours

The Bitaog tree is distributed throughout the Philippines, indigenous in Southeast Asia to tropical coasts, can grow in saline and flood prone environments; common in seashores and sandy beaches, it is also found in areas with sandy soil. Its uses include:

  • Tree – shade, shelter, windbreak esplanade planting, reforestation and afforestation species.
  • Timber – construction, furniture and cabinet work, ship stern, gunstock, musical instrument, cartwheel hubs, vessels, canoes and boats.
  • Bark – source of tannin
  • Flowers – bouquets and wreaths
  • Seed – source of bitaog oil or tamanu oil, the sacred oil of ancient Tahitian. The oil is a potent healing agent that promote the formation of new tissue, thereby accelerating wound healing and growth of healthy skin a process known as cicatrisation. Bitaog oil is one of the most effective and known cicatrizing agent in nature.


Mulberry Trees (Fructose mori, Moraceae Family)

mulberry.jpgMulberry seedlings were obtained from the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial University in Bacnotan, a FEED partner for scholarships and applied research, nursery enhancement and reforestation – where DMMMSU has an ongoing traditional silk weaving facility and where silkworms thrive from the Mulberry leaves. The Mulberry was also observed to be tolerate despite salt spraying from the Western Philippine sea coast and sandy soil conditions. They were grown at San Nicolas Elementary School in the soil as well as in pots (for flood protection).

The Common Mulberry is a handsome tree, 20 to 30 feet high, of rugged, picturesque appearance, forming a dense, spreading head of branches usually wider than the height of the tree, springing from a short, rough trunk.

Mulberry leaves have been treasured as an herbal medicine since ancient times. China’s oldest book of remedies, “Huang Di Ba Shi Yi Nan Jing”, a book devoted to Chinese Medical Practice,mentions the  leaves, fruits, and roots of the mulberry tree. In Chinese medicine, the leaves are seen as antipyretic and antitussive, the fruits as tonic and analgesic, and the roots as diuretic, antipyretic, and antitussive. (Source:

The mulberry tree is loved by silkworms, birds and humans alike. Its  fruits resemble black berries more than fruit that we typically expect from a tree. According to Dave’s Garden PlantFiles, the ripe fruit is used in jams, jellies, pies and wines. In the picture show below, the black-purple fruits are ripe while the others are in various stages of ripeness. (Source:

Photo Journal

Part of the mission of SJCS is their commitment “to provide quality and relevant  education that promotes discipline, human values, holistic development, service and excellence” – all traits that were demonstrated by the SJCS students during the planting as they gave technical demonstrations to the San Nicolas Elementary School students on how to hole dig, debag the seedling, plant, pack and water.

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About Saint Jude Catholic School

Logo Circle onlySaint Jude Catholic School (SJCS) is a Chinese-Filipino School located in San Miguel, Manila.

SJCS sees education as a holistic undertaking that strives for the complete formation of the human person for the common good of society. Children and youth are to be nurtured so that their physique, emotional maturity, social awareness and skills, cultural awareness and sensitivities, morality and intelligence are developed simultaneously and in harmony.

The school understands that parents and those who take their place have the fundamental and inalienable right to the education of their children. Nonetheless, it likewise believes that the Church also has a role in education, this role being founded on its divine mission to assist all men and women in their efforts to achieve the fullness of Christian life. By educating the youth, Saint Jude Catholic School carries out the missionary task of the Church and the specific charism of the Society of the Divine Word to proclaim the mystery of salvation to all peoples and renew all things in Christ.

From the founding generations of the school, the two-pronged curricular programs in English Basic Education and Chinese have been distinctly developed. These programs mold youth through a formative process that interweaves and the appreciation of cultural heritage. Out of this process, socially responsible leaders and active agents of change, especially from the Chinese-Filipino Community, will emerge ready to contribute meaningfully to the transformation of society.

Thank you to Saint Jude Catholic School Youth Environmental Leaders! 

1.    Ralph Luis Basa^ 22.  Alvin Sonny Qiu
2.    Alessandra Justine Chua 23.  Keith Martin Sales
3.    Christiana Liam Jo Claros 24.  Kyle Sales
4.    Mickhaela Ysabelle Co 25.  Rainer Neilsen Sih
5.    Kevin Charles Dai 26.  Sabina Syleungyum
6.    Chelsea Lauren Domingo 27.  Benjamin Tan^
7.    Murray Justin Estrada 28.  Henrick Wayne Tan
8.    Haley Christiane Hawson 29.  Kim Audrey Tan
9.    Bianca Livy Hui 30.  Shaun Lorenz Tan
10.  Jasper Javellana 31.  Yana Riz Tan
11.  Alyssa Mae Juan-Sing 32.  Trisha Nicole Tuaño
12.  Lloyd Jasper Kang 33.  Virramon Tumulak
13.  Mark Luis Legaspi 34.  Winruvie Wang
14.  Lu Bernadette Leyva 35.  Jermaine Dyan Wong^
15.  Dana Ysabel Li 36.  Mireah Kyra Wong
16.  Wilson Li 37. Kyle Miguel Tan
17.  Reins Mikalyn Melitante 38. Mrs Michelle Bagsic Reyna
18.  Erika Meagan Ng 39. Ms Ma Criselda Ardiente
19.  Sherwin Andrew Ong^ 40. Ms Thelma Mendez
20.  Hermes Palmer Ong-Chan 41. Ms Kathlynn Rebonquin
21.  Edmund Mari Pua 42. Mr Rommel Villas (HR Lead)

^Special thanks to our Saint Jude Catholic School Lead & Student Coordinators!

About San Nicolas Elementary School, Hagonoy, Bulacan

SNES LogoSNES was short listed as the beneficiary of this project as it is (1) one of the most flood exposed public elementary school in the area, and (2) its leadership were very responsive and amenable towards ensuring the sustainability of what was planted in terms of seedlings, species type,  maintenance and monitoring to ensure survival (85% up).

Tree Hugs to SNES Environmental Youth Leaders!


SNES Pupils TreePlanting 9 March 2017.png

Congratulations to SNES Leadership Coordinators & Participants!


 1. Patria A. Medina 13. Cecilia P. Fajardo
2. Ma. Leonor D. Victor 14. Rodora S. Santos
3. Jose V. Roque 15. Ruby Ana R. Calayag
4. Lanie C. Buensuceso 16. Loricel A. Perez
5. Rosielyn A. Trillana 17. Leocadia B. Ramos
6. Josefina T. Mungcal 18. Normito P. Santos
7. Celerina S. Tamayo 19. Miguel Y. Cruz
8. Ma. Luisa B. Medina 20. Rosario A. Golena
9. Apolonia M. Mateo 21. Felicisima T. Manarang (Principal)
10. Lea T. Agulto  (MC) 22. Jown Eprom C. Cruz
11. Roselia S. Lazaro 23. Mark Angelo S. Bautista
12. Rustica A. Martin


Special thanks to community leaders who helped make this planting successful:

  • Natalia Sali, Founder, “One Child, One Tree” Initiative, Bulacan
  • Hagonoy Fish Farmers Producers Cooperative Team, led by Vic Cruz
  • Cecilia P. Fajardo, Principal, SNES
  • Lea T. Agulto, Master of Ceremonies, SNES
  • Mr. Rommel Villas, HR Director, Saint Jude Catholic School
  • Doods Igualdo, Green Printers, San Fernando, La Union
  • Noter Cuartero, SAVE Program Leader,  FEED
  • Diane Penales, VP Operations, FEED

Note from FEED President Ophelia Bakker-Mananquil

FEED President commented: “Thank you all for making this critical flood protection intervention possible, to help the school and community adapt to rising waters and excessive pollution. We hope that this program and your enthusiasm will encourage and inspire other young leaders to set the precedent in becoming ‘responsible citizens of the world’. It is to you we look as our future leaders, and especially the SNES children, as role models for a better world for all”.

More Information

For more information, contact: or call/text +63 (0)917 552 4722.

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