Aspen & South African Embassy Celebrate Mandela Day by Planting 1,500 Organic Vegetables for Teodora Cruz Elementary School, Bulacan

18 July 2019, Teodora Cruz Elementary School, Bulacan. 28 enthusiastic Aspen Eco-Warriors and 3 South African Embassy officials gathered by 5 am in Manila to make it to Teodora Cruz Elementary School in Bulacan to plant a Food Forest and Bio-Intensive Garden for the benefit of the students, administration and local community represented by 4 participating Barangay leaders who received the same Training of Trainers. This is ASPEN Philippines’ 13th planting with FEED since they started in 2017 (see Related Articles below).

South African Embassy Philippines.jpgThe South African Embassy to the Philippines was also present, represented by Charge d’ Affaires, South African Embassy, Mr. Boiki Motloung, who also delivered the closing remarks during the Certificates awarding ceremony after the planting was completed; accompanied by South African Embassy Marketing Manager Ellen Vega.

Mr. Motloung payed tribute to Nelson Mandela International Day (or “Mandela Day”) – the annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on 18 July, Mandela’s birthday:

“Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact.”

IMG_6619The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010.  Mandela Day is not meant as a public holiday, but as a day to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s former President, and his values, through volunteering and community service. (Source:

IMG_6635Aspen Philippines’ CEO & President Marcelina “Ace” Itchon (also a FEED Ambassador) reiterated Mandela Day campaign message:  “Nelson Mandela has fought for social justice for 67 years. We’re asking you to start with 67 minutes….We would be honoured if such a day can serve to bring together people around the world to fight poverty and promote peace, reconciliation and cultural diversity,” according to a statement issued on Mandela’s behalf.”


 1. Almazar, Roselle P. 17.  Itchon, Marcelina T. “Ace”
2.     Alvarez, Crystal C. 18.  Latap, Maylyn B.
3.     Ang, Jemelou J. 19.  Lumabi, Steven M.
4.     Asi, Patricia Ann M. 20.  Munar, Jr., Reynato P.
5.     Avena, Celso P. 21.  Mutuc, Anne Ysabel T.
6.     Bilan, Ma. Emmilou Jean C. 22.  Pingol, Alyssa Monica O.
7.     Catarroja, Myrra Mae R. 23.  Reyes, Angel Grace B.
8.     Dela Cruz, Gerly Gail D. 24.  Romero, Maureen G.
9.     Ebuña, Emily N. 25.  Sagun, Recia Mae B.
10.  Esperanza, Mark C. 26.  Santos, Charmaine Anne B.
11.  Estole, Chinque D. 27.  Santos, Joselito C.
12.  Felicilda, Anna Lyn A. 28.  Valencia, Dyan Marie Z.
13.  Franco , Mitchelene A. 29. Charge d’ Affaires, South African Embassy, Mr. Boiki Motloung
14.  Fresco, Ana Sabrina B. 30. South African Embassy Marketing Manager Ellen Vega
15.  Funelas, Ma. Cecilia C.
16.  Gatdula, Katrina Angelique L.

Photo Journal – Mandela Day, July 18th, 2019 with Aspen Philippines Inc. and the South African Embassy

(c) Photos Courtesy Ellen Vega, South African Embassy Marketing Manager.

SlideShow (Certification)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The FOOD FOREST and Bio-Intensive Garden talks centred on how to grow climate smart vegetable crops and be able to harvest perennially/year round, to enhance the nutrition and food supply of the local community by building the capacity of a centre of excellence at Dempol Elementary School. In turn, the organic seeds harvested from the vegetable yields from the School’s vegetable plots can be used to establish other nurseries in other parts of Plaridel, including the homes of the kids’ families.

vegetables-that-grow-in-shade.jpgFOOD forest gardening is a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Combined with the Bio-Intensive Garden (BIG)* approach, the aim is to eventually develop the school grounds into a fully sustainable food garden/forest.

20 indigenous Philippine fruit-bearing trees were donated by ASPEN to Dampol E.S., including native coconut, mango, papaya, rambutan and sampalok; as well as 1,300 native root and vegetable seeds, cuttings and seedlings, including malungay, ampalaya, tomatoes, squash, UPO and several varieties of native beans.


About Bio-Intensive Gardens (BIG)*

Integrated-School-Nutrition-Model.jpgIn response to the 1984 economic crisis in the Philippines, the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) developed a bio-intensive gardening program in the Province of Negros Occidental to increase food availability for Negros islanders.

Two years after bio-intensive gardening was introduced in 1986, the rate of malnutrition had dropped from 40% to 25%.

Organic-Veggie-Seeds.jpgBio-intensive gardening aims to rebuild and maintain soil fertility through nutrient cycling, diversified cropping and deep-bed preparation on small-scale plots (200-500 sq. feet). Bio-intensive gardens contain a diverse range of indigenous crops which minimizes the opportunities for pest outbreaks and preserves indigenous seed varieties. Families with these gardens can save cash that they would normally spend on food or non-food essentials for the family. Bio-intensive gardens may also produce enough food for families to sell the surplus and still meet their own nutritional needs.


FEED always explains that the easier part of such environmental efforts in planting, is the planting itself, despite planting in early morning til noon heat. The toughest part is the maintenance and monitoring, which is guided by an annual calendar of which vegetables to plant and harvest during which seasons (wet/dry). Which is why, the selection of an appropriate school in need of such intervention/help – as well as the local leadership – are critical factors in their selection.

About Aspen Philippines, Inc.

ASPEN-LOGO.pngAspen Philippines Incorporated is the first South African pharmaceutical company in the Philippines. It started operating in January 2012 with only a handful of employees. But after a few months, it has rapidly increased to over 100 passionate Filipino staff.

With the company’s immediate and continued growth, its commitment becomes stronger. That is to meet the healthcare needs of Filipinos by providing a broad spectrum of high quality, effective, and affordable pharmaceutical products so that ultimately, lives can be sustained one day at a time.

Aspen Philippines’ range of products initially comprises of antibiotic, anti-hypertension, anti-gout, anti-platelet and anti-hypothyroidism. But the company continues to expand its reach, acquiring global brands in consumer healthcare, which include Dequadin, Kwell, and Valda Pastilles.

Now that Aspen has made its mark in the Philippines, Filipinos can now take advantage of an improved means to healthcare right at their fingertips.

More here:

Related ASPEN Articles

Contact FEED

FEED runs a number of Students and Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE)Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – such as mangrove planting for coastal protection or ridge reforestation plantings; One Child, One Tree; Bio-Intensive Gardens (BIG) for nutrition in public elementary schools and other spaces; Climate Change Survival 101 and other LIVING LEGACY programs – customised environmental engagement activities for individuals and organisations interested in contributing to climate change adaptation efforts and greening critical areas such as watersheds, ridges, and reefs that all require rehabilitation.

Tree-Planting with FEED: Video 

Check out the video journey by Clueless Commuter who planted with us last 24th of June 2017 to get a good idea of how FEED plantings go:


Contact us at FEED for more details, to join our regular activities or to design your own CSR Program: or call/text +63 (0)917 552 4722.

© Fostering Education & Environment for Development, Inc.