Arroceros Park caretaker calls on the youth to save Manila's 'last lung'

By Anna Valmero

MANILA CITY, METRO MANILA—Antonio Hilario Magno calls Arroceros Forest Park the city's “last lung” because its trees help counter the harsh effects of pollution.

The 2.2 hectare park is the only remaining patch of green “secondary” forest in Manila, composed of about 60 tree species and a small bird population of six different species.

“The trees help clean the air pollution in Manila so I am appealing to the youth to plant more trees in this park, especially for students to include this in their projects,” says Mang Tony, who serves as the park's caretaker.

“I'm old and I may not see the forest a decade from now but I hope the youth will do their part because they will inherit the benefits this park provides.”

The park houses different species of trees – labeled accordingly -  including narra, red and white lauan, mango, ficus rubber trees as well as the Indian neem tree.

Most of these trees were planted by Mang Tony; sometimes students come over to plant seedlings as part of a community program.

Located behind the Metropolitan Theater (near the Quiapo district), the park was bought by the local government under then-mayor Alfredo Lim in 1992 for P60 million and is currently maintained by Winners' Foundation Inc. with the help of the Catholic Women's Club, says Mang Tony.

In 2002, however, then-mayor Lito Atienza put up a government building occupying almost half of the forest park. Century-old rubber trees were among those cut down to make way for the construction.

The soil around the trees near the government building were also paved with bricks. “Parang nasasakal yung mga puno kaya sana tanggalin na itong mga semento at brick,” says Mang Tony.

Historically, the forest park once served as a venue where Filipino rice dealers in Pasig River engaged in barter with visiting Malays and Chinese traders. In fact, “arroceros” actually refers tp rice dealers.

The park was declared a national heritage site but over time, the lack of funds made it difficult to maintain. When the park was reopened to the public in 2007 by Lim, it gave Mang Tony some hope that it will thrive again and that more birds will find shelter in the trees.

“We cannot abandon the trees because this is Manila's last lung... the forest is capable of purifying the air in the whole of Manila. Now the trees have to work double time because  almost half were cut down,” he says.

*** ( ) is a website owned and operated by Filquest Media Concepts, Inc. It works under the principle of giving voice to the voiceless, empowering Filipinos and uplifting the image of the Philippines by highlighting its unique culture. To do this, the team produces stories, video, photos and other multimedia content types to inspire and celebrate Filipino achievements, ideas, products and places.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US renews travel warning to Mindanao
    US renews travel warning to Mindanao

    The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …

  • Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda
    Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda

    The Philippine initiative to put the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) front and center in global and regional trade has made significant progress following the conclusion on Thursday of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings in Boracay, Aklan. Called “The Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs,” the Philippine proposal calls for a host of specific, concrete and practical interventions that APEC economies can implement to provide MSMEs wider …

  • Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week
    Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week

    The Philippines will join a 15-nation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand next week to address the migration crisis involving thousands of Rohingyas who escaped persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bared this yesterday after meeting with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative to the Philippines Bernard Kerblat. In an interview, De Lima said the Philippine government has been invited to the meeting. …

  • Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon
    Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon

    LEGAZPI CITY—A magnitude 4.2 earthquake hit Prieto Diaz town in Sorsogon before dawn yesterday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. …

  • Drought-resistant rice breeds bared
    Drought-resistant rice breeds bared

    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Amid the searing heat, the Philippine Rice Research Institute central experiment station here has identified nine rice breeds which have been proven to be drought-resistant and produce high yields in temperatures as high as 38°C based on a recent study. Thelma Padolina, lead researcher of the study titled “Screening of rice-induced mutants for heat and drought tolerance,” identified the breeding lines as the Ballatinaw lines, PSB Rc72H and Azucena lines. …

  • Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning
    Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning

    The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and …

  • MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned
    MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned

    Electricity and mobile phone services would be cut throughout Metro Manila, and all private and government offices and businesses, including shopping malls, would be closed. That would be the situation on July 16 between 3 and 8 p.m. to simulate the scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur and kill at least 33,500 people and injure at least 113,600 others following a …

  • Subaru XV now priced among sedans
    Subaru XV now priced among sedans

    Motor Image Philipinas (MIP), the authorized distributor of Subaru in the country, has positioned its brand new crossover SUV, the Subaru XV, well within the sedan segment’s price range. This move, according to MIP, was made to give the public an opportunity to experience the brand’s unique automotive technologies by lowering its price. Buyers of […] The post Subaru XV now priced among sedans appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options