University of the Philippines Los Baños

With the theme “Sustaining the Role of Botanic Gardens in Global Diversity Conservation,” the Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG) celebrated its 50th year anniversary from June 17 to 21. One of the highlights of MBG’s golden anniversary was the symposium on ASEAN Heritage Park systems vis-à-vis Global Strategy for Plant Conservation held on June 20 at the MBG Pavilion.

Suzzane Sharrock, director of Global Programmes of the Botanic Gardens Conservation International, gave a lecture on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). Other speakers were Nelson Devanadera, assistant director of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, who delivered a lecture on the Philippine National Plant Conservation Program and Atty. Roberto V. Oliva, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, who spoke about the role of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity and ASEAN Heritage Park System in the GSPC.

A ceremonial tree planting was also held at the Philippinensis row of MBG. Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan, director of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems (MCME), the unit that manages the MBG, led the members of the ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation and Biodiversity in the tree planting activity. The group planted indigenous tree species such as katmon, banato, malaikmo, Philippine teak, almaciga, and others.

The Ecotrail, a signposted trail that tells about the flora and fauna of MBG, was formally launched. It features the different attractions of MBG such as the Philippinensis row, Palmetum, Dipterocarp natural forest, Molave plantation, Molawin Creek and Maralas Creek, and the Birds of Makiling.

Another part of the celebration was a display of artworks and an on-the-spot painting event. Titled Pinta Makiling, the art exhibit featured the works of Rex Avila, Eric Cachero, Ben Cruz, Ace Dimanlig, Gelo Domingo, Rey De Guzman, Jun Montifar, Alfred Morales, Tupe Peralta, Joseph Renta, Tess Torda, and Noli Vecedo.

The MBG was established in 1963 by virtue of Republic Act 3523 or An Act to Authorize the University of the Philippines to Carry Out a Program of Public Education and Information in Forestry and to Provide the Necessary Funds and Land Resources for These and Other Purposes. The garden, which is a social laboratory for instruction and research on forestry and plant sciences, is one of the premier ecotourism and educational destinations in the Philippines.