PLAIN AND SIMPLE| Home of the Tamaraws

WHEN I had this chance to be in Occidental Mindoro, I did not hesitate to accept the invitation to speak before a gathering of DepEd and LGU personnel. I have always wanted to visit Mindoro.

In our classes, we were always told that the Tamaraws, this endangered species, find its home in this island. Mindoro is home to theTamaraws. I was so curious about them and wanted to see these animals personally.

So with a team of speakers, we flew to Manila and had the connecting flight to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. Since our plane was small, we could see the islands and the seas as we cruised at 15,000 altitude.

My eyes were glued to the boondocks of Mindoro hoping to find the Tamaraws grazing in those creeks and rivers we saw from the plane. There was none. No sight of the Tamaraw. Not even one.

Our small plane landed, and as we disembarked, there was still no sighting at the grassy portion of the airport.. We walked to take the van that would bring us to the venue. Before the van could go, we noticed a Tamaraw  atop a solid rock at the entrance of the small airport of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

Finally a Tamaraw! But it was just a huge sculpture atop a huge rock. Nothing more and nothing less, Yes, I did not see a live Tamaraw when I visited Mindoro a couple of weeks ago.

And so I asked some of the people there. There are Tamaraws but they are in the remotest boondocks of the province. Either they have become domesticated or killed by poachers.

Our young generation would not be able to see these Tamaraws anymore. Most Filipinos won’t be able to see them. No more of those pictures found in our books.

They will not be endangered.  They are “mystical “animals in our island that will never be appreciated by the next generation.

The Tamaraws in MIndoro are like the Kalaws in Monkayo.  The Kalaw (hornbills) in Monkayo will only be back if those who logged all those trees there will restore the forest in that area.

Unless the trees are restored, forget about seeing and touching the Kalaws. Sayang because the old name of Monkayo is Kalaw taken from there – the hornbills, the kind of birds which looked so much elegant with their hornibills.

When we were growing up in Monkayo, the hornbills acted like our watches. They give us the time by their shrieking voices. When I was in Kuching, Malaysia, I saw the hornbills there in the forest of Sarawak.  Not in Monkayo, Not in the barrio where I grew up.

If people continue cutting the trees, all the kind of birds we have in the Philippines will be gone. We have to do aggressive acts to restore our forest. By restoring our forest, we are restoring the home of our birds and wild animals. We restore our life.

Cut those trees, and we’re lost in the greed of men and women who could not care less if those trees are gone.

Posted in Opinion