Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Inc. Pre-Symposium Tree Walk


MSI- Arboretum and Auditorium, University of the Philippines, Diliman , Quezon City -Philippines

PNPCSI symposium secretariat

This is the 3rd PNPCSI Pre- Symposium registration and after the successful hosting of the 2 previous symposium – National Museum in 2013 and Pampanga Agricultural College in 2014 , It is now the University of the Philippines- Diliman ( Institute of Marine Science and Institute of Botany ) which so-hosted the venue place.

UP Tree walk participants

Compared to the previous symposium . There are more people which are interested in joining the pre-symposium tree walk and botanical museum tour. I have not got the exact participants since it was the pre-registration period . Publicity and Promotion is quite good . There is an active FB event page made for the event :

The author saw some moving ads at several hybrid bus routes of  Bonifacio Global City last week .

Architect Andrew Patrick -Gozon

Unluckily, I was stuck at the horrendous traffic jam created by the sudden closure of the main street leading to the University of the Philippines from SM North EDSA terminal РThere are very few jeepneys going to the campus and it took me more than 1 hour just waiting . The closure was cause by the yearly Christmas lightning  ceremony and by-standers thought it was due to the Monthly SALE and road drainage excavations in North Avenue and Quezon Avenue that traffic was almost took to a standstill .

herbarium tour

The herbarium tour started at around past 3:00pm with a short introduction from the professors and staffs. This is a niche tour since most of the participants are botany, biology  professors , students and enthusiasts.

herbarium specimen

Sudden attack of arthritis prompted our jeepney driver to cut his route forcing us just to walk along C.P. Garcia on the way to the symposium site .  I arrived past 2:00pm after over 2 hours of being stuck in the traffic and walking several kilometers along C.P. Garcia street.


I joined the herbarium tour and UP native tree walk organized by the organization and led by Architect Andrew Patrick Gozon. This area is now being developed as an arboretum  and living botanical collections of the University . We met a group of AGHAM students taking group photo and they are not connected with the party-list group which also bears similar name and almost the same platform РScience and Technology.

t-shirts with pnpcsi logo being sold at Php 100 small, Php 120 medium and Php 150 extra-large

for souvenir hunters and memorabilia collectors -there are small booth which sells t-shirt, mugs with pnpcsi logo and 2016 Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Inc. native plant detachable calendar set . They are ideal Christmas and New Year present .

 Mr. Niel Maceda- LOC-PHIL ( League of Conservation -Philippines ) together with Dr. Pieter Pelse

For postcard and letter collectors around the world will surely marvel the limited edition postcards. They are being sold for Php 150 per calendar for non-members . Proceeds will go to the various environmental and tree planting activities by the society.

Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society 2016-calendar /postcard

There are already over 100 species of native and indigenous tree planted over the  2 to 3 years and markers are now being installed . The 2 hectares of land is being dedicated to Professor Leonard Co Рa well known botanist of the country who was killed in a tragic death in Leyte on November 15, 2010.

 L-R Mr. JM Pacheco, Ms. Abby Dizon and Mr. Jojo Vale

Leslie Food Corporation – manufacturer of Leslie’s Clover chips , Clover Cheezy gave away some free sampling of their chips to the participants. The company is one of the staunch supporter and sponsors of the event.

Address: Main Office: #4 Dama de Noche St., United Para√Īaque Subdivision 4, Para√Īaque City

Facebook Page :

Luckily i was given a piece of paper by one of the board member of the society . It seems that some of the event partners staffs are quite shy to answer some queries when they heard that i am blogging and writing a story about the event.

Here are some of the event sponsors which donated some of the company products, services and sponsorship .

1.) Leslie Corporation -Mr. Boby Wong Jr. and Deng Montealegre

2.) AyalaLand Development Corporation – Ms. Anna Gonzales

3.) First Gas Power Corporation – Mr. Chito P. Panzo

4.) Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation , Inc.- Atty. Jose Andres Canivel

5.) Energy Development Corporation -Atty. Allan Barcena and Mr. Jimson Solatre

6.) Quezon Power Plant Corporation-  Chukie Rivera and Ms. Eliza Rehal

7.) TeaM Energy Corporation- Ms. Hazel Caasi and Jules Escasura

8.) MRL Gold Corporation : Mr. Eduardo Manuel and Herbert Banados Jr.

9.) JSA Company : Mr. Joseph Server and  Ms. Rose Palou

10.) Biodiversity Partnership Project of BMB: Mr. Joey Regunay and Edge Genciagan

11.) CORE/ Prime group: Ms. Kristine Villaflor

Those who wanted to join the symposium, there are still slots available for the symposium to be held tomorrow at the MSI ( Marine Science Institute ) Auditorium within the University of the Philippines- Diliman , Quezon City .

Note: I will write the tree walk by Architect Andrew Patrick Gozon in my next post. I walk again together with Ms. Kaye Tayamora from MSI auditorium to PHLCOA ( before she took an AUV ) then  to Trinoma before getting a decent jeepney ride home. This is like APEC walkathon going back home. 






Rafflesia manillana spotted in Mount Makiling

Mount Makiling National Park ,Los Ba√Īos ,¬† Laguna province -Philippines

Mount Makiling Visitor’s Center

Every blooming season of  Rafflesia  , horticulture , biology , botany students , environmentalists  and nature lovers would want to see these rare flowers in bloom.

a picture posted from PNPCSI facebook – photo courtesy by : Mr. Ronald Achacoso

A few members had posted pictures thru their Facebook and other social media sites last April 13, 2013  of their Mount Makiling trek  and rafflesia finds.  A few of us missed the trek of  the Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Inc. , UP taxonomy professors and their botany students up to Mount Makiling . According to them it was an impromptu and private trip!

Station 1 is also known as Visitor’s Registration Center

Then thru the initiative of Ms. Cel Tungol and Mr. Alexander Loinaz members of  PNPCSI and Wild Bird Club of the Philippines , They scheduled an unplanned trek to the Mount Makiling Forest Reserve .  Ms. Cel Tungol just tried to ask the  previous climbers on the exact location of the rafflesia that they have encountered and if there are still more in blooms. Although positive , We are not very sure if we can still spot those rafflesias that they have spotted . Those blossom might already withered ,  It had been almost a month since they have posted the photos. ! Brushing aside , We also want to take the hike and photos of the rare blooms.


The big day had come, Our group is just small and Mr. Alex Loinaz fetch us at the PhilCOA area  around past 6:00am .  Since it is sunday and there is no traffic at the SLEX area, We arrived past 8:00am at the Mount Makiling Forest Reserve.  When we reach the visitor registration booth- We paid a small entrance fee of Php 10.00 per person and  were given yellow leaflets.

motorcycles  for hire

We hired 3 motorcycles¬† at Station 1 , They told us that the parasitic blooms¬† might be seen after Station 13 which is about 13 kilometers ahead. If we are going to walk our way to the station,¬† our group may reach the station after 3 or 4 hours! Since we are all in a hurry and needed to be home in Manila by afternoon.¬† We decided to take the motorcycle¬† further into the forest to conserve some of our energies for the main climb. This decision proved to be the right choice.¬† Mr. Alex Loinaz hire them for a round trip ,¬† According to one of the young drivers, They even gave a big discount to our group since they would charge at least Php 100 pesos ( one way ride )¬† up to Station 10 . Our generous benefactor paid them for the round trip.¬† He even treated us¬† Burger King’s¬† burger and fries which we took them on our hiking trip¬† .¬† So it was a ” Mother’s Day¬† and Father’s Day Treat ” . Maraming Salamat ulit ! Many Thanks !

Mount Makiling trail with a fallen ficus tree

After about 30 minutes or so, Sir Alex and Ms. Cel arrived at the station 10 . I arrived  10 minutes later due to some technical problem with the motorcycle .  The road is unpaved and very slippery  due to the onset of the rainy season . They started their photography session while waiting for me.  We started our ascend and made  a short survey of the existing flora and bird species along the man- made trail . After several minutes of walking , I have spotted a terrestrial orchid in bloom ! WOW it is indeed a sight to behold .

Pocoglottis acuminata in bloom

This terrestrial orchid also inhabits the rocky areas of the trek site. According to one of the residents of Mount Makiling Forest Reserve , They do not have an idea that those plants are terrestrial or lithophytes in some areas. They would slash those weeds!!!!!! OMG …

Agila  base camp

It took us at more than 1 hour just to walk from station 10 to the boulder site. I have spotted at least 10 species of orchids , half a dozen ferns , several hoyas and at least half a dozen bird species. The place is quite humid and dark.

a passage way was created by slicing this big mountain adobe stone

We saw big trees , ferns, ficus trees, orchids , spiny rattans and insects along the trail . After more than an hour or so , Our group reach the Malaboo camping site.  ( The place is a favorite camping site for mountaineering and scouting groups)  Rains have started a few weeks ago,  thus promoting a lush growth of cogon grass within the Malaboo camping site.

Malaboo Camping Site

We already passed station 13 and Malaboo camping site and still no rafflesia sightings ! We keep following the trail up  to the Wilderness zone.

Wilderness Zone signage

When we reach this spot ,  We started to ask each other if we can still spot a rafflesia in bloom during our trek .   Did we arrive too late? Did the rains stop the rafflesias from blooming ?

fallen tree with ferns and orchids

Then we started to climb towards Station 14 and still there are no faint smell or sightings . There was a heavy rainfall the day before we trek Mount Makiling and some of the trees lying on the ground might have fallen the day before.

Coelogyne sp.

This orchid genus is just about 2 -meters away from us.¬† Since it is not in bloom , I can’t identify the particular species. We cannot touch the orchid because the tree is located near a deep ravine.¬† Based on the withered inflorescence, The orchid¬† have bloomed¬† few weeks ago !

Mr. Bryan Buenaventura and Ms. Cel Tungol

After a few minutes of walking , We saw a mountaineer going down from station 14 .   We introduced ourselves and tried asking Mr. Buenaventura if he had smelled any rotting meat , rotting stench or dead rats along the way? He quickly nod his head and  pointed the trail  between  station 14  and station 16 .

a Rafflesia bud growing from an infected host vine

But he caution us of the falling leeches , lematics or linta. They are everywhere, that is “why ” he is going down and did not finish the climb.

four Rafflesia manillana buds growing in a tetrasigma vine ( host vine or plant)


Rafflesia manillana flower growing in the tetrastigma vine

Minutes after he cautioned our group. Lematics began falling from trees , we had to remove them one by one. We had a short walk , then i immediately  saw the small red patch of flower in a cliff side clearance then i called the attention of Ms. Cel Tungol , Mr. Bryan Buenaventura and Sir Alex soon followed us.

Rafflesia manillana in bloom

It was a discovery of our lives !  We tried to smell the flower and took photos . Mr. Bryan Buenaventura is also as trilled as our group. He also took photos with this rare parasitic bloom! This is the smallest known Rafflesia in the world and slightly larger than a cup plate.  After taking a lot of photos of this rare jewel  . We immediately hike going down the trail since it started to rain.

 a Rafflesia flower  growing in a tetrastigma vine

I send a couple of pictures to some taxonomy experts. One of the experts said that the Rafflesia had just bloomed a day or so and we were lucky that the rains did not left the flowers rotting.

the author with Ms. Cel Tungol -courtesy of: Mr. Alex Loinaz

The past decade saw a dramatic increase in the number of Rafflesia species described  in the Philippines. From the original two species described in 1841 (Rafflesia manillana Teschem.) and in 1885 (Rafflesia schadenbergiana Goeppert)  eleven  more species were described  as new to science  starting in 2002 and the latest in 2011.

Rafflesia manillana withered bloom with  a bud

Our group is considered quite lucky to have spotted a blooming rafflesia within the trail, but i must say the first group who spotted the bloom about a month earlier were more luckier than us , since they have spotted at least 4 or 5 blooming rafflesias.

Ms. Tungol , Sir Alex Loinaz and  Rare Fruit Network of the Philippines members

We rode the motorcycle going down to station 1 and this time Рit took us barely 20 minutes ( faster to go down) We saw some familiar faces at the sari-sari store and we showed them photos of  our rare find .  Sir Alex treated us with fresh buko juice while having a short chit chat with fellow hikers.

The Philippine Postal Corporation had featured Philippine rafflesia in the stamp issued on March 30, 2007  ( right side )

Tip : It is feasible for visitors or institutions  to  secure  permits from the MCME office during weekdays so that they can allow private cars up to station 10 , Otherwise one must rent  motorcycle from station 1 to station 10  . Rafflesia blooms on a seasonal basis  and forest guides can be hired .  They can also give a tip on where to spot a blooming rafflesia .

For those who want to plan a day trip to Mount Makiling – Here are the contact numbers:

MCME (+049) 536-35-75 ,UPLB Police¬† (+049) 536-22-43 ,¬†¬† Los Ba√Īos Action Center (+049)536-7861


Acta Manilana Volume 55 ( 2007) :

Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology :  Volume 6 (2012)

Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society initial consultation with DENR officers

The Las Pi√Īas-Para√Īaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) is the first and only critical habitat in the country.

members of PNPCSI and DENR

The Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Incorporated members were initially tapped to be a partner organization NGOs with technical capacity , proven ecological biodiversity management capability and track record in the area together with on- the job trainees ( biology students ) of  the Polytechnic University of the Philippines made an initial survey on how to increase the plant biodiversity , eco-tourism potential and a showcase of estuarine flora diversity in this part of Metro Manila.


There are also concern of the impending reclamation of this area , pollution , trash built-up , introduction of non-native species,  invasive species like Ipil-ipil , lantana and other exotic trees species .

Dracunculus vulgaris  

Other common names it goes by are: Dragon Arum, Black Lily, Dragon Flower, Dragon Arum, Snake Lily , Stink Lily, Vodoo Lily among others.

These plants had a stink like rotting flesh, it is true–they smell something awful. The smell attracts flies that pollinate them and beetles.

Diospyros pilosanthera

Commonly called Рbolongeta , the uses of wood from this tress  includes guitar  and high grade lumber, The fruit is also edible.

Geodorum densifolium

While our group is making our initial survey within the area, I quickly spotted  new leaves sporting on the ground. Alas , It was a terrestrial orchid ! Mr. Fernando Aurigue Jr. also spotted the orchid and told the group that it was economically useful and the bulbs can be used as a paste and for medicinal purposes.

another clump  of Geodorum nearby

We also told the DENR officers to have the plant properly marked thru GPS and proper identification . It was one of the amazing discoveries within the area, since it was growing just a few meters away from the sea coast . A huge southwest monsoon rains can easily inundate the area with sea water .

This orchid species is found in many parts of Asia and has medicinal properties:

Hymenocallis latifolia

White Spider lily  are found growing  near the sea front . This fast growing plant creates a wonderful, tall ground cover that readily reseeds itself. A solid ground cover can form within 2 years after planting on 3 to 5-feet centers. It is also nicely suited for planting as a specimen in a small garden. Flowers and foliage both attract attention. This makes a nice addition to any landscape. According to Dir. Rey Aguinaldo- they initially saw some clumps of this white spider lilies growing near the entrance of the reserve , They decided to divide the clump and plant them within the vicinity . Now they are growing very well and fully established.

Spider lily can grow  in full sun or partial shade on well-drained, basic, sandy loam soils. The plant  is very tolerant of drought and salt spray but will not endure cold temperatures. The plant do well in coastal landscapes. The Spider Lily is generally propagated by bulb divisions. However , the spider lily are not native to the country but was introduced probably during the Manila -Acapulco Galleon trade or during the early part of the American regime, These plants are so widespread that people thought  that they are native or indigenous to the country.

Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea

This is another amazing discovery within the Las Pi√Īas-Para√Īaque Critical Habitat. The mangrove trees is called ” Nilad ” in Tagalog, Nila in Malay; Chengam in Singapore¬† is a shrub that is about 3 m (10 ft) tall. It is often found in mangrove forests or sandy beaches.

Distribution : This mangrove tree is found in Southern India ,  Brunei Darussalam , Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia , Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia

leaves of Nilad tree

Economic Uses: the bark can be used for dye, tannin , glue content  and its wood is good for charcoal and wood .  Because of the urbanization  and land reclamation of Manila bay and nearby towns , most of the ( Nilad ) mangrove trees are now found in  isolated pockets and a few sapling are also found within Manila zoo.  The widespread cutting of the mangroves trees in the past had contributed to the significant decline of the once common mangrove tree where Maynila  ( Tagalog ) or Manila name was derived .


By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1412 dated April 22, 2007, the Las Pi√Īas¬† ‚Äď Para√Īaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) was established.¬† On January 31, 2008, it was amended by Presidential Proclamation 1412-A which directs all relevant departments and instrumentalities under the executive branch to ensure the preservation of existing mangrove, mudflats and ecosystems in the area that supports natural ecological functions.¬† It also directs the DENR to convene and chair a Manila Bay Critical Habitat Management Council

It is located on the western side of the Aguinaldo Highway (Coastal Road) and is bounded on the north by the Para√Īaque River and on the South by the Las Pi√Īas River.¬† It covers an area of 175 hectares consisting of mangroves, mudflats and diverse avifauna.¬† It is the first Critical Habitat established in the country.


Our group is happy of what we saw during the initial consultation meeting with the people behind the (LPPCHEA) . We were also told that¬† large multinational companies¬† are conducting tree planting activities and coastal clean -ups within the vicinity . We hope that the large multinational companies should try to plant native or indigenous trees within the protected areas . The ongoing clamor by some big time real estate developers and businessmen which want to reclaim these part of the wilderness area must be avoided.¬† Our group will always remain vigilant and ready to stand in what we believe as Metro Manila’s last remaining mangrove areas.¬†¬† In a quest of¬† rapid industrialization and urbanization, one must never forget the need for more GREEN areas and protected areas just like in Las Pi√Īas-Para√Īaque area .

Note: All pictures are from the author, those who wish to use the pictures for any purpose – Please cite this link .

ASEAN Biodiversity :



Ateneo de Manila Bird and Tree Walk

      Ateneo De Manila University campus , Loyola Heights , Quezon City

Last May 3, 2012 Friday ,  I met  Ms. Melanie Marfal , her niece and Mr. Anthony Arbias in a fast-food restaurant within Philcoa .  I have arrived more than 30 minutes before the appointed time.    We then hitch ride our way  to the campus of Ateneo de Manila University  for an afternoon of bird , tree , architectural and photo tour of the campus.

Group of students, professors, alumni, members of Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Incorporated and Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of  Mr. Anthony Arbias of  PNPCSI

          There are already several people at the Gonzaga parking area of the university  . According to our guide  it was on  April 11, 2011  the Ateneo Environmental Management Coalition (AEMC), Ateneo Bird Ecology Study (ABES) group , the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) have been organizing a two-hour bird walk within the sprawling campus.

members of the organization interacted with the participants of the bird and tree walk . Photo courtesy of Mr. Anthony Arbias of PNPCSI

Mr. Anthony Arbias and Dr. Rico Quimbo acted as tour guides  for tree identification around the campus

However some alumni would say that an organized tour around the campus may have started even earlier . we saw long-tailed shrikes, black-naped oriole , Eurasian tree sparrow , collared king fisher, a pair of piel fan tails , golden-bellied fly-eater,  pied triller , wood-swallows,  crested mynah flying back and forth several times to a location . All these bird species  observed along the busy acacia tree lane of Ramon Magsaysay Avenue within the  Ateneo campus.

Manila Observatory marker


The itinerary of the bird and tree walk showcases a visual delight of matched lush vegetation , architecture , disturbed areas ,  manicured lawn  ,  monuments , buildings  and even  parking spaces .

Lagerstroemia speciosa locally known as banaba 

Banaba is a flowering plant that grows in warm climate like the Philippines, India and others. Banaba is widely used in the Philippines and as herbal medicine for diabetes and is also grown for landscaping urban gardens.

Link :

statute of Saint Ignatius of Loyola 

The trail starts at the grounds of the Manila Observatory toward Seminary Road, and then to Lucas Infirmary which then segues to a narrow flight of steps that ends at the Residence Halls.

From there, the trail continues to the ‚Äúmini-forest‚ÄĚ part at the vicinity of the Church of the Gesu and finishes at the ‚ÄúWildlife Sanctuary‚ÄĚ facing the Jesuit Residence.

lowland white eye (Zosterops meyeni ) Bonaparte 1850,  an endemic bird species

The crowd slowly began to swell to more than 60  with most of the members are students, faculties , alumni of Ateneo de Manila University , Wild Bird Club of the Philippines , Philippine Science High School and Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Incorporated.

 This is one of the oldest and most beautiful building in Ateneo De Manila University campus ( Manila Observatory )

a colony of Oecophylla smaragdina locally called red weaver ants or pulang  hantik

The group saw several colonies of weaver ants  living on a mango tree close to the communication tower. The group try to avoid the ant colony for obvious reason ( to avoid the stinging bite ) .

a globular structure located near  the communication tower

communication towers also serves as a second home for birds

 Ants are among the most successful evolutionary creatures. They did not only survive millions of years as groups but have, in fact, together with bees, wasps and cockroaches reached the highest evolutionary level . The secret of this success is closely linked with their social life which has fascinated man.

Drynaria quercifolia or known as oak leaf fern, paipaimo, pakpak lawin fern

Pakpak-lawin is a large xerophyte, belonging to the fern family of  Polypodiaceae. Rhizome is creeping, stout and fleshy, with narrow, brown to blackish short-ciliate scales. Leaves are of two kinds: cup-leaves and the fertile fronds. Cup-leaves are humus gathering fronds, brown and shiny when mature, 15- 30 cm length, 5-20 cm wide. Fertile fronds are long, pinnately lobed, on stipes 20 to 30 cm long.

This fern is also used extensively for landscaping , dry flower arrangement and a source for pasdak . It some areas of the country it is known to have medicinal properties and possesses magical charm.

Link :

Phalaenopsis X intermedia a natural hybrid , Hoya species and Drynaria quercifolia

Phalaenopsis xintermedia Lindl. 1852-3 SUBGENUS Polychilos SECTION Zebrinae Pfitz 1889 a natural hybrid  of  Phalaenopsis aphrodite and  Phalaenopsis equestris

Church of Gesu

The Church of the Ges√Ļ is a landmark church within the Ateneo de Manila University campus¬†¬†.¬† Designed by¬† Mr. Jose Pedro Recio and Mr. Carmelo Casas¬†, the edifice‚Äôs massive triangular structure symbolizes the Holy Trinity¬† , as well as the three-fold mission and vision of the school.

Church of Gesu was built from 2001 to 2002 . This church is considered as a modern landmark and a major focal point in the spiritual life of   the campus

Its shape and design is also meant to suggest the outstretched arms of the Sacred Heart, and the traditional Filipino bahay kubo. The site has a total area of 10,200 square meters, and a  seating capacity of 1,000 persons.

Ges√Ļ Liturgical Committee
Church of the Ges√Ļ
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Quezon City

Telephone: 426-6069 or 426-6001 loc.4071 (Marife)
Fax: 426-6088 (ATTN: GES√ô Liturgical Committee)

Campus Ministers:
Edmark (loc. 4076)
Jerome (loc. 7154)

Rain tree of more popularly called Akasya or Acacia , this tree was introduced in the 1840’s from South America to beautify Manila’s public parks.

Notes:  At the end of the tour, The author met at least 60 people with different interest, shared our different ideas and same passion over our hobbies and interests. Bird watching is a very interesting field, you need to go out and see that in the modern urban areas, there are still wilderness areas where one can appreciate nature at its best.

¬†The author would also like to thanks Mr. Raffy Salda√Īa,¬† Mr. Adri Constantino (guide) and Ms. Trinket Canlas (guide)

We also saw at least  a dozen bird species , about a dozen native and introduced tree species, dozens of ornamental plants and an architectural heritage of the university . But according to our tour head, there were at least 50 bird species that can be found within the campus .

After the tour , we were again invited for another tour in La Vista Subdivision and stayed there for several hours and enjoyed watching the rare owl.


Ateneo de Manila :

Church of Gesu :

lowland white-eye :

Phalaenopsis x intermedia :

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