Negros Footprint: Come, Discover, Support

How to keep the earth verdant and teeming with wildlife for the next arrival of humans remains the crucible of present inhabitants. And it doesn’t end there. The role is passed on. The ordeal continues.  Generation after generation there is no let up. Forest covers get thinner, plastic wastes mount, wildlife is pushed closer to extinction, and fishermen have less fish to catch. It’s almost a tragedy. Almost.

Three environmental groups in Negros Occidental refuse to drop the torch and let the flame die. Against the drudgery of ecological advocacy slowed by inadequate aid, they have created unique learning spaces so people can come, discover, and support. They are the reasons why Negros Season of Culture celebrates the environment in September. Because they have proven, it is possible for the environment to win.

Jungle Classroom. Decades of unrestrained and illegal deforestation activities reduced Negros Occidental’s forest to a little of 3% of its original cover. Preserving what remains begins with public education. A 1.2-hectare jungle classroom is offered by Talarak Foundation. Located in the vicinity of the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol in Bacolod, Negros Forest Park hosts some 150 animals endemic to the region. It is best known for the Big Five: the Visayan Spotted Deer, the Rufous-headed Hornbill, the Visayan Warty Hog, the Tarictic Hornbill, and the Negros Bleeding Heart Pigeon. All are critically endangered due to loss of habitat.

A pair of critically endangered Tarictic Hornbills at the Negros Forest Park.

SWM Lab. Many – not all – but many local government leaders dodge their job of solid waste management. And so, with plastic waste left to clog waterways, floods bring ruin to life and property. In Binalbagan town, Jet Orbida and Checcs Osmeña-Orbida’s PeacePond serves as an SWM lab. A private coastal community, PeacePond is a sterling showcase of a closed-loop environmental system where materials are reused to conserve natural resources. The 24 farmers that comprise the PeacePond Farmers Association took home the Gold Prize at The Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines Awards in 2018.

From the devastation of cyanide fishing Danjugan Island is transformed into a marine sanctuary. Photo courtesy Philippine Reef and Rainforest Foundation

Marine Camp. In the 80s, destructive fishing using explosives and cyanide inflicted serious damage to coral reefs around Danjugan Island, just off the southern municipality of Cauayan. The Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation has since acquired Danjugan and turned it into a marine sanctuary. They ended fishing activity to allow the reef to heal. More significantly, the foundation began marine camps to enlighten the young, hoping that awareness can lead to conservation advocacy. The 43-hectare island, with its five lagoons, bat caves, and surrounding coral reef allows visitors to come, discover, and support following a low-impact, low-volume, high-quality, high-value tourism model.

PeacePond's Blastik Project begins with collection of plastic waste from the community. Photo courtesy PeacePond

Negros Season of Culture believes that a verdant earth, teeming with wildlife, must be part of Negrense heritage, a gift to pass on to the next generation. Starting in September, the NSC invites you to come, discover, and support the Negros Forest Park, PeacePond, and Danjugan Island. Because with you the environment will win.

For more on Negros heritage, visit and like us on FB and IG @NegrosSeasonOfCulture.

Design and Architecture

Cultural Experience

Art and Craft