“Laudato Si” Mangrove Tree Planting 2019 with UP RI’s GINA Mobile Application

Poster of the “Laudato Si”: Mangrove Tree Planting Event in 2019.

The UPRI participated in the “Laudato Si” Mangrove Tree Planting event last 13 October 2019 in Katunggan Ecopark, Leganes, Iloilo organized by the Religious of Mary Immaculate in Jaro, Iloilo. In celebration of the “Year of the Youth”, the mangrove tree planting activity was held to empower the youth to raise awareness about our environmental issues in particular climate change and disasters.

RMI Facilities: Caregiving Room, Classroom, Computer Room and Dress Making Room

The Religious of Mary Immaculate (RMI) in Jaro, Iloilo has a Youth Center and dormitory. The Center offers Alternative Learning Systems (ALS) as well as vocational courses such as dress making, caregiving and basic computer skills. These are offered to students 16-30 years of age who were formerly out-of-school youth and worked as house helpers (Kasambahay) or pedicab drivers among others. The RMI engages students and residents (RMI Youth) in many activities, one of which is the “Laudato Si” Mangrove Tree Planting which they have been doing for several years.

Mr. Jude Agapito (UP RI) introducing the GINA App to the RMI Youth and Community.

The UP Resilience Institute introduced the GINA App to the RMI and Our Lady of Candles Parish Youth and the RMI Community. GINA stands for Growing INdigenous Trees in your Area. It is a mobile application that connects people who want to plant indigenous trees with organizations/ institutions that cultivate and offer such seedlings. The app also provides suggestions of places where a GINA App user can plant and grow a tree. GINA App users can also offer their own suggestions of places where to plant. Furthermore, GINA also shows a list of tree planting events in the country where users can participate. Lastly, the app was gamified where users can compete for the number of earned points while conserving and protecting the environment.

Mr. Jude Agapito (UP RI) and Sister Nina (RMI) explaining the relevance of tree planting.

After almost half a day of planting at the Katunggan Ecopark, 950 Bungalon and 100 Bakhaw Mangrove trees were sown by almost 100 RMI Youth/participants with Our Lady of Candles Parish Youth including UP RI researchers. The Katunggan Ecopark in Leganes used to be fishponds and are now thickly covered with mangroves from the collective efforts of the Iloilo community, government agencies and international organizations. The restoration of the abandoned fishpond to a mangrove habitat was led by Mr. Wilson Batislaon, a 2016 Walt Disney Conservation Hero Awardee for his work in Katunggan Ecopark. Many local housewives who were previously dependent on their husbands’ income now contribute to their family’s livelihood by selling mangrove seedlings and managing the ecopark. Seventy five percent (75%) of the coastline of Leganes, Iloilo, is now covered by mangroves. The community aims for one hundred percent (100%) coverage.

The RMI Community with the RMI Regional Superior Sr. Geralyn Fenis, Our Lady of Candles Youth, UPRI Researchers, Mr. Jude Agapito and Mr. Nab Silva and Katunggan Ecopark Lead Forester Mr. Wilson Batislaon after the Mangrove Tree Planting.

The GINA Map showing the location of mangrove trees planted during the event.

The UP RI used the GINA app to document the mangrove tree planting event. Locations and details of all the trees planted are shown thru the map module. Pictures of the trees can be updated annually so that their growth and development can be seen by all users of GINA.

The GINA App showing Sister Lerma’s (RMI) planted tree


Joy Lavilla of RMI Youth shows with pride her planted tree.


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