During a climb to the country’s highest peak, about 40 volunteer climbers saw firsthand the result of more than two decades of reforestation efforts that the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) has been doing on Mt. Apo.
At 2,450 feet above sea level, the project is considered the highest reforestation effort in the country. The 852-hectare area is planted with indigenous forest tree species like tinikaran (Leptospermum flavescens) and dipterocarp species such as white and red lauan (Shorea contorta and S. negrosensis, respectively).
“EDC has the best reforestation efforts in the country, as we saw on Mt. Apo and Mt. Kanlaon,” Kaya ng Pinoy Foundation head Fred Jamili said.
Mt. Apo is the last leg of the Hike for Light or H4L program of Stiftung Solarenergie (Solar Energy Foundation). Started last November 2011, 200 volunteer climbers distributed 500 solar-powered lanterns and mobile phone chargers to unenergized households around the foothills of the six highest mountains in the Philippines.
“Geothermal is site-specific. As much as we want to have more geothermal projects, there are only a few viable areas left. If we cannot tap geothermal energy in these areas, we could instead promote the use of other renewable energy sources, like solar,” explained Engr. Alejandro Catacutan, assistant vice president for the Mt. Apo geothermal project.
The 106-megawatt Mt. Apo geothermal project supplies 11% of the energy requirements of the Mindanao grid. The United Nations Development Programme cited it as a model for environmental sustainability; it also received the 1995 Gawad Kalikasan from the Philippine Association of Environmental Assessment Professionals.