TWO major natural crises were heavy on everyone’s minds around the time the January Walk the Talk (WTT) activity was taking place.
In Australia, massive and seemingly unstoppable bushfires were ravaging a sizable part of the continent and taking lives, devastating wildlife and displacing entire communities. Closer to home, in Batangas, Taal Volcano became active and began spewing thick ash plumes and steam, forcing whole towns and families to retreat to safety as evacuees.
It was therefore very fitting and timely that appreciating the environment—and finding ways to celebrate, preserve and sustain it—was the central message of the WTT activity on January 18, 2020. The venue—the tree-filled La Mesa Watershed in Quezon City— also helped the participants visualize and appreciate the value of the WTT’s environmental message more.
Around 400 Lopez Group employees, family members and friends attended the walk, which was sponsored by ABSCBN, SKY Cable and Knowledge Channel. What also made the January WTT special to the participants was that it was literally the first WTT activity not just of the new year, but of the new decade.
As part of the sponsors’ duties, SKY’s Dimpy Jazmines welcomed the participants and performed the emceeing chores, SKY’s Edward Gardon delivered the invocation and ABSCBN’s Carms Dumdumaya led the Lopez Credo recitation.
Among the highlights of the occasion was when ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc.’s Mar Ramirez addressed the WTT participants with his opening message. As a Bantay Kalikasan forester, Ramirez stressed the importance of La Mesa Watershed and the vital role that trees and the watershed play for the surrounding communities. He called on the Lopez Group employees to continue being advocates of the environment and to do big and small actions that help save it.
Some of the practices that Ramirez referred are already being done in the WTT activities. Participants are encouraged to bring their own drinking bottles during the walks to help reduce the need for single-use plastics. With their “Refuse to Refuge” program, Lopez Group Foundation Inc. has also started installing a collection bin at WTT events where participants can dispose their plastic wastes and they are given to a partner NGO for recycling.
After the greetings and talks, the participants participated in an energizing warm-up activity where they stretched and learned to dance the steps to Sarah Geronimo’s viral hit “Tala.” The route through the watershed was a challenging six-kilometer route through trees and forest paths, but the participants didn’t mind as they all enjoyed the scenery, took plenty of memorable pictures and reveled in each other’s company as they trekked while communing with nature.
At the end of their walk, the WTT participants were rewarded with a sumptuous and hard-earned “salu-salo” and were also treated to some fun raffle prizes from the sponsors. Additionally, the January WTT was also a venue for Lopez Group employees to drop off donations intended for the Taal Volcano eruption evacuees; the collected donations were turned over to Sagip Kapamilya after the event.