Global

Why ‘big threats’ don’t faze Dumaliang sisters in saving Masungi

For sisters and eco-warriors Ann and Billie Dumaliang, their house through the year-long lockdown has been the conservation space Masungi Georeserve.

Besides being secluded from ever-rising COVID-19 circumstances, the 2 stay in Masungi to tackle fixed and critical threats to their conservation efforts, from illegal quarrying to “professional squatting.”

Ann, 29, and Billie, 28, are managing trustees of the geological heritage web site in Baras, Rizal, which is outlined by rainforests and limestone rocks.

Weekends as children had been spent in the realm, which was being reforested with the assistance of their dad, Masungi Georeserve Foundation president Ben Dumaliang. As a denuded Masungi was rehabilitated in 20 years, consciously or not, the sisters grew as much as be its subsequent stewards.

Masungi Georeserve, Ann Dumaliang, Billie Dumaliang

Ann and Billie Dumaliang on Masungi’s iconic spider web-inspired platform. Image: Nikki Inso

Saving Masungi finally means financing conservation efforts. Though managing the positioning is a three way partnership between the federal government and the muse, the federal government doesn’t contribute any funding.

Thankfully, the muse has confirmed that sustainable tourism, is, nicely, sustainable, by providing nature-friendly trails led by a neighborhood tour information. When Masungi remodeled right into a geopark — part-trek and part-obstacle course — it rapidly grew to become a social media sensation and has obtained international recognition.

Masungi Georeserve

One of Masungi’s eye-catching hanging bridges. Image: Kyle Venturillo


But the pandemic has slowed down tourism, with Masungi shutting down for months in 2020 and reopening solely final November. Still, each sisters are grateful for any visitor, as visits ahead their trigger not solely financially, but in addition in educating folks on the significance of the atmosphere. Many of their guests are metropolis dwellers from close by Metro Manila who’re extra accustomed to the city jungle than a forest.

“A lot of the problems that we have around environment and sustainability, it roots from our detachment from nature. Because who would want to destroy what keeps him alive?” Ann harassed.

Masungi Georeserve, Ann Dumaliang

Ann Dumaliang handles operations of Masungi. Image: Nikki Inso

Ann oversees operations of Masungi whereas Billie does advocacy work of the muse. Together, they make sure that revenues from path visits are in a position to cowl salaries of park rangers and workers, authorized charges to fend off land-grabbing circumstances, and the prices of growing and sustaining the conservation space.

Billie admits that she was initially a “non-believer” of the geopark, deeming it a dangerous enterprise. But she herself can’t deny its magnificence and significance: “There has been nothing like Masungi in the country at all.”

Eventually, Billie left her company job for Masungi in 2016. Her first day concerned gunfire from land grabbers. But the hazard of this work as environmentalists has solely strengthened her and her sister’s resolve. It additionally helps that the 2 make a very good workforce. As Billie places it, “The success, you can see it, it’s on the horizon even if there are big threats. Hope is there; if there’s awareness of the public, we think we can make it.”


In this version of Take 10, Billie and Ann gave us a glimpse into what’s on their minds when they don’t seem to be involved in regards to the atmosphere — which is nearly by no means.

What is your happiest reminiscence?

Billie: Traveling with my household and consuming a neighborhood delicacies.

Ann: That would even be my reply. A very fond reminiscence I’ve can be nonetheless with household, staying in a park and simply chilling. Eating strawberries and crepes and simply mendacity down on the grass.

What do you assume is your sister’s finest trait?

Billie: Courage!

Ann: She’s very logical. Level-headed and logical.

What is your relationship like as sisters whenever you’re not working?

Billie: We wish to discover collectively.

Ann: For the file it’s very uncommon that we’re not engaged on one thing… however discovering, exploring and studying is loads of how we spend our time collectively.


Besides Masungi, what’s your favourite place that additionally has sustainable tourism?

Billie: I like north Australia as a result of that’s the place they’ve rainforests that appear like the Philippines. They’ve completed a very good job in remodeling their conservation mission into one thing that’s sustainable. Like pathways via the forest and even above-head, path administration, path interpretation and utilizing merchandise from the forest and turning these into enterprises like ice cream and spices.

Ann: You will be in the town correct with a lot of retailers round you and large bats are flying overhead… Everyone is aware of when jellyfish season is, when crocodile season is and shark season is. They respect that… Costa Rica, one other nation near the equator. They create so many good experiences in nature with out creating harm to the atmosphere. All of that roots from that incredible understanding of how conservation and tourism are associated. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez — who’s the atmosphere minister of Costa Rica — we had the chance to speak to him. He does preserve in contact too. He led the concept of funds for ecosystem providers… loads of their financial choices are influenced by that, even in tourism… Locally, I like how Batanes nonetheless has its id or character intact. There’s additionally this group in Cebu main [tourism at] the Aloguinsan River. They’ve additionally been awarded many instances for ecotourism in their space… France and the way they showcase their tiny villages and the distinctive character of every village.

What is a time that you simply’ve felt disappointment?

Billie: When I meet people who find themselves imagined to be in positions of authority and so they do the precise reverse [of serving people].

Ann: They’re imagined to be servant leaders. [But instead they do] extra of serving themselves.

Billie: Big disappointment.

Ann: People who’ve a lot management over the tough conditions however see their roles as menial record-keeping duties. Or would like to attend so-and-so dialogue or convention however not realizing it on the bottom. I at all times get dissatisfied with individuals who can’t stroll the discuss… Another newer encounter can be what we’re coping with, the latest land-grabbing incident. There are sure chieftains who made choices on behalf of the group with out the group’s consent to the purpose of endangering what’s good for the complete tribe. That’s actually disappointing for me as a result of in tribes, they’re households, they see one another as household. So that’s a special stage of evil for me to have the ability to try this and abdomen it.

What do you do to loosen up?

Billie: Watch birds and anime.


Ann: I watch birds exterior or on Instagram.

If you weren’t doing conservation work, what would you be doing?

Billie: Entrepreneurship.

Ann: Same.

Which dwelling individual do you most admire and why?

Billie: Pwede bang admire lang? Natatawa ako sa sasabihin ko so ‘wag na lang… Sasabihin ko kasi si Kim Kardashian. Because she’s very resourceful. She’s resourceful and environment friendly. She’s placing little and getting quite a bit.

Ann: I actually admire my dad and mom. They’ve formed loads of who we’re right this moment. I additionally admire Kris Tompkins for utilizing her wealth and enterprise acumen to re-wild land in southern America. Very sensible, strategic and so stuffed with coronary heart to have the ability to tackle that observe.

What is one thing new you’ve discovered through the pandemic?

Billie: Invite your concern to tea.

Ann: To see adversity as a possibility to develop sharper and higher, quicker. To strategy it with optimism, grace and a humorousness.

What is a life lesson you’ve gotten from being round nature?

Billie: Timefulness. To see moments on a scale of a lifetime or in the Earth’s time, which is quite a bit. Basically, if you happen to encounter adversity, is it actually gonna destroy your life? If you encounter local weather change, you must see that not as only a blip in per week or a yr however in Earth’s time in order that’s the way you’re gonna be capable of deal with such an enormous drawback.

Ann: I additionally actually discovered of the interconnectedness of the whole lot. Whatever occurs to nature, you actually do to your self. Every single factor that occurs impacts one thing else, then inevitably goes again to you a technique or one other… If we’re speaking about progress, progress isn’t going to be about how a lot cash you make, how a lot GDP grows in a yr. It’s about who will get to excellent that first, that quest for sustainability and the highest quality of life for everybody. JB

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