The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera (DA-CAR) partners with local artists Rafael Handiong Kapuno and Giul Sanchez, and Miss Earth Philippines 2020 Roxanne Allison Baeyens to raise the flag for employee’s health amid the pandemic by reconnecting with nature. The activity took place at the mountains of the Bureau of Animal Breeding and Research Center (BABRC) compound.
“Forest Bathing,” or shinrin-yoku originated in Japan. Kapuno considers it as a way of life for indigenous communities, thus, it being a familiar concept within the Cordillera Region.
BABRC Chief Robert Domoguen explains that the mountain is called “Bald Mountain or Bundok Kalbo,” despite its clear indications that it was once forested. He mentions that the idea of Forest Bathing will “help us think of our environment for a better life in relation to the survival and wellbeing of everybody including the animals.”
The activity kicked things off with an hour long mountain eco-walk led by the DA-CAR Integrated Laboratory Division and Research Division staff. A brief meditation and a few rhythmic exercises led by Kapuno and Giul Sanchez followed suit.
These were a few of the wellness activities recommended during the Gender and Development Focal Point System (GAD-FPS) meeting. DA-CAR, as an institution in pursuit of a holistic representation of gender equality in all aspects of development, included the activities to promote the overall health and fitness of its employees.
Urban Agriculture advocate Miss Earth Philippines 2020 Roxanne Allison Baeyens discloses that the activity helped her a lot–contributing to her optimism especially with her preparation for the worldwide Miss Earth 2020 pageant. She shares, “We get to see that the detrimental effects happening to nature is caused by human activity and abuse to biodiversity. With all the imbalance, nature is sending us a message to live a sustainable life.” She also highlights how protecting and conserving nature can be helpful to one’s mental health.