good news that our team was able to pass milestone 4 of 5 of our HERMOSA
project last Thursday, January 28th. We are very happy and will now
officially start the demonstration phase. This also meant that there was
not much time left over to move ahead on the subject of this thread, i.
e. saving the Sacred Forest of the Higa-onon tribe in the Philippines.
So, milestone passed and now we can get going again on this other subject.
In discussion with James Atkins and Datu (both on this list) we have
decided to increase our visibility by writing a one-page document
detailing the situation and then getting it professionally designed so
that it gets easier to spread the word about the Sacred Forest and the
need to collect money to save it. Attached is a draft of the document
and the text is also written below. Thank you for helping to improve the
text and getting the message across.
Northern Mindanao, February 2021
my name is Datu Lanelio Sangcoan and I am the leader of the Higa-onon
tribe in the Philippines. In our 4 tribal communities there are a total
of 5,250 people and we have been living for centuries, if not longer, on
about 30 km² of densely forested area in Northern Mindanao. The forest
and the land on which it stands is important to us in numerous ways:
• The forest is our identity because this is where our ancestors
lived and thrived
• The spirits we worship reside in this forest wherefore it is
sacred to us and our culture
• The forest is the source of our livelihoods – food, building
material, medicine, recreation, clean air and water and many more
commodities are to be found here
• The forest is a hotspot of biodiversity which we want to preserve
for our descendants
Unfortunately, in our fast moving day and age, money and education are
paramount to leading a self-determined life. Taking education and money
as the reference points, 99.5% of our community are illiterate and live
below the poverty line. This makes us very vulnerable to outsiders who
have a better grasp of how the modern, globalized world works and who
have so much more money than we do. We have already lost a lot of our
land and are in the process of losing more of our forest to outsiders
who are buying our land to start logging, mining as well as oil palm and
coconut plantation operations. Once this happens the forest and land are
The world is heating up rapidly and the change of climate will affect us
all but more so communities like mine who depend on nature. There is a
huge global effort underway to restore ecosystems but somehow not many
thoughts are spent on preserving already existing areas, their
biodiversity and the people who live off this land. Preservation is much
less costly than restoration it also comes with added social and natural
Dear reader, in our plight we have started a crowd-funding campaign
where we hope to raise enough money to buy our land and place it under
protection for future generations.
May I sincerely ask you to support our cause with any amount of money
you can spare and share this document as widely as you can.
My tribe and I as well as our and your descendants will be forever
grateful for your generosity!