How the “Permaculture Gardens” journey started in the Philippines

The Philippines is an island (technically around 7,000 islands) in the Pacific with close ties to the US. Historically, the US and the Philippines had been allies during World War II and to this day the US maintains links to the Philippines since it is strategically situated in the Pacific Ocean as an entry point to mainland China.

The Philippines however, is more popularly known as a tropical paradise of white sand beaches, coconut trees and diving experiences beyond compare. As a result of that, I’m pretty much a beach snob here in the US and cannot help but compare the beaches here to the ones I remember back home.



There is one environmental statistic that struck me about the Philippines as a youth and remains with me to this day. It was that one of our regional mountains in Luzon (one of three major Philippine Islands) Mount Banahaw, posseses flora and fauna (3) three times as diverse as that of the entire United States! That’s one mountain vs. an entire country! And mind you, we have over 500 mountains listed on Wikipedia.

Mt. Banahaw by Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap

Sadly (as is the case in most third world countries), the Philippines’ rich and diverse natural resources are slowly being degraded by “development” and lack of sustainable management. Environmentalism is just never high on whatever the current Philippine government’s agenda is.

"Smokey Mountain" dump site

“Smokey Mountain” dump site

In fact, I don’t think it ever really weighed as much on most Filipinos’ minds as poverty did. But somehow as a middle-class teenager living in Manila, I was struck by the environmental impacts on my country. And I really wanted to make a difference even back then.

When I was in journalism school, we investigated allegations of “nuclear dumping” conducted by the US military in Subic Bay (where the military bases were stationed). For a while after the US military had left, people wouldn’t swim in those beaches. Having been away from home for so long. I don’t know whether those beaches are now open to the public.

Subic Bay Boardwalk

Subic Bay Boardwalk

There’s a part 2 to this story for by some design of providence, God led me here to the States!

In the States anything is possible.

You are witnessing a part of my journey now on this Permaculture Gardens website. But that’s exactly it. The journey doesn’t end here. It continues with you guys. Weaving your stories with ours and building your own permaculture gardens.

The garden is a powerful thing. It gives you the ability to produce what you will eat. If people “permaculture-gardened” in the Philippines (which happily they are now starting to do), then their minds wouldn’t be on the next meal they would need to dumpster dive for. See Project Propel.

There would probably be less crime and more living! That’s why I believe permaculture is ultimately an act of charity. Like Geoff Lawton likes to say,

“All the worlds problems can be solved in a garden.”

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