Beyond  Hardships

(By Laila Grace Roxan Indico)   –  The National Geologic Quadrangle Mapping Program  of the DENR –  Mines and  Geosciences Bureau aims to produce geologic maps for the remaining  areas of the country  and are used as reference in other  geological surveys being conducted by the Bureau, such as in geohazards assessments, hydrogeological studies, and geo• resources  inventory,  which  are used by the local government  units in the formulation  of their land use and development plans.

Last March to May of 2022, MGB R6 geologists and aides conducted  geologic mapping  in  areas bounded  by Artuz Quadrangle (based on NAMRIA’s topographic  map, Sheet No. 3453-I): Calinog in Iloilo, Tapaz in Capiz, and Libacao in Aklan. The team traverses treacherous  streams, and knee-deep muddy roads and trails at any weather conditions,  be  it  foggy, scorchy,  or  rainy  while  noting outcrops and taking samples.

These  areas are also the locations  of the  3  of 9 proclaimed  watershed  areas in Panay Island, namely: (a) Aklan River Watershed Forest Reserve in Aklan, (b) Pan-ay River Watershed  Forest Reserve in Capiz, and  (c) Jalaur River Watershed  Forest Reserve in Iloilo. These forest reservations with breathtaking views of the highlands, refreshing waters, and great biodiversity are also home to various  tribes of the Panay   Bukidnon,    i.e., Halawudnons

( Calinog, Iloilo), Pan-ayanons   or Suludnons   (Tapaz, Capiz), and Akeanon   Bukidnons   (Libacao, Aklan). The traverse the team takes every single day may seem difficult, these are still not comparable to what the IPs have to do in order to afford their basic needs, such as riding habal far more than 6 hours in thick, sticky, and muddy trails or carrying more than 50 kilos of abaca fiber on their backs while hinge to their heads as they trek several mountains the whole day or cruising the rivers rapids on bamboo  rafts in order to reach the town centers. Their warm smiles and accommodating gestures, as we meet them  along the trail or while crossing rivers or when we arrive in their communities,  are always worth of our sweat-stained faces, body aches, and muddy, dripping clothes. The smiles  and hellos of them  made  it all worth  it. (L. Indico, MGB VI)

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