Square one

This is the typical view of vegetable farms in the mountainous province of Benguet, significant portions of forest area have been converted into farm lands by the early settlers. I couldn’t help but think of how much effort they’ve put in, to cultivate the first few plots of their vegetable garden. Thankfully, what they’ve started eventually became a significant part of their society. They were able to feed their local communities, and is now being known as the main producer of upland vegetables in the Philippines.

These landscapes that has cultural, environmental, and economical importance to the locals should be well maintained, and be prevented from foreseeable deterioration. Unfortunately nowadays, less and less of young adults in the Philippines are interested in working farmlands. They see this as a very tedious work with very little financial reward.

As a member of society, we should do our part in ensuring sustainable development, no work is too little when we combine it with others’. Those terraces of vegetable farms were not cultivated by a single individual, it is a collective effort of their community.

Being one of the “younger” members of the society has both pros and cons: we have the capability to implement change as we have the numbers, and we are in the front-line of these challenges; but there’s the limitation of knowledge and experience. Hence Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) plays a vital role in enabling young leaders make contributions for the betterment of their communities all over southeast Asia. The experience that we will gain in the next six weeks will be invaluable as we propose solutions to our community challenges.

Today marks the square one of my YSEALI journey, I have nothing but excitement, optimism, and gratitude for having been selected in this professional fellows program. I hope I will be able to make valuable contributions for the preservation of the environment that will go hand in hand with sustainable development.

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