Indigenous youths keep ancient forestry traditions alive in the Philippines

By Keith Anthony S. Fabro
Nation of Change
March 7, 2023

In the southern Philippines’ Misamis Oriental province, Indigenous Higaonon practice a forest management tradition known as panlaoy.

Michellejean Pinuhan, an Indigenous Higaonon, completed her bachelor’s degree in agriculture entrepreneurship in 2022. Then, instead of working in the city after graduation, she chose to return to her roots in the Mount Sumagaya region, in the southern Philippines.

The 23-year-old is part of a cohort of Indigenous youths known as basbasonon (second-liners): volunteers keeping alive an ancient forest monitoring practice known as panlaoy that helps protect ecosystems on the slopes of this biodiversity-rich mountain in Misamis Oriental province.

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