PH environmentalists behind Masungi Georeserve feted in Vanity Fair travel awards

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 5) — Filipino environmentalists Ann and Billie Dumaliang were feted by American magazine Vanity Fair for their efforts to promote sustainable tourism and environmental conservation in the Philippines.

The Dumaliang sisters spearheaded an environmental conservation project in Baras, Rizal which features unique geological formations and rich flora and fauna. This place is more popularly known as Masungi Georeserve, now a popular hiking destination due to its proximity in Metro Manila.

"For 20 years, the Dumaliang sisters have been in the karst landscape of Masungi Georeserve, with the goal of protecting 430 hectares of rainforest in Rizal. They have helped to rewild the land (depleted by deforestation and quarrying), establish monitoring trails, and integrate the local community," Vanity Fair travel editor Michelle Jana Chan said.

Ann told CNN Philippines' The Final Word on Friday the hardwork they poured in conserving Masungi is born out of desire for people to know more and commune with the environment.

"Hopefully, it gives everyone more hope of what we can do for the Philippines and how far we can take conservation," Ann reacted on their Vanity Fair travel awards citation.

Despite their conservation efforts, Ann shared there are threats in Masungi such as quarrying operations in protected areas of the georeserve and land grabbers.

She lamented the government could have denied mining permits in conserved areas such as Masungi and other similar places near the Marikina Watershed.

"These mining agreements are bound to be renewed by 2023. So we're assuming they are putting a lot of efforts to lobby. We're calling for government to really put a stop to this and to have these quarry permits canceled," said Ann, the Masungi Georeserve project manager and trustee.

Ann hopes more concerned sectors will partner with them in conserving Masungi Georeserve, for the protection of the environment and for the people to enjoy the beauty of nature in the years to come.