Nature Pedagogy at Sirao Peak

When the world calls for a change and when humanity considered ethics a thing in the past, education is placed on the pedestal.  Realizing this circumstance, what more but to teach the next generation in a place free from the influence of modern technology. A different surrounding for them for self-awareness and self-regulation. Thus, my fruitful adventure in Sirao Peak comes in.
"Sirao Peak in another angle"

Outdoor Ethics
The Leave No Trace Principle is, ironically, a common knowledge practiced only by those who understand it by heart. Even grown-ups have a hard time internalizing it. 
"Deductive activity about LNT"

Rooted from the old adage, "Nature can live without Man; but, Man cannot live without Nature," the human race displaced the idea that nature can consequently strike back at them. Though it is just a matter of time, humankind must be aware and prepared for such backlashes. 

Experiential Learning with the Millenials
Our session began by identifying what belongs to man and what belongs to nature. 

Honestly, I was lucky to be invited to teach a group of teenagers to learn about "Outdoor Ethics". Passing on the learning about the outdoor means creating a chain of responsible generation who, as I believe, will also do the same to the next generation to come. 
"Workshop on going..."

It was a session where these youngsters are taught about nature, the LNT, trail signs and responsible mountaineering. At their teenage years, they are molded to become respectful adults not only to themselves but also to others and generally, to the world we are living in. 

Nature as a Tool for Learning
I always believe that the outdoor is the best classroom. In a natural environment (without the influence of gadgets), young and adults alike can definitely take part of the experience. Appreciating the wildlife, and giving importance to all life forms are one of the basics of LNT and were emphasized during the session. 
"The group pointing at the sky..."
"Isn't it wonderful to watch these children play in the outdoor?" 

On the second day, we brought our participants in a natural environment. It wasn't so hard to choose Sirao Peak or Mt. Kan-irag. Not only that it is fitting for the beginners but also its trail is already familiar to me. 

Sirao Peak and my Personal View
Sirao Peak is my playground. It witnessed my struggles as a beginner mountaineer until who I am today. Truly, destiny had us together this year. I was back in this place where in every climb, there is a significant story to tell. Indeed, the story I encountered was a reflection of myself some 5 years ago when I took the courage to get out of my comfort zone and try a hobby that unexpectedly I learned to love. 
"It was foggy and cold at the peak."
"Clearance in a moment while I was contemplating."

Like me, Sirao Peak has inspired first-time climbers to take babysteps until they found within themselves the beauty of the mountain and the fulfillment it gives when one is at the summit. 
"Had a short stopover at Sirao Flower Garden"

Seeing these teenagers experiencing what Sirao Peak has to offer brought so much joy in my heart. From that time on, they filled in their personal cup of experience and able to capture aspects of positivity and responsibility. 

Focused Reflection
The glory of climbing a mountain maybe a once in a lifetime experience but the learning it offers is subjective to every individual. Moreover, teenagers might take it just a mere fun experience forgetting the lessons they were supposed to inculcate. 
"Adventure Cafe offers ziplining at Php150"

So the staff stopped over at Adventure Cafe in Barangay Gaas, Balamban for focused reflection. They were asked about their own experience, draw the experience out and write down what they feel and what they learned. Afterwhich, they were made to share them in the group. 
"Reflecting about their experience"

The generation today is in question. The society expects the youth to adapt and extend the values that have been traditionally and even culturally practiced by the world's pre-generation.

But these millenials are keeping up with the fast-paced world, adjusting in an environment where self-worth is shown through thumbs-up and hearts in the social media. They, at times, are pressed with the idea that self-respect is gained if they blended well with their peers. Ethics is a thing in the past because only a few of the older generation passed it on to the next. Together, we can make a difference. Together, these millenials will become future leaders who will carry on respect and responsibilities they learned from  us. Let us teach them well. 

About the "Outdoor Ethics"  Workshop
The workshop started with the knowledge of Nature and Man (Nature Principle Number One: Nature Knows Best). Followed by the "Leave No Trace" Principle with video presentation and reaction. In the afternoon, the session was focused on Trail Signs and Outdoor Safety. 

About the Speakers
The speakers were trained in Adventure Education and had attended Basic Mountaineering Course. They were also seasoned climbers who had climbed high peaks in the Philippines like Mt. Apo, Mt. Dulang-Dulang, and Mt. Pulag. Both are educators by heart and visionaries. Both take Sirao Peak as their inspiration to keep on climbing. 

About the Participants
The faces of the participants are highly confidential. No photos should appear in the social media with their faces vividly shown. So the blogger opted to have it in black and white, side view and back. Photos are taken with permission. 
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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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