WATCH: This Man Planted 10,000 Mangroves in Leyte

On his own, sixty-five-year-old Gary Dabasol grew mangroves along the coastline of Matalom, Leyte, in the hopes of protecting his home and his community.

Photography: Courtesy of Dan Niez

When Dan Niez from Hilongos vistited Matalom, Leyte, he noticed the difference in the once empty coastline: mangroves were healthily growing along it.

Noong time na ‘yon, nakita ko itong area na ‘to na medyo green. Iba siya sa paningin kasi normally wala namang green dito dati, pero noong time na ‘yon nakita ko na kakaiba, may green na. (That time, I saw that this area was a bit green. It's different to the eyes because there wasn't any greenery normally here before, but at that time it was so different. It was green.)”


In his curiosity, he approached the mangroves. "Nagkataon din na si Tatay Gary nandito lang sa tabi, tapos noong nagtanong-tanong ako, ay siya pala ‘yong may-ari. (By chance, Tatay Gary was there, and then when I asked, he said the mangroves were his.)" Initially, Dan thought that it was a local government project. "Sabi niya, ‘Di, akin lang ‘to.’ Siya lang mag-isa ang nagtanim. (He said, 'No, it's all just me.' He planted everything on his own.)"

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Sixty-five-year-old Gary Dabasol, a Matalom local, shared that he began planting mangroves after going through typhoon Yolanda. “Malakas ang alon at saka hangin, kaya naisip ko ibalik ko ang pagtanim ng mangroves, dahil kailangan kasi, tabi lang kami sa dagat. Palagi akong nagtanim kaya umabot nang marami. (The waves and the winds were strong, which is why I thought to bring back planting mangroves because it's needed, we just live beside the sea. I always plant, that's why it ended up to be this many.)”

Watch Tatay Gary and Dan's story below:

Video Producer: John A. Mariano

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