• Allen Esteban

Creatives, unite! Volunteer for Manila’s ‘Last Lung’ book project

Artists For Arroceros calls for volunteer creatives to help create and design a guide book for “Manila’s Last Lung,” Arroceros Forest Park.


The Arroceros Guidebook: A Complete Interactive Primer to the Arroceros Forest Park will serve as a chronicle of the park’s rich, long history and biodiversity.

Let’s Collaborate for a Forest!


Led by two multimedia art students from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Jomer Haban and Sean Eidder, Artists For Arroceros aims to increase recognition and promotion of the forest park with its extensive collection of flora and fauna, and its history from the Spanish occupation to its modern-day plight for liberation from destruction by different local government administrations.


Aside from the creation of the book, the team is set to do series of campaigns including branding and identity development, merchandise, and other fundraisers which will feature the works of the team that will build Artists For Arroceros.


“We always wanted to cultivate the city's hidden history, and even more so provide a community of new generations that will safeguard the future of the Arroceros Forest Park,” Eidder shared.


The project is in collaboration with Winner Foundation, the park’s founding non-governmental organization.


Based on the pair’s extensive research, they noticed that Winner Foundation did not have any organizational recruitments since the park's foundation in 1993.


“We saw an opportunity to help out Arroceros' handler by supporting it with a series of socially designed campaigns that would provide security for the founding organization's legacy,” Eidder said.


Multiple visits to the park during Eidder’s school field trips have shown him the deteriorating state of the park.


“It's not enough that we rely on the LGU's initiative of improving the park (as they have initially planned at the beginning of 2020, but was obviously impeded by the pandemic). Arroceros needs a community that will continue to secure its position, as immediate as possible, while we wait for the administration's initiatives. We fear that the continuous lack of resources for the park would lead to its demise, so we had to act fast in reviving it and providing it the maximum potential,” Eidder emphasized.


The Forest in the City

It was in 1993 that the government decided to develop a forest park in Manila in an effort to preserve the surviving 150-year-old trees from the intense bombing during World War II.


The two-hectare forest was once the site of an old Filipino-Chinese settlement called Parián de Arroceros, which gave birth to Manila’s bustling commercial center in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Being the only forest in the city, Arroceros Forest Park is considered an important landmark in Manila. There are more or less 3,000 endemic or native species of trees in the park, including the psychedelic-looking rainbow tree.

For the past few years, there have been multiple attempts from the previous administrations to put up buildings and destroy the forest.


But on February 27, 2020, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno declared the Arroceros Forest Park as a permanent forest park in order to protect it from destruction.


***


Artists For Arroceros is now accepting volunteers from the creative field (illustrators, graphic designers, AR experts, layout artists, and writers) and from history and natural science experts (birdwatchers, botanists, zoologists, researchers and historians).

If you’re interested, sign up here.


For queries and more information, email artistsforarroceros@gmail.com.


Photos and graphics from Artists For Arroceros.

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