40 Kilometers from Digos City is the nature reserve of New Israel, Makilala, North Cotabato. Since the 1900’s the site is a refuge for the little-known Moncado religious sect. Believing firmly that protecting the environment is part of their religious mandate, the denizens of New Israel have been firm in creating a community and reserve that is in harmony with nature, including the many animals and indigenous people near the foot of Mt. Apo. No wonder then that the area would be a key site for ecotourism in Region XII.
Seizing on the opportunity for commerical and social benefits that could be mined from the reserve, Avenue One Hotel of Digos City organized the first New Israel Eco-Festival last May 28-30, 2015. On May 28 the Rotary Club of South Digos participated in the said festival organized by Rotarian and current club president Tedorico Dofiles II. Alongside mountaineers climbing to the peak of Mt. Makalangit (a trail leading up to Mt. Apo) participants to the festival were also encouraged to plant trees along the side of the trail. The tress planted included rambutans, and other indigenous fruit and wood species for sustainable development.
Along with Rotary were also staff of JRS Express who participated in the tree planting and painting of “pintal” or tree guards.
The tree-planting activity takes up the challenge as part of the country’s national greening program.