Grotto de Banloc founders Jonathan and Virna Gaytano signed an agreement with Energy Development Corporation (EDC) to let the meditation place in Looc, Romblon be the permanent area for premium and endangered Philippine trees. (Photo Courtesy: Jonathan Gaytano)

PASIG CITY  — The town of Looc in the Island of Tablas, Romblon will soon to be the garden of Philippine Native Trees after the founders of Grotto de Banloc, a meditation place in town, signed a partnership commitment with Binhi Foundation on Sept 16 at Rockwell Business Center, Ortigas, Pasig City.

BINHI, a flagship environmental program of Energy Development Corporation (EDC), is a nationwide greening and reforestation program and is the first comprehensive private sector-led reforestation program in the Philippines which started in 2009.

Grotto de Banloc was represented by its founders, Jonathan and Virna Gaytano, while Atty. Allan Barcena represented the EDC.

As part of the agreement, Grotto de Banloc will be the permanent area for premium and endangered Philippine tree species such as Mangkono, Almaciga, Apitong, Bagtikan, Dao, Guijo, Kalantas, Kamagong, Lauan, Mayapis, Molave, Tindalo, Tanguile and Yakal to name a few and soon complete the 96 endangered trees.

“They (EDC) will also provide know-how on the care and benefits of these trees to our ecology. Books and other informative materials will be provided free at the grotto for the visitors,” Grotto de Banloc founder Jonathan Gaytano told PIA-Romblon.

“Forestry students of Romblon State University are welcome to visit and expose themselves to these trees without spending so much to travel outside the province. Botany, agriculture, high school and elementary students will also benefit from this arboretum,” he added.

The formal launching of the said project in the province will be announced soon. (PJF/PIA-MIMAROPA/Romblon)