Various media features and interviews from July 2020 to March 2021:
Promoting Forest Conservation and Heritage Preservation Through Art | DZUP Atin ‘To Interview, March 23, 2021: Link
View this post on Instagram
Drawing Native Trees for Conservation – Presentation + Demo | Ang InK, November 2020: Link
Business Mirror, Sept. 27, 2020: Link
Arts for Conservation Episode | MUNI on this Podcast, August 2020: Link
MB Lifestyle, July 17, 2020: Link
After almost a year of collaborative back and forths, we were finally able to launch the ForesTree: A Memory Match-Up Game app right on International Forest Day 2021! You can download it for iOS and Android .
This app is completely FREE and was built by Gabby Lacuesta of Funny Cow Games under my ongoing Grant with Forest Foundation Philippines. (You can read Gabby’s notes on building the game as a touching tribute for his Dad here.)
The project sprouted as early as May 27, 2020 when Gabby messaged me on IG to talk about building a game around some of my illustrations. He had already built an engine for a memory game app back then for his own children, and I already had some native tree, leaf, flower, and fruit illustrations. Combining them into a fun match-up game that could teach kids (and kids at heart!) about our indigenous trees was the dream project. But how to fund it?
The very next day, I messaged Schenley Anne Belmonte, Communications Officer of FFP to ask if we could explore making a memory game app as I was already in the process of re-allocating my Grant funds since a lot of our planned activities couldn’t materialize due to the qurantine. Shen and the rest of the project management team, Forester & Program Officer Diane Estephanie Bagui and Knowledge Management Specialist Bryan Joel Mariano, were excited about the idea. The next step was for me to write and submit a formal project and budget proposal to FFP along with a request for the realignment of funds. Fortunately this got approved, so then I needed to gather all the materials (illustrations + info on the native species), create graphics, and send them over to Gabby.
The title of the game, “ForesTree” – which I personally think is pretty catchy — was the brainchild of the Forest Foundation Ph project team. Gabby suggested adding music and voice overs to make the game more playable, so I got in touch with my good friends, award-winning musician Jazz Nicolas (who composed a lot of the Itchyworms’ greatest hits, and more!), and Patti Malay (GM of FleishmanHillard Manila and also a radio DJ and podcast host so her voice might sound very familiar to you 🙂 ) to lend their skills. So grateful they said yes despite their busy schedules! After a quick briefing, Jazz composed four beautiful music tracks + incidental sound clips in less than two days, and we ended up using all of them in the game. Patti, meanwhile. articulated the species names clearly and perfectly, with some of the more difficult ones guided by our resident forester Diane.
View this post on Instagram
And what you see above is the result of months of building, testing, and discussing. Would also like to thank Scientist (and fellow FFP Grantee) Dr. Denise Margaret Matias for her very helpful builds during the game testing phase.
Hope you’ll enjoy playing and learning from it! The game is completely free* and you can download it from these links: iOS | Android
*Full transparency: Forest Foundation Philippines and I do not earn anything from the downloads or use of the ForesTree App
My work with Forest Foundation Philippines was featured recently on Adobo Magazine. Hope you can read the full interview, here. 🙂
Happy Earth Day! Even in this time of Covid-19, let’s also think about the steps we can take to protect the home that has nurtured us since we were born. It can be as simple as reducing (if not, completely avoiding) the use of single-use plastic, walking instead of taking your car, supporting our farmers and forest watchers, recycling / repurposing old items instead of throwing them away, and composting kitchen waste, among others. A healthy environment can also care for us more efficiently as we fight this pandemic together.
Also taking this moment to spread the love for our Philippine native trees and their importance in forest conservation and protection. Without our forests, our food and water security will be compromised andof course we can’t allow that to happen especially during this very challenging period.
Sharing these desktop and mobile wallpapers featuring some of the fruit-bearing trees that Forest Foundation Philippines and I showcased in our ongoing #ForestFruitsPh project.You can download them straight from FFP’s site, provided through the links below. Feel free to share them with your friends, hopefully along with the message of conservation. 🙂
Download from Forest Foundation Philippines:
#ForestTreesPh desktop wallpaper (2880 x 1800)
#ForestTreesPh mobile wallpaper (750 x 1334)
I’ve known veteran and well-respected documentarist and journalist Mr. Howie Severino for a long time, but only in the way that most people know him — by name, and through his body of work. I’ve never met him in person. Therefore it took me by surprise a couple of weeks ago when I saw that he had followed me on Instagram. His IG was on private, but I requested to follow back anyway because… why not? 😀
At that time, it hadn’t been publicized that he unfortunately contracted Covid-19, and I only learned about it when he accepted my follow request and I got to see the photos on his feed. He also sent me this very touching direct message, and with his permission, I shared the gist of our encounter with my private list on IG Stories, and a few days later, on Twitter. Reposting the thread below for documentation.
While trying to deal with pandemic-related uncertainty, stress, and anxiety, I’ve been thinking on and off if art ~ the only thing I can do – had any use at all, but Sir Howie’s message (above) made me see its worth even at a time like this.
Sir Howie also showed me an awesome photo of him, his wife, and son, posing by the roots of a huge Dao tree and wondered if he could commission me to draw it. I don’t accept portrait commissions anymore, but this was different. Around that time, his essays, “Ako si Patient 2828” and “The Anti-virus Warriors in My Blood” had already been published on the GMA website, and I read both of them in one sitting.
While drawing, I kept thinking that there’s no way I can accept any payment after he had been through so much suffering. It was going to be my gift for all the good he has done, and is doing – undergoing even more tests in the name of medical research, and continuing to share what he knows in order to help others.
After I told him, he sent yet another touching message.
If there’s anything I will remember during these past 1.5 months of extreme-whatever lockdown, this experience would be it. In case you get to read this, thank you, Sir Howie. I’m actually the one who received a “gift” through our encounter because it has inspired me all the more to keep creating and helping in any way possible. 🙂
Edit (April 24, 2020): I just learned that our exchange was also featured in an article on the GMA News website.