The Nayon for Healing project brings natural environments closer to people to educate us that humanity and nature are one and should not be seen separately. It aims to show that the healing of nature will bring healing to all—we heal as one.

Healing as One- Nayong Pilipino Foundation-NPF in Support of the existing Quarantine Facility
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Last October 2019, the National Government approved the development of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation’s (NPF) 9.5-hectare property as a cultural park and creative hub with the intention of turning it into a venue for promoting regenerative tourism. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put these plans on hold. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and following the announcement of Republic Act 11469 Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, two hectares were utilized by the IATF as a quarantine facility for asymptomatic patients. The facility is estimated to be operational for eight months—from January to August of 2021. 

In keeping with NPF’s corporate values, an onsite planning workshop was held last April 22, where NPF provided technical experts. This aimed to help better the conditions of not only the patients admitted in the facility but also the staff manning it. 

Titled “Nayon for Healing Planning Workshop,” the activity sought to address and assist in the implementation of better biosafety measures through consultations and recommended spatial arrangements for the facility. In attendance were the NPF Urban Forest Project Team (NPUFP team), volunteer Biosafety Officers Ar. Dorothy Lee and Engr. Bianca Adalem, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). 

The initial concerns raised to NPF by those stationed in the area were that “the site gets too hot and that shade is requested, and patients within the site are experiencing forms of depression attributed to lack of ‘greenery’ within the facility.” Worries regarding the possible spread of diseases from insects were also mentioned. 

To respond to this, the Nayong Pilipino Urban Forest Project (NPUFP) team first introduced the Nayon for Healing initiative under Project Sambayanihan. Through the application of physical enhancements and recommended activities, this initiative aims to contribute to the mental and emotional wellbeing of the patients and staff stationed in the quarantine facility. 

Part of the NPUFP team’s immediate response is the utilization of softscape elements that can be easily distributed throughout the site. Called the Nayon GreenBox, it will be a collection of different species of potted plants. The plants to be used were meticulously chosen based on visual variety including their color, texture, and scale. Other factors taken into consideration were maintenance, safety concerns, and site condition. 

Through the workshop, the NPUFP Team and invited stakeholders were able to discuss and plan the setup of the Nayon GreenBox. It will be located in between the tents and the proposed plants to be used are Talisay and Palm plants to address the issues of temperature and the lack of shade. Citronella will be incorporated for its insect repellant properties, while Lavender and Mayana plants will be used to add color and texture variety. 

Furthermore, to “uplift nature and bridge the gap between humans and the natural environment,” the team devised a way to bring existing biomes on site. Previous visits have shown that, despite the site’s location, a wetland wildlife habitat managed to thrive in the area. Existing dragonflies, caddisflies, and boatmen were observed. 

The created biome will have water and soil as its growing medium and will be introduced to the created habitat containing mosquito and dragonfly eggs. When fully grown and functional, the biome should be able to control mosquito population within the area as well as humidify the vicinity. This will also address the worries on diseases brought by unmanaged insects. Additional plants to be incorporated are Rat’s Tail, Alocasia, Arrow Head, and Lotus plants as well as Water Lilies. 

Additionally, one of the goals of the Nayon for Healing project is to “recognize and honor the efforts of the front-liners by dedicating a portion of the forest as a Healing Grove.” Through this, they will be engaged as co-creators of the area, under the Sambayanihan tie-up activities and the development of the NPF Urban Forest – Interim Park. Discussed were the plans for tree-planting activities, conceptualization and creation of Time Capsules, and other dedication ceremonies. 

“The Nayon for Healing project brings natural environments closer to people to educate us that humanity and nature are one and should not be seen separately. It aims to show that the healing of nature will bring healing to all—we heal as one.”