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Sep 15, 2020

Rising above the pandemic with Ayala Land

When the pandemic hit, Audrey Go Palomar was cooped up with her eight cats in Quezon City, unsure of how the next few months would look like. Just like most people, she soon became restless and wondered what she can do to get a sense of normalcy amid the strange and changing times.

Audrey turned to biking along her neighborhood, where she saw just how the pandemic was affecting the rest of the country: homeless people roaming around with no masks, no alcohol, and no food. In the following days, she would bring food, water bottles and other supplies—everything her bike could carry—to hand out resources to the less fortunate. In a way, this small act helped her cope with her own cabin fever and the need for contact with other people.

“It helped me cope because I looked forward to having brief, physically distant chats with them,” Audrey recalled.

“Being locked up inside my home, alone, albeit with 8 cats, wasn’t exactly as easy as I thought it would be. I enjoyed the company of my cats but I sure as hell needed other humans.”

Despite dealing with the hardships the pandemic has brought, Audrey recognizes she is still among the lucky few who are relatively comfortable during these struggling times. One thing she’s thankful for is being part of the Ayala Land Inc. community. As a Forest Carbon Conservation Specialist for the Center for Conservation Innovations PH Inc., Audrey has been working with Ayala Land for the past three years to help the company achieve its goal of being carbon neutral by 2022.

Here, she knows she’s found friends who are helping make the world a better place to live in.

“What’s truly advantageous about being part of the ALI community is that you not only have colleagues or partners, but you have friends, specifically forest friends. So despite being in quarantine, we continue working for the environment,” she recounts.

Audrey helps in baselining and developing Ayala Land’s Carbon Forest Sites in order to enhance the company’s carbon stock. This in turn assists carbon forests with natural regeneration, offsetting Ayala Land’s carbon emissions.

As of 2018, Ayala Land and its partner nongovernment organizations have planted more than 42,000 native trees, boasting of an 80-percent to 100-percent survival rate.

“Continuing this work during the pandemic stresses how important it is to take care of nature to avoid future pandemics and other catastrophic environmental changes,” Audrey said.

While situations are still far from ideal, Audrey said being in a different career path would have made things even more difficult.

“Any job has its ups and downs. There are bad days and good days. But because my job is an amalgamation of my passion and profession, most days are good days – even during a pandemic,” Audrey shared.

If anything, the pandemic has taught Audrey to give more attention to the little things in life, like talking to loved ones or simply biking against a good scenery.

“Coping through the hardships brought by a pandemic is much easier if you have other humans helping you by side, figuratively. And helping other people helped me in more ways than I can concisely articulate.”

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