Feast of the Forest in Palawan Date in the current year: June 19, 2024

Feast of the Forest in Palawan The Feast of the Forest (Pista ng Kagubatan) is a special working holiday celebrated in the Philippine province of Palawan on June 19 every year. It was established to highlight the importance of forests to the province.

The largest province of the Philippines in terms of total area, Palawan is an archipelago of about 1,700 islands stretching between Mindoro Island (Philippines) and Borneo (an island divided between Indonesia and Malaysia). In geological history, Palawan used to be connected to Borneo by earth. Due to this, much of its flora and fauna is closely related to that of Borneo, and Palawan is regarded as part of the biogeographical region of Sundaland, alongside Bali, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, the surrounding small islands, and the Malay Peninsula.

About 56% of the total land area of Palawan is covered by forest, including mangrove forest. As of 2010, the province had 700,000 hectares of forest. It is often referred to as the “largest biodiversity frontier” of the Philippines due to being home for many threatened and endemic species, including the Palawan bearded pig, the Palawan birdwing, the Palawan peacock-pheasant, the Philippine mouse-deer, and the Philippine pangolin.

Palawan, the largest island of the province that gave it its name, was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1990. In 2001, the government of the Philippines designated June 19 as the Feast of the Forest to highlight Palawan’s conservation and sustainable development effort, as well as strengthen the province’s commitment to preserve its forests and biodiversity for future generations to enjoy.

One of the sustainable development initiatives launched in Palawan is an aggressive tree-planting program started in the provincial capital of Puerto Princesa in the 1990s. The city adopted the concept of community-based forest management to engage its entire population. Since the launch of the program, local groups have planted about 100,000 trees each year, expanding Puerto Princesa’s forested area by about 100,000 acres over two decades. Thanks to this, Palawan’s capital has come to be known as “the City in the Forest”.

Due to the massive increase in the forested area with its carbon-capturing ability, Puerto Princesa became the first carbon-neutral city in the Philippines and entire Southeast Asia. In fact, the city can even be called “carbon negative”, meaning that its trees pull more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than the activities of the city’s population emit.

Naturally, tree planting is one of the main activities in Puerto Princesa during the celebration of the Feast of the Forest. Every June, thousands of people, including environmental advocates, government officials and local politicians, celebrities, and even tourists plant seedlings to make the city even greener than before and preserve the unique flora and fauna of Palawan. The city government provides the seedlings and transportation for participants so that everyone who wants can contribute to the protection of Palawan’s environment.

Remind me with Google Calendar


Ecological Observances



Feast of the Forest in Palawan, holidays in the Philippines, regional observances, environmental observances