Are Mountains Forever? A Lenten Reflection

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. - Matthew 27:51

Are mountains forever?

Are forests forever?

"Each tree is a life of an Aeta. The mountains are our life. When they perish, we shall perish, too,” an Aeta (Indigenous Peoples) elder told us.

Sharing with Christ’s suffering, the whole creation is in travail. The natural world is crying out in pain from exploitation by the power of greedy, profit-oriented economic systems.

But indigenous peoples are teaching us about resurrection from suffering and death.

The Aetas believe that the mountains and forests share the same umbilical cord with them. They protect and shelter each other, they nourish each other, and they both breathe in and out the wind of Kamana (goddess of the mountains), life-giver, and Bathala (GOD).

They do not assess values of trees and mountains, the butterflies and grass, according to the currencies of trade. That is why they are against development aggression.

“We promise Apo Namallari (God) that we will take care of the mountains. We shall defend it even if it may cost us our lives. There were not few of us who have sacrificed our lives to defend our land,” said an Aeta woman leader.  

“Whatever happens to Mt Abo will happen to us. When mountains die, we will die also. So we will defend it and let its life-giving power nourish the generations to come.” 


Editor's Note: Norma Dollaga is a United Methodist deaconess from the Philippines Central Conference. She is currently the general secretary of KASIMBAYAN (Kapatirang Simbahan Para sa Bayan). Ms. Dollaga has served previously as chair of her annual conference Board of Church and Society and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the premier deaconess school in the Philippines—Harris Memorial College. Norma is a poet, artist and activist, and a member of the Association of Women in Theology.