Written by: Romerson B. Ponseca, Teacher I – Bataan National High School-Junior High School
Most of us have been weary because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But while different parts of our country are under varied community quarantine classifications, Filipinos have discovered their green thumbs during this period.
To cope with the pandemic and to make themselves occupied and productive at home, they have become inclined into planting, as people are encouraged to stay at their respective residences. With this, plantito and plantita became a trend in the mids of the pandemic.
But before plantitos and plantitas have arisen, I already met dozens of individuals who do this stuff. I can’t help to reminisce the moments I had with my students in our little garden at Bataan National High School. This small yard offers several crops, such as eggplants, okra, squash, and other usual vegetables, which were taken care of by my amazing students.
You might say that this may be only in compliance with the Gulayan sa Paaralan Program order of the Department of Education (DepEd), but for me, this is more than that. As the subject teacher designated to hold this activity for my grade 8 learners, I am glad and grateful because they could obtain health benefits from working with our little garden.
Yes, you read it right. There are health benefits that my learners could get from the said activity. What are those? Let’s find out a few of them.
Gardening is good for their hearts. It burns calories and it also has cardiovascular benefits, this is according to Dr. Robert Hutchins, an internal medicine physician.
Aside from that, gardening also increases mental health and self-esteem. In fact, the research carried out by C.J. Wood, J. Pretty, M. Griffin, “A case-control study of the health and well-being benefits of allotment gardening” stated that gardeners had substantially improved self-esteem, total disruption of mood, less stress, depression, and exhaustion, and more vigor.
Indeed, during the students’ academic demands, gardening is good for them. It could help to loosen up their stress.
Furthermore, planting will also give them a vitamin D boost. It makes them healthier as well as they will be given the opportunity to harvest the vegetables they have grown.
All the above-mentioned benefits are just a few examples of what they could get from constant gardening. However, the most meaningful for me is that gardening makes them happy. I can still vividly picture in my mind the smiles they offer, and their eyes filled with excitement and astonishment while doing the task.
Hopefully, the pandemic will come to an end and everything, including face-to-face lessons, will fall back to the way it used to be. I will, hence, meet student plantitos and plantitas, that would not only yield the fruits of their labor but also the health benefits that gardening bear.