Since 2016, the World Wide Fund (WWF)-Philippines has been working to rehabilitate and reforest the Ipo Watershed, which serves as the primary source of water in Metro Manila, supplying 96% of the whole area. 

Fintech company Gcash, in partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Philippines, launched GCash Forest. Through the Gcash mobile application, the project enables users to grow their own virtual trees. For every fully-grown virtual tree, a real tree will be planted.

WWF-Philippines Executive Director Joel Palma stated that this project depicts the stand of the organization when it comes to various social and environmental issues. This project also serves as thanks to many people who are coming together to improve the condition of our planet. 

Through a tree planting activity joined by the organizations and some volunteers, they were able to plant 4,200 seedlings. Gcash users were able to plant 200 seedlings as part of the celebratory event.  This event aims to thank those who first reached the “green energy” score needed for a user to actually plant a real yakal (Shorea astylosa) tree. The remaining 4,000 seedlings were planted by WWF-Philippines and other partner organizations.

Users can earn green energy by using the Gcash app and engaging in  low carbon activities like walking and using cashless payment systems.

Aside from yakal trees, other native and endemic species of trees that were planted through this project included dungon (Heritiera sylvatica), bignai (Antidesma bunius), kupang (Parkia javanica), narra (Pterocarpus indivus), pagsaingin (Dracontomelon edule), and palosapsis (Antisoptera thurifera). 

WWF-Philippines, together with Gcash, is hoping to plant 120,000 seedlings dedicated to the Ipo Watershed out of the 365,000 seedlings that will be planted across the country.