Tribes and Treks Zambales

Entrance to the valley: Watch this tour video: University of Sydney Meet Aetas of Zambales, Philippines (


Tribes and Treks Story

The Aeta tribe of Yangil is an indigenous Filipino tribe with around 57 families in their village. Nested in the mountains of San Felipe, their livelihood and culture are deeply connected to the environment. The Aetas are among the oldest bloodlines in the world, and are one of the last gatekeepers of the forest ecosystem - holding the key to water, clean air, medicine and food. 

In 1991, Mt. Pinatubo’s explosion greatly changed the landscape of Zambales. Many areas which were once lush green forests had been burned and buried in volcanic ash. Aside from natural disasters, our forests are constantly threatened by excessive logging and many other unsustainable practices.

A daily scene: water buffalo pull carts

Established in 2016 by The Circle Hostel and MAD Travel, today we continue to work together to restore the forest and its ecosystem to build climate-resilience, and create sustainable business for communities.


During the program, you will help rebuild 3,000 hectare forest by planting trees that will provide food, medicine and sustainable income for Aeta community.

Trek and admire the amazing landscape. Ask your guide to help you identify and learn some interesting trivia about the local flora and fauna. Cross the rivers, and maybe even go for a refreshing swim! There are reforestation sites along the way you can also support by seed potting or planting if the season is right!

The program has planted 65,000 trees from 2017 to 2023 thanks to its visitors and donors. 

 Before and after planting. See full video here:

Measuring temperature drop in the growing forest


2024 Update: The Effect of +1.5 Degrees Celsius

Flood and fire continue to plague the valley as the effects of climate change intensify in the Philippines. Floods occur from July to September while wildfire starts as early as November and lasts until May. 

In 2022 and 2023 we lost 22,000 trees due to wildfire and the valley was subject to flood and fire.

See 1 min video here: 


Solutions to Fire and Climate Change:

Today the community is empowered to plant with biochar that turns flammable grass and wood into water storing soil enhancers. The biochar keeps moisture in the soil and provides strong housing for healthy microbes and nutrients that plants need to thrive. 

Making biochar using dried grass which causes wildfire

Biochar produced ready to be crushed and mixed in soil

Seed potting activity - including soil building due to the high quantity of volcanic ash present in the valley

Archery activity for visitors

Aeta leader and growing seedlings in the village

Various community products - bamboo straws, honey, etc

Fresh root crop chips served to guests

Students and guests chat in the village day care center