It is important to be reminded through a school play-- The King of the Forest-- that the balacat, the betis, and the dao trees were once growing profusely in Pampanga as students are taught all the time about environmental advocacy in the natural science and social science subjects. The more common trees are also mentioned in the play: the banaba, the cupang, the guava, the banyan, and the raintree (locally known as the acacia). All these trees bring benefit to the community as sources of wood for shelter, for medicine, for food, for toiletries, for scents, and for ornaments. And of course, the animals also benefit from a healthy ecological balance.
The play’s setting is in a Khanate led by a tree-cutting, forest-clearing Khan or King, thus causing distress to the inhabitants of the forest. The plot refers to succession intrigues within the Khan’s family as the royals look for natural medicine. And when the Khan dies, the Crown Prince takes over promising King Banyan, the King of the Forest, that his kingdom will plant ten trees per person to make amends for what his father had done during his lifetime.
Conceived and written by a two teachers, directed by a team of teachers and admin officers, choreographed by seven members of the faculty, musically directed by two other teachers, costumed by three teachers, technically produced by three teachers, and of course, performed by all the students of Pax et Lumen, the school proves that collaborative efforts do result in something as beautiful and meaningful as The King of the Forest.