Long before Mapawa became a sanctuary of wildlife, it was once a home for grazing animals – a pasture.
The Pelaez family, owner of Mapawa, modified the grassland into a forest through the process known as afforestation wherein they planted a forest in a place devoid of trees. As what Neil Armstrong said, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” every success started in small things, for the Pelaez family planting Santol on the year 1961 was the “small step” in making the place a hospitable one for life to thrive in. Aside from Santol, they also planted endemic trees such as the Narra, exotic trees such as the Mahogany, and many more. In 1960s, the original forest which occupies 67 hectares began to increase in size as the years go by. It was in 1995 when the Pelaez family started to have an idea about afforestation, it was the eldest of the brothers that spearheaded this ambitious yet wonderful idea and in the year 2015, they were able to expand the original forest area into 300 hectares.
Thanks to the efforts of the Pelaez family, Cagayan de Oro has now a place where people can bathe themselves in the wonder of nature without going to a far-away place. Instead of going to beaches with overcrowded people, Mapawa offers a peace in mind where you can escape all the negativities in life.