Priscilla Relova


Priscilla “Pris” Relova is a life-long learner who loves being outdoors and is passionate about bridging and empowering communities. She does this full-time through her work with Teach for the Philippines, and part-time as the Eco Explorations Area Head for the Cordillera.

Get to know more about Pris by reading below!

Tell us a little about yourself and your story with nature

I wish I could say my love for the mountains came naturally, but it didn’t. Growing up, I actually spent most of my weekends by the sea. My dad is an avid scuba diver, so we spent a lot of time by the beach. I started learning how to breathe with a regulator when I was around 6 years old. My aunt had a beautiful beach house in Anilao, Batangas, and we spent as much time there as we could, mostly snorkeling and kayaking.
It wasn’t until college when I climbed my first mountain. I joined a Military Science class in UP, and for our final exam, we spent a weekend in Mt. Makiling. I was completely unprepared — I wore jeans for the hike, used a garbage bag as a raincoat, and had leeches all over me by the end of it. It was close to traumatizing, and I didn’t climb again until years later. My first overnight hike was to Mt. Pulag. Though I thought I was better prepared that time around, luck wasn’t in my favor. I got sick halfway through the hike, and even the organizer told me that I should just stay at the camp. But I was already there, and I didn’t want to miss out, so I pushed myself. The sunrise at the summit was unlike any I had seen before; more than that, what really got me hooked was the experience of being completely out of my comfort zone and realizing that I was capable of more than I thought. I’ve been climbing ever since.

What made you join Eco Explorations as an Area Head?

Over the years, my love for the outdoors has evolved. When I was just starting out, I would go simply to see beautiful places with my friends. Then I continued to climb because it became a means for personal growth. But after going back to the same areas several times, I began to realize there was more to these places than the physical environment. Tied to each place are the challenges: the political tensions, the lack of resources, the resulting mismanagement. These places, which had come to mean so much to me, were being threatened. But fighting to sustain each beautiful landscape is a community; each community comprised of people — we may only see them as guides, porters, rangers, homestay owners, but each one is brimming with stories, if we only think to ask. Particularly for the Cordillera, it was the combination of distress after seeing the challenges but also hope from hearing the stories of the locals that made me want to join Eco Explorations as an Area Head.
For years, the Cordillera had been my refuge from the city, and in 2018 I decided to make it my home. I lived and worked there for a year, hoping to gain a deeper understanding of its people, culture, and context. Though I’ve recently moved back to Manila, the Cordillera will always be home. I want both to protect and share its beauty, which is why I’m with Eco Explorations.

What do you look forward to being an Area Head?

I look forward to two things: working with the Cordillera community to preserve its beautiful landscapes, and sharing its beauty with others. I really do believe that there’s some kind of magic in these mountains. It has moved me in so many ways, and I can’t wait for it to move others as well.

What is your message for the youth and those who want to take part in conservation efforts, or to apply as an Area Head?

We are incredibly blessed as a nation — though many dream of going to foreign lands to see beautiful places, we really don’t have to look farther than our own backyards. And because we are so blessed, we also have a big responsibility. If we don’t care for these places and nurture these communities, who will?