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Baguio, its time to plant more trees!

For a guy like me who lives in a busy city like Manila, seeing a place full of trees is really a breath of fresh air. May it be mango trees or just some coconut trees along the beach, it is still a sight I really love to look at every single moment of my day with them. And last week when I was invited by SM City Baguio to be a part of their second installment of "Lets Plant 50,000 Trees", need to say more, I am more than happy to join them! Seeing a place full of pine trees is indeed just perfect for the upcoming Holiday season.


Pine tree is one of the many symbols of Christmas - not only to us, Filipinos, but also to the other people in this beautiful world. That's why I can't blame the people of Baguio City for getting angry when the "news" of cutting down pine trees broke before because, really, just like what they have said, what is the City of Pines without Pine Trees, right?


But as what SM City Baguio told them, and shared to us when I visited this beautiful city once again - one of my top favorites, btw - they didn't really cut down those pine trees, but rather they are just transferring them along with the other Pine Trees in the other parts of their "private" property.

But now that a TRO is on its place, and its up for the judicial system to weigh the issue, SM City Baguio takes this chance to prove that they don't really mean any harm (I think) and that they are also citizens of Baguio City - citizens that love and care about the city's sake - just like everybody else.


So, started last January 2012, SM through its CSR leg SM Cares, SM City Baguio launched a program that will help the City of Pines reforest its balding plains through a program called "Lets Plant 50,000 Trees".


With nearly half of their target pine tree seedlings planted since the program kicked off, SM City Baguio also adopted an area in Busol Watershed last February where they planted more pine tree seedlings. And together with government and non-government agencies of the said city, SM City Baguio brought me here last week to join the fun and camaraderie to show their love - our love - to the environment.


I honestly didn't know that SM City Baguio has been doing something like this since the issue of cutting down pine trees broke. And despite of all the hates that they received during the past few months, I can personally feel that they really don't mean any harm and they are more than willing to help the city gain its beauty back - for one, its is also their home!


Last month, when I went at Mount Busol with them, an additional 7,000 pine tree seedlings were added to the plains of Busol to cover the whole top of pine tree seedlings!


The tree planting ceremony started with a little briefing at the foot of the mountain with more than a hundred participants from local police unit, army, navy, air force and SM City Baguio employees. To be honest, I didn't expect this tree planting activity to be that challenging. I never thought that one must hike to the top of a mountain in Baguio to do this. I've been to many tree panting activities before and this is the first time that such activity took my breath away - literally and figuratively.


The truth slapped me on my face when I saw why this mountain haa to be reforested. Despite of the site still looking good, it was very visible that the place was a victim of deforestation before. According to Sir Janssen Pe,  SM City Baguio's Mall Manager, back in February, you can clearly see how devastating this whole site, but after their first tree planting activity here, the beauty of the place started to bloom once again, with thousands of pine tree seedlings that are starting to cover the whole lot. He also added that all of the seedlings that they planted back then are 100% alive til now, which puts a smile to all their efforts.


These pine tree seedlings are being monitored and maintained by DEYAN Construction, a company hired by SM City Baguio to ensure high survival rate of all of the seedlings planted here. And Sir Janssen told me that they'll probably keep DEYAN for a long or til these seedling can afford to stand the test of weather.


Aside here in Mount Busol, SM City Baguio's tree planting activity is also covering the vacant spots in SM City Baguio, where you could find a part of these pine tree seedling nursery, in Forbes Park, Baguio, in Mount Sto. Tomas, in Buyog Watershed and in Burnham Park.


SM City Baguio pointed out that its SM Committee on Environment is not only about planting trees but it is also extended its arms in promoting environmental awareness and the need for sustainable development.


Since the target seedlings to be planted that day is 7,000 the activity last for more than 4 hours with us levaing kinda tired but really happy. It was a different feeling up there, believe me!


So, yeah, I'm grateful to be there during these times! I super enjoyed it! :-)

In my opinion

As I've said, I love Baguio City, its people and its places - including SM City Baguio there. It hurts to know that the city that I love is losing its beauty by its continuous development - something that I, and for sure most of the people who lives there, are worried about.


But then again, it's really up to us if we will continue abusing the nature. This news of cutting or removing or transferring pine trees on SM City Baguio only mirrors the truth of what's really happening in the City of Pines. Not that I'm blaming SM, but I guess this thing that took place there is a wake up call for everyone to STOP RAPING our mother nature and give her the duly RESPECT that she deserves.


Development may be a priority to us now, but lets not forget that we should always have our nature on TOP of these priorities. Removing, cutting or even just uprooting the trees that symbolizes the beauty of Baguio is bad, but blaming people or company for it is worse. In the first place, it wasn't them who started these things.


There are probably millions of people in Baguio City now to be blamed first for all the deforested mountains, and how come not one thrown or rallied outside their houses when they are still building their house? Probably because it was the ralliers' house or their kin's, or their friend's? Sad but that's the truth. We tend to be unfair sometimes because the favor is against us.


The problems that this beautiful city is having now has started a long time ago and I think that only solution that's left to us is ACT NOW. We should put the blaming to rest and let's start planting more trees. Not only in Baguio City but everywhere! We all need these trees, and I'm sure that when the nature felt our love to her, she will give more than what we gave to her.


Stay there, Baguio City! Help is on its way!

P.S. Thank you, SM City Baguio, for taking me to Mount Busol, despite of the rigorous hike, I enjoyed the moment when I was on top of the mountain! Nothing can beat the smell of fresh air while under those beautiful pine trees! :-)


Advance Merry Christmas, everyone! :-)





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