25 Nov2007

A Wonderful Tree…

by Marketman


Our household usually gears up early for the holidays. But this year we have been more than a bit sluggish. I lulled myself into believing things were under control because I bottled over 200 jars of homemade jam, our main giveaway for friends and family this year. And all of our “bulk” gift shopping, those intended for sukis at the markets, service personnel from nurses to village guards and car repairmen, is usually done in one or two Divisoria runs well before November; but I haven’t really done a trip yet. Then the Marketmanila t-shirt and tote program took far more time and effort than I could ever have imagined (and is still on-going), but I can tell it will yield phenomenal positive Christmas cheer… We didn’t even manage a Thanksgiving meal this year, an American tradition, but something I like to do even in Manila, because it sort of signals that “the starting gun has been fired” for the Christmas holidays. So Christmas preparations seemed on hold, on the back burner. That is, until the arrival of this wonderful fresh Christmas tree from S&R. Picking up a fresh tree roughly 4.5 weeks before Christmas is a bit bizarre, but it was now or no fresh tree. This tree is wonderful, particularly considering we are halfway around the planet from where it was raised. Much better than the trees the old S&R Management used to bring in. This is a full 8 feet, nicely shaped and surprisingly VERY fresh despite the long sea crossing from Oregon. I am skeptical that it will make it all the way to Christmas Day, but for the moment, our living room is filled with the most amazing natural pine fragrance.


To maximize our chances of stretching the tree’s life, we cut off about 1-2 inches of the trunk and the sticky sap indicated it was still rather fresh. Next, trim off some of the excess branches at the base of the tree. Place the tree in a Christmas tree stand and fill the base with cool water, using the preservative provided or adding flower food as we do. Check the water twice daily in the first few days. Our tree drank up nearly 3/4th of a gallon of water EVERY day. You must keep re-filling the water so that the tree drinks up as much as possible and recovers a bit from its recent cutting and shipping trauma. After about a week, the thirst will slow and eventually you will notice that the tree has stopped “drinking.” If you SCREW UP on the watering instructions early on, your tree will crisp up a LOT faster than you think, and there is no one to blame ut yourself. We didn’t decorate our tree yet, we just keep staring at it from the couch and oddly, I find myself making excuses to walk by it and take a good long sniff of the pine scent. Even if the tree only last 3 weeks and we decorate our fake tree instead, the scent of the real one is what will kick this holiday season up a notch. We don’t normally put up any Christmas decorations until early December, but maybe this year we will start a little earlier… We placed the extra pine branches in large vases and have them elsewhere in the house and the smell is absolutely wonderful.



  1. alicia says:

    That tree is gorgeous! I can only imagine how wonderful it smells! A few years ago I invested in a good artificial tree and can’t bring myself not to use it (sayang!) I wish S &R would bring in some fresh Christmas wreaths for those of us who can’t buy the whole tree so we could enjoy that fresh pine scent too. I know what you mean about time escaping I have been in a mad frenzy these past weeks as well. This week I did Thanksgiving dinner for 17(!) so it was a little crazy, but I love seeing my friends enjoying themselves and the food. When they arrive very excited to eat and leave happy with full stomachs and lots of take home parcels its all worth it!. And now I know my holiday season has officially begun! Looking forward to this year’s post on gingerbread, no pressure though!

    Nov 25, 2007 | 8:31 am


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  3. maria says:

    My dad also prefers a live one since it’s easier to dispose. the leaves however are a pain in the ass but the scent it worth it ahaha. I can imagine the lovely scent permeating your house right now ahaha

    Nov 25, 2007 | 8:34 am

  4. danney league says:

    I hope that Christmas tree is not prickly because of the hard pine needles. We have one in the house in LA and everytime we hang the decor it hurt our hands. I did not realize that we have fresh and real Christmas trees for sale in the Philippines. Are they imported from abroad? ADVANCE MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE.

    ITS YEAR OF THE RAT NEXT YEAR 2008!!. It should be better than this year YEAR OF THE FIRE PIG.

    Nov 25, 2007 | 10:00 am

  5. chunky says:

    wonderful, i envy you…i love the scent of fresh pine. as i am sure you have an efficient crew to clean up the pine needles that will be falling off when the time comes, i won’t say good luck to you. good luck to them…hehehe! enjoy the good few weeks ahead with your very christmassy tree MM!

    Nov 25, 2007 | 10:39 am

  6. Silly Lolo says:

    We lived in Maui, Hawaii for 12 years and while there, learned a couple of local tricks.
    One is to take a spray bottle and “spritz” the leaves every couple of days with cold water.
    Now the leaves (needles) get water from its environment rather than just from the trunk and branches. This also prevents the needles from drying crisp and falling off.
    Also, the tree becomes a fire hazard as it dries so no electric lites on the tree. Use a pin/spot lite to highlight it and its decorations.

    Nov 25, 2007 | 10:52 am

  7. dizzy says:

    that tree wouldn’t fit in our living room! hehe
    so here’s hoping that the wind could waft the scent way over here…

    Nov 25, 2007 | 12:17 pm

  8. kayenne says:

    wow! i had no idea fresh christmas trees are available here in manila. how much did your 8-foot tree cost? woudl they have smaller ones? unfortunately, condo living does not afford us the luxury of space for a large tree… and i’m still convincing the family to let me get a small one. we always had christmas trees before we moved here.

    Nov 25, 2007 | 2:50 pm

  9. mrsa says:

    fresh Pine trees are fantasctic, they give off an awesome smell ! they say in addition to refilling the water daily, you should add some maple syrup to it. also, they do tend to shed quite a bit, but that pine scent sure makes the trouble worth it :-0

    Nov 25, 2007 | 8:10 pm

  10. Dee says:

    OMG, the tree looks gorgeous. I didnt know we have fresh live trees sold here. How much does it cost? Aside from Alabang, are there other S&R’s there? I live in Caloocan and Alabang is far from me.

    Nov 26, 2007 | 4:22 am

  11. Marketman says:

    Dee, there is an S&R in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. The trees were PHP3,500, but only by reservation I think, unless they have extras that weren’t picked up. I did a post on them a few weeks ago… kayenne, this shipment was only 7-8 foot trees… actually, I would have loved a 9-10 foot tree!

    Nov 26, 2007 | 7:00 am

  12. bedazzle says:

    that is one huge tree (for me, at least). it wouldn’t fit in our living room. i remember when i was a young girl, my uncle (who lives in baguio) would sent us a pine tree a few weeks before christmas and i just loved the smell of pine premeating our small apartment. when i grew older i guess pine trees were harder to come by so we settled for artificial trees. but i can still recall the wonderful smell of pine combined with the scent of apples and oranges which to me meant that it’s christmas time alreaday. aahh, memories..merry christmas everyone!

    Nov 26, 2007 | 7:24 am

  13. gemma says:

    you’ve got one gorgeous tree…it looks like the kind that you could get by cutting and hauling the tree yourself and certainly not the type that you can get from tree hawkers in urban areas. the price that you paid for is the going rate in nyc but i’d rather take a long car ride to a tree plantation to pick something decent.

    Nov 26, 2007 | 8:32 am

  14. Blaise says:

    I bet it really smells nice.. With the gingerbread house and this wonderful tree, kulang na lang snow and it’s already a White Christmas.. ;P

    Nov 26, 2007 | 9:37 am

  15. Vicky DeR says:

    got my tree too! and am so happy just smelling it!

    Nov 26, 2007 | 11:56 am

  16. kayenne says:

    thanks for the info MM! there’s no way i can fit a tree that big in here anyway. perhaps someday… =) enjoy your tree!

    Nov 26, 2007 | 3:08 pm

  17. Essa says:

    How appropriate to be reading this post, and looking out my window to suddenly find that it has finally snowed in this city. Frohe Weihnachten, one and all! ;-)

    Nov 26, 2007 | 7:06 pm

  18. sagada says:


    this is good!!
    3,500 pesos/tree- that could be a viable business for people in the mountain provinces.
    only if we have fast growing pine tree varieties.
    the baguio pine trees takes years to mature and reach 8-10 feet.
    to avoid denuding the pine tree clad mountains of SAGADA, we rather use the flowering trees of the maguey plant in our schools and houses.
    these maguey “trees” have a nice formation, and they do not have leaves to wilt and clean up after. they last even after crhistmas vacation and they are still standin still with all the decorations in the classrooms.

    in SAGADA, we have the pine scent everyday of the year. so no need to bring one in the house.

    Nov 27, 2007 | 9:11 am

  19. Romeo Mercado says:

    I was browsing for “divisoria” and here I am in your site. We visit the Philippines every year, since 1999, and I am impressed with your site. I will see to it that my friends visit your site. Please keep up these great writings! From Houston, TX

    Nov 27, 2007 | 9:59 am

  20. Kitty says:

    We have a property in Benguet and have always played with the idea of a Christmas Tree business but am not sure what species of seedlings to plant that would be perfect for our wet Baguio weather. If any of you have that kind of info and where we can get the seedlings, who knows … we may be able to start a tree business for half the price and make wreaths too. Added jobs for the people who live around the area too.

    Dec 19, 2007 | 2:25 am

  21. terrey says:

    hey Mr. MM, it has been three hours already since I stumbled upon your site and ive been hooked since then. since i love anything and everything that is christmas, i wanted to tell you that you that your christmas tree is very christmassy…hehehe…i didnt know we could actually have one in pinas. as ive said ive read quite a few posts here already, especially those about flowers and foods, and i got the impression that you are a man of affluence yet you don’t brag about it loudly. so much for that, i will be a regular reader from hereon and will be looking forward to reading your posts. i wonder, how would you spruce up your abode this coming christmas :) kudos to you sir!

    Sep 16, 2008 | 12:32 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    terrey, I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to think about the holidays yet… but it usually is classically decorated, nothing too outlandish… Thanks for visiting the site. With over 1,800 posts in the archives, there’s a lot more for you to browse when you have the free time!

    Sep 16, 2008 | 3:56 pm

  23. grechen says:

    Hi Mr.MM, I have been searching and trying to recall how to make artificial snow for my xmas tree we were at Rustan’s today admiring thier decors and getting ideas on how to do our own decor. I remember during my high school days we used to make artificial snow by adding some amonia to soap suds. I believe that the amonia hardens the soapsuds but I have forgotten the proportion. Any help? thanks

    Oct 29, 2008 | 12:57 am


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