07 Nov2007

A refrigerated container is cruising across the Pacific Ocean as I write this, and in it, 500 Douglas Fir Christmas Trees grown in Oregon scrunched up like sardines wait in the dark until they clear Philippine customs and are unloaded into S&R Price’s refrigerated warehouses. They hope they will find wonderful homes that will care for them in their final weeks of life, as they give great Christmas joy, fragrance and spirit as they dry up and their needles fall off like hair after chemotheraphy. It is the supreme sacrifice, after 7-8 years of growing on some fertile Oregonian field, only to be rudely chopped down, hog-tied and shipped off to some crazed Pacific island nation that starts celebrating the holidays on September 1… Don’t lecture me on killing a tree, I planted over 300 hardwoods this year, and I LIKE my FRESH Christmas tree, not a plastic one. And besides, they are farm raised and only for this purpose.

I kid you not. S&R has sent me an email to give Marketmanila readers a heads up to reserve these trees. There are only 106 trees still available so if you want one RUSH to S&R right now and place a reservation together with a PHP500 fee (applicable to the price of the tree). Here are the details:

Douglas Fir (Oregon)
7-8 feet tall
With plant preservative provided.
PHP 3,499 for the tree
PHP 799.95 for the stand if you need one

Reserve at S&R, with a PHP500 fee.

They are arriving a bit early (next week) for my liking, but I sent someone to reserve one for us anyway, as the smell of a fresh tree alone for 4 weeks before the holidays is good enough for me. Thanks S&R sukis for letting Marketmanila know about this. Now if only they brought in 9 foot Colorado Blue Spruces… :)



  1. Maria Clara says:

    This is really fresh hot off the wire! They are pretty good sized trees 7-8 feet wow! You are above and beyond your call of duty for your public service announcements and very good communication.

    Nov 7, 2007 | 12:39 pm


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  3. Jessie says:

    Setting aside the notion of killing trees, there is also the staggering 7000+ miles of transport. Carbon footprint, anyone?

    Nov 7, 2007 | 12:54 pm

  4. Marketman says:

    Jessie, the same would be true for Chinese made plastic Christmas trees shipped across the globe, not to mention unsavory employment practices and toxic fumes. Sorry, I WANT my fresh tree. Will make up for it by planting more… :)

    Nov 7, 2007 | 1:02 pm

  5. artisan chocolatier says:

    hmmm, i wonder how much more it would cost to get it shipped to Cebu?

    Nov 7, 2007 | 1:14 pm

  6. Blaise says:

    Hey MarketMan, I hope you’ll show us how you’ll decorate your FRESH Christmas Tree.. ;P

    Nov 7, 2007 | 1:24 pm

  7. Marketman says:

    Blaise, a photo of last year’s tree (albeit not fresh, and the photo a bit small) can be seen at this link. artisan, I edited.

    Nov 7, 2007 | 1:36 pm

  8. CecileJ says:

    Wow, ultimate ka-burgis-an! Hehe. But I do remember fondly my childhood Christmases of smelling that lovely pine scent and waking up at midnight to find “snow”-dusted presents from Santa under the tree!

    Sana someone will offer nalang “farm-bred” Baguio Pines or something.

    Still, if you can afford it, and if, like MM you planted lots of hardwood to compensate for that one indulgence, then go for it! I’ll just pass by your homes and hope to get a whiff of the ‘Kano tree and waken my childhood memories!

    Happy Holidays!

    Nov 7, 2007 | 2:29 pm

  9. Marketman says:

    CecileJ, we used to get tropical pines (no scent) until a few years ago. They were farm raised in Cavite or Batangas and you can catch a glimpse of it in the background of this photo here. And yes, it is a bit “burgis,” but it smells and looks better than chopping down a small narra tree…

    Nov 7, 2007 | 2:40 pm

  10. chunky says:

    “burgis” nga, pero so what? ang bango naman…too bad i can’t indulge myself with this fresh tree this Christmas. di bale, there’s always next year.

    Nov 7, 2007 | 4:09 pm

  11. Rowena Lyle says:


    I tell you, my kids Christmas is not complete unless we have the fresh smell and a freshly cut Christmas tree in our home. It is a little cheaper here in the US-a 7 feet Christmas tree cost around $30-and around the D/FW area, we have several farms where we could choose and cut our own tree. We do not put up our tree until after Thanksgiving Day…Pero mas gusto ko pa rin ang Pasko sa atin -talagang mas masaya and mas masarap.

    Nov 7, 2007 | 9:05 pm

  12. F1foodie says:

    I’m with you here, absolutely nothing like a fresh tree (if you have access to one). As soon as our daughter was old enough to help maintain what can be a fire hazard of a Christmas tree, we quickly made the switch from an artificial tree to a real one. She was the “water monitor”. The scent just gets you cooking and baking!

    Nov 7, 2007 | 9:40 pm

  13. MES says:

    I too prefer a fresh tree, but just wondering…If we get the tree this early, how long before the needles start shedding big time? I’m thinking all those lights might dry it out before Christmas Day.

    Nov 7, 2007 | 10:41 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    MES, I suspect it won’t make it 6 weeks in our weather and after their several week trip. So I may just enjoy it for 3 weeks or so with a few lights for the scent, then still have to do another tree. :)

    Nov 8, 2007 | 10:25 am

  15. CecileJ says:

    MM, I checked out you photo. i think it’s a Norfolk pine that you had? They have no scent nga. But Baguio pines do smell good. (Again, I reminisce on the good ‘ol days when you knew you were near Baguio when you started smelling the pines!)

    Nov 8, 2007 | 3:51 pm

  16. sportsnut says:

    If I get the tree next week, it won’t last ’til Christmas day, no?

    Nov 8, 2007 | 5:42 pm

  17. Marketman says:

    CecileJ, yes the baguio pines have smell, but they look pretty scraggly as a Chrstmas tree, we used to get those as well when my mom was still alive many years ago… sportsnut, I think 6 weeks is a real stretch…make sure you cut off an inch or two from the trunk and keep it always supplied with water…for maximum lifetime…

    Nov 8, 2007 | 9:31 pm

  18. stef says:

    Not suggesting that you change your traditions at all, but maybe you have suggestions for the other people who 1) can’t afford this, and/or 2) would rather buy something local to support local economy and minimize environmental impact, and/or 3) don’t like plastic either. Are there people in the Philippines that raise trees for Christmas? If not, what are the best alternatives in your opinion (e.g., other types of trees, or creative kinds, e.g., tingting)? Did anyone ever take Mang Serafin’s place?

    Surely if the demand is that great one or two local farmers could be persuaded to raise more trees there? It’s not like it hasn’t been done before. Maybe even a CSA-type arrangement, where consumers can pay for the stock ahead of time, be willing to take risks (weather and otherwise) with the farmer and reap the benefits at harvest time…. It seems you have enough readers and connections to be able to put this together, even if it takes a few years ’til you’ve got great, local, live trees. Kids could even help take care of their tree, visit it regularly and develop some connection to the land, learn about local agriculture, etc. Just a thought.

    Nov 8, 2007 | 10:00 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    stef, click on the link in the main post “plastic trees.” For many years we purchased locally farm raised Christmas trees. The man who sold them to us (Mang Serafin) passed away two years ago and his family apparently hasn’t bothered to continue the tradition. These were tropical pines, no fragrance, raised in Batangas. They weren’t ideal but they were a decent local substitute. The ones from Baguio are actually practically an endangered tree in that so few remain, and aren’t ideal for Christmas in the lowlands as they have a more rustic shape, longer needles and fewer of them. But as with many things in the Philippines, the economies of scale do not exist, our local tree supplier would charge us up to DOUBLE what you pay for an imported cut pine tree, shipping across the pacific in a refrigerated container included. And in a good year, Mang Serafin would probably sell a total of just 200 trees. As for S&R, they brought in only ONE container for all of Metro Manila, so they only think 500 trees will be sold in this market of over 13 million population. Plastic and typically Chinese made trees are by far the choice of the majority… unfortunately, I think.

    Nov 8, 2007 | 10:31 pm

  20. SimplePleasures says:

    hmmmmm…i have never smelled a real christmas tree before let alone seen REAL LIVE christmas tree…WOW!

    Nov 9, 2007 | 8:29 am

  21. kurzhaar says:

    Wow, I have to say I was stunned at the idea of shipping live (well, cut-down) trees across the Pacific. Even before the general public became aware of carbon footprints, we never did “dead trees” in my household. We choose a potted live tree and bring that in for the holidays, and then plant it once it’s grown too large to drag into the house for the next season. We’ve had spruces and pines, palm trees and lime trees. I’ve taken dead tree branches and decorated those as well. Make your own traditions, I say. :)

    Nov 9, 2007 | 9:54 am

  22. CecileJ says:

    Stef, nice idea re local trees but potted, not cut down. My Ma has a place in Tagaytay and I’ll try to experiment on potted trees for Christmas Future. Wish me luck…

    Nov 9, 2007 | 10:47 am

  23. sister says:

    You should have a nine foot Fraser…

    Nov 9, 2007 | 10:13 pm

  24. carol says:

    I got one two years ago at Cost U Less, but I claimed my order as late as possible so the tree could spend the maximum time in their low-temperature storage. I think I got mine in late November and it happily stayed fresh till past the holidays.

    Nov 11, 2007 | 11:37 am

  25. blu racoon says:

    i am also a christmas freak , but to me the only specie of cut evergreen that can endure all the tropical weather like manila would still be the noble pine tree.
    well simply because it has a better shape , long lasting freshness as to compared to the douglas fir , well over load it with lights and it will just invite a fire hazard to happen very soon ast it will dry up the needles of the tree .
    to maintain a fresh cut evergreen really needs a good metal christmas tree stand that yoi willl fill with a christmas tree preservative to keep it green anf fragrant so that yoi will enjoy it longer. and also just like the local counterparts the ones grown in tagaytay and sold in mckinley in december will not hold as the vendors would promise , simply because they are sold and displayed under the sun and are not kept in the shade di ba , so how willl it ever be possible to enjou it till after the holidays?

    Nov 25, 2007 | 11:53 pm

  26. Peter says:

    Would like to get a live tree this year. Me and my wife spent our first Christmas as a married couple with a live tree in Malaysia last year. We bought it in Ikea. It was very cheap. The stand is more expensive than the tree.

    It was a lovely 6ft tree. Short but very stout. Very nice smell. I remember that whenever we come home from work, the tree’s scent filled our room.

    Can we get a shorter tree here to fit our crampy condo? 5-6 ft should be ok.

    Nov 28, 2007 | 3:02 am

  27. Celine says:


    Are you still supplying pine trees to S&R this year? If so, when is the expected arrival in Manila? I already checked with S&R and they cannot give a firm date on this. I just would like to know if it will be available by October or November.

    Also, how long does a tree normally last? will it last until January?

    Aug 10, 2009 | 1:34 pm


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