13 Jul2012

It’s been that kind of week. :) Honestly, not one specific “chainsaw” moment, but several individual “fishpan worthy” moments that taken together, would certainly qualify for the newly minted “chainsaw category” on marketmanila.com… We were having some trees on our Cebu property trimmed recently, particularly branches or trunks of trees that were clearly being eaten up by termites, so I took the opportunity to have this photo snapped of me with a chainsaw for future use on posts with rants. These chainsaws are pretty heavy, and I can only imagine the kick it would have against a tough tree trunk!

I am told that I may have violated a law by having some branches lopped off our trees without a DENR permit (other folks say trimming is fine, cutting down trees is not). Frankly, I think it’s a bit absurd that a government agency would have any business telling me what I can or cannot do with respect to the branches of trees on our personal property. Trees that we planted ourselves, cared for over the years, and trim for the overall health of each tree and those surrounding it? I can understand if I were to kill a significant tree or cut down valuable, ancient, hardwood, historical, etc. trees, but really, to trim off dead or dying branches? I need a permit? Seriously? Where does that stop, when is the pruning of large unwieldy bush or out of control bougainvilla different from trimming a tiny branch off of a small tree? On a trip to farmland in Bicol once, our lawyer gave me this added heretofore unknown tidbit. Unless I misunderstood, it is a CRIMINAL OFFENSE to cut down a coconut tree without a permit. CRIMINAL. Yipes. Harks back to the days when revenue from coconut products was such a key agricultural product and export. Our small nuclear family endeavors to plant several dozen (if not hundred(s)) of trees every single year. Our way of making up for the carbon footprint that we leave from our own existence, and primarily due to vehicle usage and local and international flights, so I have no doubt we are “good” on the “tree scale” of things. But if you don’t actively trim and care for large trees on your property, you may just have this happen in a small storm… At any rate, take note of the chainsaw visual, it will be the photo that appears at the start of a major rant. And don’t go further to read the post if you don’t like rants.

This “fishpan visual” will be used for more common or milder rants in future. I accidentally thwacked myself lightly on the head while practicing my backswing for this photo and I can say this is not a cartoon like move… If you were to get smacked with a hefty copper fishpan straight on, it could actually be deadly. But a chainsaw would be far more gruesome. This fishpan visual would have been used if I had bothered to write a lengthy post on the irritating real estate agent claiming to be representing “Versace Residences” or the snazzy condominium “Milano” of Century Properties, Inc. that called my cell phone well after 10pm one evening this week, and started her sales pitch with more personal details of mine than I would have liked some random sales agent to be in possession of. When I asked her where she got my number, that it may have been illegally obtained and that I didn’t think the Antonios who own much of Century Properties would approve of such aggressive sales tactics after normal bedtime, she hung up! That after she gave me her name, or at least a name, that can’t be traced anywhere on the net. So I called her some 20 times after that and she ignored all calls or turned her phone off. Instead of reporting her to CPI, I decided to let it go. Not worth it. But since I have her number, unless she changes it, I intend to call her at 3am in the morning the next time I get up for a wee in the wee hours of the morning — maybe she’ll be up for a lechon sales pitch at that time. She hasn’t seen aggressive phone tactics yet. Fishpan! :)

Both photos by Chief of Stuff (CoS). :)



  1. Irene says:

    Why would you need a DENR permit to trim trees on private property? SM was able to remove whole trees in Baguio, and local government said they couldn’t do anything because it was private property.

    I’ve started selling insurance to pesky sales people. Am getting a lot less calls these days :)

    Jul 13, 2012 | 5:35 pm


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  3. Anne says:

    super like =)

    Jul 13, 2012 | 5:38 pm

  4. dhanggit says:

    He he he Manila Market I really love your sense of humor and banters, they hit bulle’s eye :-)

    Jul 13, 2012 | 6:01 pm

  5. sophie says:

    hahaha, yikes a Chain Saw is deadly, a Fish Pan is terrible too.. but so like the photos ^_^.

    Jul 13, 2012 | 6:24 pm

  6. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM, you should get one of those hockey face mask to complete your chainsaw outfit! hahaha…..i like how you will categorized you rants from now on. Can’t wait for the first chainsaw award!

    Oh, i hear you need a permit to own a chainsaw, just like you need one to own a gun!

    Jul 13, 2012 | 6:52 pm

  7. Chris Bautista says:

    Awesome photos MM!

    Jul 13, 2012 | 7:10 pm

  8. Gigi says:

    The trick to cutting down coconut trees is to do it slooowly over time. Keep on trimming the branches until it gets short enough for you to chop down the tree without being obvious to outsiders :)

    Jul 13, 2012 | 8:11 pm

  9. florisa says:

    I myself wonders where the heck they got my number when it is unlisted and keeps bothering you. bakit kasi walang privacy law dito sa Pilipinas e. sa US major offense na yan pg me ngbigay ng name o number mo. hayy

    Jul 13, 2012 | 9:29 pm

  10. ssa-ssa says:

    try to use a different sim card when calling those pesky sales rep….hehehehe

    Jul 13, 2012 | 9:29 pm

  11. Avid Thinker says:

    Good day MarketMan,

    I’ve stumbled here while researching some months back and I instantly got hooked. A wonderful, inspiring blog for an avid thinker and reader, I couldn’t stop leafing through your posts. And I love your rants – they raise sensible points and all are totally reasonable rants. You also have enlightening discussions with your ever growing community and I came not only to admire you but the “commenters” as well.

    Now for this post- I can highly relate because I get infuriated with salespeople too who seem to neglect proper behavior as long as they are getting their sales targets. There are also the growing unsolicited texts from lending companies, ecommerce sites and what-have-yous these days. I got more alarmed recently when a “chain text” or so, one that supposedly came from Erwin Gatchalian(mayor of Valenzuela) made way into my inbox. In my humble opinion, I think there should be more laws regulating these “alarming” marketing tactics.

    Meanwhile, I’ll wait for your upcoming chainsaw or fishpan visual rants and I intend to learn from them too. More power to you MM, and thank you for inspiring a simple blogger like me.

    Jul 13, 2012 | 9:34 pm

  12. netoy says:

    I had a chuckle with a visual of you thwacking your head lightly with the fishpan. i know it sounds cruel, but you must admit, it IS funny! (sorry!) I like that photo, though.

    Jul 13, 2012 | 10:00 pm

  13. jestonijohn says:

    I think you may have violated some laws if you haven’t registered your chainsaw. AFAIK – chainsaws need to be registered to DENR. link– “chain saw act”


    Jul 13, 2012 | 10:25 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    jestonijohn and Artisan, it isn’t our chainsaw, I only borrowed it for the photo, and I didn’t turn it on. We hired a professional contractor to do the trimming and pruning… and I gather he has done several government contracts to trim trees on government properties in Cebu City, so I presume he has the right licenses required. :)

    Jul 13, 2012 | 10:32 pm

  15. Isa says:

    It’s true! You need a permit to cut down trees on your own property, never mind that you planted them in the first place ! I’m not certain however about trimming them … That definitely seems excessive.

    I’ve been back 6 months now, (wow! Time flies!) and am no longer surprised by the idiotic permitting processes with matching flow charts and timelines that bear no resemblance to what actually happens when you apply for a permit. Silly requirements and catch 22s abound!

    I’ve been a long believer in your motto though , choose frustration over indifference! Even when the frustration drives you to pose with a chainsaw and wave a fishpan about with reckless abandon.

    Jul 13, 2012 | 10:40 pm

  16. sophie says:

    MM, i feel in heaven when i reach home – 2 kilos of BONELESS Zubuchon and a jar of guava jelly… my oh my i cannot contain the smile in my face while savoring the yumminess of the lechon. ( a courtesy from my cousin, thanks to her ^_^)

    Jul 13, 2012 | 10:53 pm

  17. betty q. says:

    That rule applies here as well, MM. There is a Tree Bylaw in the city where we live. We are not permitted to cut down MORE THAN ONE tree per lot per calendar year without a PERMIT. If however, we need to trim diseased branches or top off damaged due to storms, we can do so provided we have an arborist’s report. Certain trees like native species, heritage, wildlife, specimen and others that fall in that category are not allowed to be cut down.

    I am assuming then that other cities or countries MIGHT HAVE the same TREE BYLAWS?

    Jul 13, 2012 | 11:03 pm

  18. millet says:

    cool! now the BOINNNNGGGGGGG is joined by a WHIIIINNNG…WHIIIINNNNNG……

    Jul 13, 2012 | 11:57 pm

  19. charly says:

    BTW here in LA you are required to obtain a permit from the county to trim oak trees in your property. It was an expensive education for my brother ($500).

    Jul 14, 2012 | 12:56 am

  20. risa says:

    Have you all heard about Heritage Trees? I remember these trees fondly in my old school.


    Jul 14, 2012 | 1:22 am

  21. Faust says:

    yikes this reminds me of the horror film chainsaw m*ss*ker with explitives..

    Jul 14, 2012 | 1:59 am

  22. Marketman says:

    Come to think of it, if trimming requires such a permit, then the phone company might be in constant violation of the law. They frequently trim beautiful narra trees on our property, withouot first informing us, sometimes well within OUR PROPERTY LINE and wall, in the name of protecting the phone lines that sometimes cross over our walls… I should trim some of their body parts off… I’m kidding, of course.

    Jul 14, 2012 | 5:57 am

  23. Carol says:

    Hi MM – ha! ha! ha! Your comment (#21) really made me laugh! :) Thanks for that on an early Saturday morning! :). Yes, it is indeed a criminal act to cut down any coconut tree in the PH, as per a PH law. That law has been reviewed several times, but still, it remains in effect. lastly, I just want to congratulate you – you have remained quite trim and svelte, even after your diet! Congratulations and keep up the good work! Happy weekend, MM, and the rest of the MM community! :)

    Jul 14, 2012 | 6:54 am

  24. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    I don’t recall fishpans and chainsaws being part of the ‘Weapons of the Moroland’ plaque.

    Jul 14, 2012 | 7:26 am

  25. PITS, MANILA says:

    HAHAHA! i don’t want to be in trouble …

    Jul 14, 2012 | 7:54 am

  26. Hiddendragon says:

    Can’t wait for the next time we see the chainsaw pic, ie, the next rant.
    Who would the unlucky ‘rantee’ be?

    Jul 14, 2012 | 8:58 am

  27. meekerz says:

    I recently installed an app on my phone called ‘Selective Silence’- it allows me to put certain numbers on a whitelist or emergency list. That way, I can put my phone on silent at night, but my phone will still ring for those select people. There should be a number of similar apps for whatever phone you use :)

    Jul 14, 2012 | 9:46 am

  28. Marketman says:

    meekerz, I have thought about funding an app designer to create an app that you can press when you get irritating calls like this that sends an ear-piercing-shrill-siren back at the caller. Not enough to cause permanent deafness, but enough to come close. It’s one of those “evil” products that I think about every once in a while… :)

    Jul 14, 2012 | 10:02 am

  29. Mimi says:

    My Lola was sued by the Marikina authorities several years back for cutting 4 trees on her property. I think she was even jailed, or so she claims, for a few hours because she said something outrageous in court. Anyway, she paid a hefty fine and her case was eventually dismissed.
    I did not know cutting coconut trees were illegal/criminal. But where do hardware stores get coco lumber?
    Even here in SG I get Filipino agents calling to sell credit cards, property and vacation sharetime. I guess there is a list somewhere which companies buy and cold call people on it?!?

    Jul 14, 2012 | 12:40 pm

  30. RobKSA says:

    online in da pilipins! exactly my dilemna myself. could not cut a dying tree in our house in laguna and could not trim the big narra tree in front of our house along shaw boulevard. i was told i need a barangay permit, a town permit and a denr permit!

    Jul 14, 2012 | 1:01 pm

  31. Marketman says:

    RobKSA, there has been so much illegal logging in the Philippines that less than 2% of the Natural rainforest remains. To this day, there are giant logs “harvested” in Maindanao, Palawan and Mindoro and yet they can’t stop that. But to trim branches of a privately owned tree needs three permits??? :(

    Jul 14, 2012 | 1:53 pm

  32. meekerz says:

    Haha! That’s brilliant! I’ll be the first in line to buy that app! :D

    Jul 14, 2012 | 1:57 pm

  33. Mart says:

    Here in Northern California, the property across our house was a vacant lot with several trees. In my part of the world it is also illegal to cut down a tree that it a certain height or the trunk a certain width/circumference (a tree can have several trunks instead of one big main trunk so the total width/circumference to consider would be the sum of all the widths/circumferences of the tree’s trunks).
    I think you need a permit from an arborist (who will visit your property to do a visual inspection) to cut down a tree on your property. Or you could hire an arborist to get the necessary permit. Tree trimming, as far as I know, you can do without a permit.

    Anyway, back to the vacant lot across the street. The new owners wanted to build a house on it but had to cut down some trees. Part of the process in getting the permit to cut down a couple of the trees was to submit the request to the city planner who then sent a notice to the neighbors near that lot (myself included) to inform them about the plans for a new house to be built and that some of the trees would need to be cut given the house plans (rough plans also included in the notice). The notice also mentioned that the neighbors who received the notice had a window of opportunity to file a complaint against the cutting down of the trees if they wished to do so.

    Kind of a bummer that it is that way, with it being your private property and all. If I was buying the vacant lot I would have liked to know about that. I bet the real estate agents who sold that lot didn’t know anything about such a rule/ordinance for the area.

    But I think it is only this way in the more populated urban/suburban areas. In sparsely populated areas with more land and less government, there are less rules and you can usually do just about anything on your property.

    Btw, love the pics MM. Looking forward to the chainsaw pics. I just hope you don’t lob one my way when I “play the devil’s advocate” when I write out a lengthy comment. :-)

    Jul 14, 2012 | 3:00 pm

  34. wendy darling says:

    RobKSA’s tree needs three permits because it’s a narra and most probably (based on his brief description) outside the fence line on the side of a national road (unintentional pun caused by that municipality).
    As they say, the devil’s in the details (and I can bend your ear on how people in my specialist area have to bridge between well-meaning private interests e.g. privately-owned termite-infested trees, and national/local regulations).
    I am so torn between commiserating with you and laughing out loud. Now if you will excuse me, I have to do something about gas build-up in my belly after reading the post and ensuing comments

    You forgot your PPE (ear protection, vest and maybe a hard hat) in your pictures ;D

    Jul 14, 2012 | 5:29 pm

  35. RobKSA says:

    speaking of termites, our mandaluyong house is infested with termintes actually. already spent a fortune to get rid of the termintes not to mention valuable things that termites have eaten, and yes, the narra tree is the suspect. but i actually love that tree and i just want to trim it because during storms, the branches just bang on our windows. of course i know i can’t cut it, its over 50 years old

    Jul 14, 2012 | 6:29 pm

  36. mbw says:

    being of the boondocks and near the rainforest, we have been quite active in the previous years of going against illegal loggers. We have an electric chainsaw and had used it very many times cutting off trees fallen down during typhoons and monsoon season. To ask for permits is outrageous. Even some government officials here have been guilty of cutting trees (by the rainforest) in the guise of municipal needs…

    Jul 14, 2012 | 6:56 pm

  37. Giancarlo says:

    MM, great app idea. Give it a go please. Will buy it.

    Jul 14, 2012 | 11:03 pm

  38. Maddie says:

    Yes to the anti-marketing/sales calls (include text scams and chain texts) app! I’ll buy that too!

    Jul 15, 2012 | 3:10 am

  39. Gej says:

    robKSA, MM, it seems that, in the aftermath of the SM Baguio issue with trees, the request for permit to cut down trees from the DENR will have to pass ALL THE WAY TO THE MAIN DENR OFFICE! I asked the satellite DENR office how long they expect the process to take and they said 1 YEAR! Incredible! And I am asking for a permit to cut down only 1 TREE ( yes bettyq, I need a permit to cut down even just 1 tree! ) that is in my tiny residential lot, even if I had already planted five new ones in the same lot.

    The new memorandum directing all requests to cut trees to pass through the main DENR office was dated only last June 22. They’re still busy interpreting the guidelines. I feel ambiguous about government regulation. I agree 100% that there should be government regulation in many aspects of life. The problem is the rules set become very very unreasonable. In many cases, the regulation just serves as “income earning”.

    Jul 15, 2012 | 10:08 am

  40. Marketman says:

    Gej, YIPES! That’s good to know. I was thinking of just planting and planting trees on a large empty lot we have nearby to our Cebu office, but with that rule, I am going to keep it relatively treeless to avoid future problems with permits. How dumb is that a result of a rule or regulation? We have already planted hundreds of trees on the perimeter of the lot, and they are thriving, with narras up to 20 feet tall or more in less than 3 years! So I ask the DENR, where are all the massive planks of hardwood trees, narras, acacias, molaves, kamagong, etc. that are so blatantly displayed on the side of the road on the Silang road to Tagaytay from if it is illegal or so difficult to cut down old growth trees???

    Jul 15, 2012 | 10:39 am

  41. Marketman says:

    Gej, it borders on unscrupulous, but our late houseman at the beach once said he had ways of making a tree “die” without cutting it down… and if it dies of “natural” causes, you can legally cut it down rather than seeking permits. I should have paid closer attention to how he thought that could be done… I wonder what the rules are on balling the trees and transplanting them. How do nurseries get away with these rules as well… since they provide full-grown trees to landscapers all of the time…

    Jul 15, 2012 | 10:43 am

  42. RobKSA says:

    i bet that if you want kamagong or narra wood, you can get them if you know somebody from the denr. i mean cut and ready to use :-)

    Jul 15, 2012 | 12:20 pm

  43. mei kwei says:

    are you already getting ready for season 3 of the Walking Dead, MM? Cant wait for it to premier on AMC in October. with regards to unknown numbers, i dont sleep w my phone, if anyone calls and its unknown number- let the caller leave a voicemail. if its a telemarketer- add that to your contacts as ” DNA-telemarketer” so next time that number registers again- you already know that its a do not answere call. if its really that important or life threatening, they will call your house number – make sure you have caller id too.

    Jul 15, 2012 | 10:36 pm

  44. Ariel Nievera says:

    MM I am watching a watching the gma show where you acupuncture the lechon, very informative, nagutom ako

    Jul 16, 2012 | 2:39 am

  45. gensanite says:

    i was in carmen, agusan last week, and was staying at a house near the highway… and for two days, i saw truckloads upon truckloads of logs – how the heck did they get permits for those logs?! the trucks were as big as those who are transpoting sugarcanes in quezon, bukidnon… and trimming branch of a tree in your property to avoid the damage to electric lines and phone lines would require a permit from denr?! mind-boggling!!! XD

    Jul 16, 2012 | 9:34 am

  46. miles says:

    hi mm. my mother in law has the same dilemma as she has a kamagong tree in her backyard that is 16 years old and has grown so big that the roots have made inroads under the paving and the property wall. she had to go to denr for a permit to cut it down and got caught up in the backlash after the sm incident. haaay bureacrats who are are reactive and not proactive should not be in office.

    Jul 16, 2012 | 2:08 pm

  47. Camille says:

    Here in New Zealand u can’t can’t down native trees – there’s a list of trees protected. If you want to trim the native trees, you need to get permit and have a very good reason why it needs trimming such as safety issues or it’s on the way of the power line. They are very strict about it.

    I’m quite surprised about the law in Philippines about chopping down trees. Ive never heard of it before. My guess is, it’s always been there but not really put in practice and advertise well enough maybe??

    Jul 16, 2012 | 6:43 pm

  48. Camille says:

    Oops sorry got cut off.iPod got low battery wasn’t able to edit in time.

    Continuing from previous message. Also sometimes doing the right thing isn’t always easy. From experience in Philippines , any government-related paper work takes a long time, lots of run arounds, money and waiting time. At the end maybe just maybe they will give you the “go” to watever it is you’re asking for such as permits. It puts people off most of the time. Sorry sounds harsh but it’s true.

    Jul 16, 2012 | 7:05 pm

  49. EbbaBlue says:

    I have a small farm in Quezon Province, real deep into the woods; did not have tenant for years and so wild trees grew up big and tall . My cousin said its a soft kind of wood, but can still be use for sidings, he said if I need it for future house building, I have to tell him in advance so he can get a permit to cut it, which can be a lengthy process. He said it shouldn’t be a problem because it is not a native tree. With coconut, hindi daw kailangan “magpasabi” kasi pangkaraniwan lang yon duon.

    He added that it is hard to discreetly cut a hardwood, kasi sa ingay pa lang ng chainsaw mo, nariyan na yung mga “agents” hahanapan ka ng permit agad. Pag-nakitaan ka rin na nag-ta-transport ng kahoy from the barrio to the town proper, pinatitigil ka sa highway and again they check your permit.

    My cousin was not sure kung alam daw nitong mga checker kung tama or valid yung papers na hawak mo, eh kung ipeke-daw kaya?

    Jul 16, 2012 | 8:16 pm

  50. Marketman says:

    Okay, folks, I did some basic on line research. I have found several laws related to CUTTING down trees, either on public property or private property. But they all specifically mention cutting down or in effect, killing the tree. I have found no law about trimming trees that requires a DENR permit to cut branches and limbs… if anyone knows of a specific law, please leave me a comment…

    And while we are on the subject. I wonder if you need a DENR permit to cut down a stand of bamboo “trees”… because technically, bamboo is a grass, not a tree. Or what about cutting down banana trees? They are technically herbs, not trees… :)

    Jul 16, 2012 | 8:27 pm

  51. EbbaBlue says:

    When I was in Quezon last May, nagpa-putol ako ng kawayan for personal use, yung iba sa lot ng pinsan ko, yung iba binili namin sa neighbors, no problem sa pag-cut, no need for permit, eh kalapit bahay lang namin ang barangay captain eh. Pero yung narra at molave, talagang kailangan.

    About trimming naman, pag-sarili mo at nasa property na kinatatayuan ng bahay mo, hindi na rin kailangan, especially for safety reason.

    Jul 16, 2012 | 9:38 pm

  52. Ging says:

    Cutting of hardwoods like narra, mahogany and the like NEED a permit. The rest like Malunggay, mangga, bamboo DO NOT need a permit. Reason: Hardwoods need more than 50 years to grow so cutting down trees lesser than that age is illegal. And cutting down hardwoods of any age would constitute logging hence the permit.

    As for the coconut tree, YES, a permit is NEEDED because the coconut is considered the life of the farmer. You cut it down, you are cutting down the farmer’s source of income. Aside from getting a permit, if the trees were planted or cared for by the tenant, you also have to pay the tenant an amount equivalent to the income that the trees would have earned for the tenant during the tree’s lifetime- and that would include income from coconuts, leaves, tuba, etc.

    Cutting down bananas does not require a permit a nd is actually recommended to assure that a healthy batch of trees will grow from the parent stock. However, if the bananas were planted by tenants on YOUR property, in effect, they own the banana trees and if you want to cut them down, you have to recompense the tenant for the income lost as result. That would constitute about 5 years worth of bananas because parent stocks are often changed every 5-7 years.

    Jul 17, 2012 | 4:54 pm

  53. Ging says:

    PS Coco lumber often come from mature trees that are no longer productive. That’s how useful the coconut tree is. From early age till its death, it provides the farmer a source of income.

    Jul 17, 2012 | 5:01 pm


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