19 Dec2008


This is the Teen’s Christmas gift for friends, classmates, teachers, family, etc. this holiday season. I thought it was brilliant. The run-up to the holidays is a crazed (but happily so) period in our household. Not only do we do everything to pull off a relatively over-the-top Christmas, we also get involved in charitable efforts that seem to grow each year, and prepare for gatherings and dinners for friends and family. In the midst of all this hubbub, the Teen came up to us (Mom and Dad) with an idea for a little notepad that she designed herself. We were printing cards for the marketmanila.com feeding program so we were able to include the order at a friend’s printing business. On the cover is a tree made up of the names of as many trees the Teen could think of that grow in the Philippines (that was a learning exercise on its own, without her knowing it)…


And in a twist on giving away something made of a tree, she pledges to plant one tree for each recipient of her pads. As a family, we have been big on planting trees whenever we can. Our carbon footprint is pretty big, I would imagine, since we drive cars, use airconditioning and lots of electricity, and travel often… so our solution is to plant several hundred trees a year in the hopes that we mitigate some of the damage we inflict on the environment. For several years we planted mahogany trees, and donated many to public schools that planted them on their premises. We have also donated lots of narra and pine trees as well. We plant several kinds of hardwood and fruit trees on our own properties, rented or owned. And we give away trees to others who wish to plant them on their properties or neighborhoods. But for this past year or so we have been concentrating on the feeding programs, so I was thrilled that the Teen took up this nice gesture on her own…


It is such a simple present, but incredibly meaningful. There is nothing like watching a hardwood tree grow and mature and if we all simply planted a tree or two or three per year, that would be a huge improvement to the environment we live in. At PHP10 for most small trees from your local Department of Agriculture nursery or the Manila Seedling Bank, this effort costs nothing at all.


The Teen gave away some 60 or so pads, but we had a hundred printed up, so as a family (and with the help of crew :), we will plant at least 100 trees in the next 3 months…


We have also started propagating bamboo, which is a fascinating process as you have to lie the poles on their side and that is where they take root and grow new shoots perpendicular to the poles…


We stock narra trees as they are a family favorite and once they are out of these plastic bags and in the ground, they can grow at an astounding pace!


A year or two ago we purchased some 400 little pine tree seedlings at PHP5 or so and now they are nearly a foot and half high and ready to go into the ground. If you have some time over the holiday season, please consider heading over to a nursery and getting a few hardwood or fruit trees and planting it with your kids… And if you make it a family tradition, before you know it there will be dozens and dozens of trees in and around your neighborhood that you can point to in 10 or 20 years and say, gosh, I remember when we planted that one! :)



  1. zena says:

    That is one very cool idea. Indeed it is a nice reminder of our responsibility to this planet. There is nothing more refreshing than seeing pockets of green in a concrete jungle. I wonder if the notepads were made from recycled paper?

    Dec 19, 2008 | 10:00 am


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  3. Marketman says:

    zena, unfortunately, they were not. The printer couldn’t do that on short notice… :( Besides, if one reads up on the chemicals and processes used to recycle paper, there is a growing view that perhaps it isn’t all as green as it seems…

    Dec 19, 2008 | 10:06 am

  4. Connie C says:

    Thanks for the bamboo propagation idea, MM. I wanted to make a screen of bamboo in some parts of my property ( still have to figure a way of containing them) and now I know how to propagate them.

    In Palawan where we own a home, we planted trees representative of whatever hardwoods we used ( this was before the log ban) in the construction and continue to plant and propagate native species whenever we can. I also now have two ylang ylang seedlings that have grown at PHp 5 a plant from the local Department of Agriculture Nursery.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 10:31 am

  5. traci says:

    we used to have one of those pine trees here on our property in Makati. i can’t remember what happened to it, but i have a vivid memory of it.. what plant nursery is your source for all those seedlings? they’re a nice idea for christmas presents, for people who have the space to grow them.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 10:36 am

  6. Marketman says:

    traci, most of these seedlings in the photos are in Cebu. But in manila, we go to the Manila Seedling Bank in Quezon City for a terrific selection and great prices of tree saplings…

    Dec 19, 2008 | 10:38 am

  7. Maria Clara says:

    I am clueless how they start bamboo seedlings. Now I know thanks to you. You made Al Gore so proud of you. He is the Godfather and Founder of global warming and green revolution. Yes, more trees surrounding us the cleaner the air we breath! The Teen’s Christmas Gifts is very impressive and environmentally friendly to ensure clean air for the next generation. Good idea Teen and keep up the good work!!

    Dec 19, 2008 | 12:37 pm

  8. Katrina says:

    It’s nice to see that The Teen has been taking your examples of helping others and the environment to heart. :-) Not to mention, your eye for simple but elegant design!

    Dec 19, 2008 | 12:57 pm

  9. bagito says:

    Awesome idea from The Teen. She definitely has learned by (a great) example. Keep up the good work! The environment thanks you.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 1:17 pm

  10. EbbaMyra says:

    Where is Manila Seedling Plant in QC? Please share the address, uutusan ko yung hipag ko to purchase some trees (for shade and fruits) para itanim sa small farm ng Nanay ko sa Quezon. My relatives there cannot get good ones from the available nurseries nearby. Thanks.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 1:53 pm

  11. D says:

    You have a very smart kid or should I say Teen. I am always in awe of people who’d think of giving back to Mother Nature since its pretty rare these days, especially at that age when teens are usually more into themselves than what’s going on around them. =) You’re raising her very well, MM.
    I wonder if there’s an organization who’d do the tree planting for you? or you have to really do it on your own? (Dont have enough lot to plant eh.)

    Dec 19, 2008 | 1:56 pm

  12. tipat says:

    Kudos to you and Mrs. MM for raising such a responsible and thoughtful daughter. I hope we will be able to do the same to our kids.

    I like her gift idea except that we’re done with the Christmas shopping. But I’ll keep this in mind for some other occasion.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 2:44 pm

  13. Mimi says:

    My siblings and I did the same in 2006. We got our hardwood seedlings from UP Los Ba̱os Forestry and we could not believe how inexpensive the trees were Рbagtikan, kamagong, narra, mahogany and a whole range of others we did not even know existed Рfrom 5 pesos upwards, depending on the size of the planting pot.
    My brother recently has an interest in pepper vines and he has contacted a Mang Ato Belen from San Pablo City. My brother says that Mang Ato sells all sorts of fruit trees – dayap, mango, sampaloc, etc – as well as paminta vines at his organic farm, all ready for transplanting.
    Next year, MM, it would be a wonderful fund-raising activity for your feeding program for sponsors to donate money for your students to plant trees in their own schools.
    RE: recycled paper. There are 2 places I know which make paper from indigenous materials and recycled pulp. They are actually paper exporters, but you can still purchase in small quantities. One is the Sto. Domingo Handicrafts in Sto. Domingo, Albay and another is Los Baños Handmade Paper along the highway.
    Great Job MM’s Teen!

    Dec 19, 2008 | 3:46 pm

  14. ging says:

    MM, i hope you’re planting Philippine Mahogany. Many garden or plant stores sell the ones imported from Malaysia (i think) and they just grow up straight. The Philippine Mahogany is much much more majestic, although with smaller leaves.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 5:03 pm

  15. bernadette says:

    Kudos to the Teen’s creativity, to you and Mrs MM’s many relevant personal civic projects! It is very inspiring to note such endeavors and also some commentors’ ideas! I have been also trying to grow some bamboo trees in our garden but they also seem to like a definite amount of moisture and rainfall! I have tried several times kaya i know this fact. Maybe I try again in summer. They can be so expensive in Manila (I like kasi the Japanese bamboo) and also cumbersome to be carried in a backpack!

    Dec 19, 2008 | 5:52 pm

  16. Maki says:

    wow…. you are really a nature lover as well… and this is the first time that I’ve seen how a bamboo grass works that way.. pretty cool…

    Dec 19, 2008 | 6:10 pm

  17. zena says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. But isn’t the Manila Seedling Bank the one along EDSA? When I ride the MRT headed North, I see it from up above. It is just before Trinoma Mall.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 8:05 pm

  18. odie says:

    All i can say is, “Kung ano ang puno, sya rin ang bunga”. You have raised the Teen well Mr. MM, you are a good example to her.

    I wish i can plant trees with my kids too, but we don’t have the space for them (the trees)…, sayang!!

    Dec 19, 2008 | 9:20 pm

  19. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Awesome job Teen! Mm and Mrs MM is so proud of you. We are too!! Good trees bear good fruit….ahhh…The more we get to know you MM…the more you become dear to us…Thank you for your good example and civic mindedness…

    Dec 19, 2008 | 9:30 pm

  20. kate says:

    this is amazing and very very cool as well. btw, why is molave in red? :) is there a meaning to it or is it just the teen’s artistic expression? :)

    Dec 20, 2008 | 1:16 am

  21. Good Life says:

    Kid ,job well done.Parents are good role model.A child can see,observe and emulate what their parents do, so I am not surprised you have a wonderful child

    Dec 20, 2008 | 2:19 am

  22. Marketman says:

    kate, it isn’t so clear in the photo, but MOLAVE is in red, NARRA in green, and ACACIA in blue, with the rest of the trees in black. At her school, those are the colors of each “house” of students… sort of like teams… so since these went to classmates, they would get the significance… :)

    Dec 20, 2008 | 9:47 am

  23. Sandy says:

    What a wonderful act of sharing and giving…well done Teen! You inspire me too! Best wishes :)

    Dec 20, 2008 | 2:02 pm

  24. MarketFan says:

    EbbaMyra, Manila Seedling Bank is at EDSA cor Quezon Ave., not very far from the weekend market in the Lung Center compound. If you go on a Sunday morning, you can visit both places in one trip.

    Dec 20, 2008 | 7:45 pm

  25. Lava Bien says:

    Hats off to you and your family. It’s amazing how you could remind us (me personally anyways) of the the things we could do or we’ve been wanting to do but just got put on hold to help our environmnet.

    Bro, you inspire a lot of our kababayans to do better and appreciate a good life.

    May the peace and blessings of G-d almighty be upon you and your family.

    Dec 21, 2008 | 5:55 am

  26. siopao says:

    Recycling paper is not green at all. Making recycled paper is just another manufacturing process on top of a manufacturing process (There is NO manufacturing process that does not create pollution) add to that the chemicals they use that goes into the waste water that is produced. Just imagine the pollution and waste caused by the multiple transporting, shredding, cleaning of the used paper even before it is made into new (rather inferior quality) paper (which, by the way is more costly)

    Besides, the paper pulp industry is responsible for planting most of the trees in tree farms around the world (you didn’t think paper came from rainforest trees, did you?) A healthy growing global appetite for virgin paper products would encourage more tree farms and thus, more trees in the world.

    Instead of recyling paper, plant trees in any available piece of land like what MM and family are doing.

    Dec 21, 2008 | 10:13 am

  27. carina says:

    wow, this is an amazing idea from your family, with your timely concern about carbon footprints. I am part of a climate change work and it is amazing to learn that there are people like you who have personal initiatives to help our environment.

    Dec 22, 2008 | 9:23 am

  28. mdg says:

    you are so great as a family…may you inspire more and more people!!!

    Dec 22, 2008 | 10:09 am

  29. Chaia says:

    Do you know where I can get bamboo seedlings?

    Nov 16, 2009 | 10:47 am

  30. LITE says:

    Hi, I really like the idea! I am actually thinking of giving herbs for Christmas but your idea is better. Honestly I have no idea where to start. How do I go about it? Thanks.

    Dec 3, 2009 | 3:07 pm

  31. emsy says:

    You know those people whom you can’t seem to think of a gift for? I think you have given me a wonderful idea for birthday presents and all other kinds of presents for them.

    Jan 5, 2010 | 4:49 pm

  32. Skippy says:

    Hi. Just want to ask permission to copy the concept for my birthday. Will be planting 30 trees on my 30th bday. =) I’ll be copying the concept in preparing my invitation. Hope this will merit a favorable response. Godbless. =)

    Sep 21, 2010 | 2:29 pm

  33. Marketman says:

    Skippy, yes of course, I am sure the Teen would agree, more trees are good, period. :)

    Sep 21, 2010 | 8:21 pm


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