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Tree for tomorrow

One day many children will have memorable playtime moments running, laughing, telling stories and sitting by the shade of the trees we plant today.



I have a cherished photograph of my maternal grandfather lifting me up so I could touch and hug a gum tree. I was four years old when that photo was taken.

It was one of many trees he and my grandmother planted and cared for with the help of Nong Imo and our other trusted staff back in the day.

Some of the trees were planted a few years before I was born, others when I was born and some more during my growing up years.

I remember many breezy and cool afternoons in my grandparents’ garden running around eucalyptus and other types of trees, squatting comfortably and curiously investigating the growth of newly planted seedlings while admiring the warm hue of the soil surrounding them.

Fast forward to 1991 when I served as External Vice President of the student council of my alma mater, the Ateneo de Manila University. My main projects were geared toward environmental care and protection.

Something about running around trees and hugging them when I was little must have left a deep and lasting impact on me.
A few years after when I was already a broadcast journalist for the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), I was fortunate to have also worked with the late Gina Lopez in her admirable efforts in caring for the environment.

I recall being so pleased when Gina got in touch with me to join her in campaigning for the Clean Air Act in Congress, when I became one of the staff tasked to help gather funding for reforestation efforts and when I was chosen as one of three hosts of the ABS-CBN Foundation’s environmental show Bantay Balikatan (BK).

I did these while continuing work as news anchor and host for varied news and current affairs shows for ANC.

In moments where climate change and environmental challenges were in the headlines, I could sense Gina’s and our whole BK team’s dogged determination to make a positive difference for Mother Earth.

I was witness to Gina’s passion for the reforestation of La Mesa Watershed and am grateful to have been part of a number of tree planting and EcoPark activities there together with my family.

The foundation continues on the mission of reforestation and environmental preservation to this very day. Glad I played my small part in its early days.

Just this week I visited a few newly planted trees close to my current home. They are part of over 100 trees that have been planted so far.

It’s an impressive endeavor my husband Harlan is spearheading, and the plan is to plant more in the coming days and months.

1 July marked the beginning of the new Rotary International year and District 3870, the one my club is a part of, has kicked off the new year with its tree planting and tree-growing project promoted under the hashtags “TREE for Tomorrow,” “Each One Plant One” and “Rotary 3870.” For this particular campaign, TREE is the acronym for Taking Responsibility for Earth and Environment.

I am inspired by this project. One day many children will have memorable playtime moments running, laughing, telling stories and sitting by the shade of the trees we plant today.

I know this with full confidence and certainty because I, myself, was once that child.