Category Archives: Memories

Help save the Luneta Hill pine trees


I feel strongly about the issue of SM Baguio cutting/earth-balling the Luneta Hill pine trees. Baguio blood runs in my veins. Baguio is my home. My Lolo was a forester and I guess he passed on to me his love for nature.

Lolo’s Legacy

Lolo, Dad’s dad, was an agriculturist and forester. After World War 2, Lolo worked for the regional office of the Bureau of Forestry and was responsible for reforesting parts of Northern Luzon. I remember, though vaguely, stories he told me of his adventures, mostly about planting thousands of trees all over the mountains – the stretch of the Mountain Trail (now Halsema Highway), the hillsides of Baguio. He brought with him a number of people whose primary job was to plant trees. They travelled in caravans across Benguet, and the Mountain Province.

Lolo also created a beautiful forest haven in his home in Baguio. It was near downtown but it looked like nothing you would expect in a home just 10 minutes from Session Road. We had bamboo groves, coffee trees, guava trees, a langka tree, a couple of avocado trees, many other smaller trees and shrubs, more bamboo, and more coffee trees! (We had so much coffee trees that we made our own coffee.) I have a lot of fond memories growing up in our mini-forest. My sisters, cousins and I – we were children of the earth. Literal earth. 😀

Sadly, it isn’t how it used to be anymore – there and most everywhere else in Baguio. The bamboo groves and all the trees are gone.

SM cuts it all for you

Now SM wants to cut/earth-ball/transfer  182 – scratch that, 133 – there are just 133 trees now (49 trees were cut/earth-balled/left for dead during SM’s defiance of the TEPO, according to this open letter from the lead attorney of Project Save 182.)

SM wants to earth-ball/transfer (read: kill) the Luneta Hill pine trees so that it can build an expansion that will house a parking/shopping complex.

Of course they justify this with green-washing – such as a “lushly landscaped Roof Garden with delightful water features”, and that the building is supposedly needed to prevent soil erosion. (I was taught in elementary school that trees, not concrete buildings and most definitely not cutting the trees, prevent soil erosion.)

The protests began late last year, but have recently escalated due to SM’s defiance of a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) issued by the court. The anger, not only among Baguio locals but of others in Metro Manila as well, grew even more when SM went ahead and cut/earth-balled the trees anyway.

(View photos of the earth-balled trees on Luneta Hill here -taken during the site inspection by media and Baguio environmentalists.)

(View video of a tree falling to its death in the middle of the night of April 10. How come DENR and SM deny that any trees were cut? This video does not lie.)

The surviving trees are safe for now, under an extended TEPO that was issued by a Baguio court. But who knows what SM can do, especially with government defending it?

The trees are Baguio’s heritage

Continue reading Help save the Luneta Hill pine trees

Mom Center Philippines: everything for every mom

During my first time to become a mom 13 years ago, parenting resources and groups were quite abundant too. But access wasn’t as easy as it is today. Parents in the Philippines today are lucky to have online resources like Mom Center Philippines.

Back in my time, I bought parenting and baby books. There weren’t a lot of local parenting magazines yet. The first book I bought while pregnant with Patch was Better Homes and Gardens Baby Book: The Complete Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth and Baby Care.

I read the book from cover to cover. Even if I knew my Mama would be there to help me take care of the baby when I give birth, I wanted to know more. I wanted to know how to give baby a bath, when it would be safe to bring her out for a walk in the park, when to feed, to start giving solids. There was so much I needed to know and learn as a young mom.

My other dilemma as a young Filipina mom was that most of the resources I was reading were western – either American or British. So some tips were not relevant for me.

Parents today, however, are very lucky. Almost everything they need to know are just a Google (or Bing or Yahoo) search away. More importantly, there are a lot of local parenting online resources that are relevant to Filipino parents.

mom center philippines

Mom Center is one of those. Mom Center Philippines is a fast-growing, free online community with over 70,000 members. What better way for moms to learn than from the diverse experiences of thousands of other Filipino moms, right? Continue reading Mom Center Philippines: everything for every mom

Star apples, Lolo’s roof and childhood summers

Along with mangoes, the caimito (star apple) is one of my favorite summer fruits.

We bought this bunch, all 6 kilos of them, along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City for P200.00. They sell for P35/kilo, but cheaper when bought by 3 kilos at P100.

Caimitos remind me of childhood summer vacations spent at my grandparents’ home. My Lolo Indong (dad’s dad) is an agriculturist, and he has all sorts of plants and trees in his backyard. The caimito tree by the kitchen is one of our favorites to sungkit caimitos from. If I remember correctly, I think there was another caimito tree by uncle C’s bedroom. My cousins, sisters and I would climb out to the roof and pick the fruits from there.

Aaah, then there was the roof over Lolo‘s piggery. Continue reading Star apples, Lolo’s roof and childhood summers

Bed talk, bird talk and more V Quips

A few recent nights have reminded me that bedtime is the best time for priceless moments and senseless talk with my kids.

One night the talk turned tender… To tenders, in fact. Blame it on too much cartoons, Nate has a a Kungfu Panda way of thinking whenever he hears the word “tenders”.

Me: Achi* ate chicken tenders for meryenda kanina.

Nate: Oooh, my tenders!

Patch: What?? Ma, what are chicken tenders made of?

Me (makapang-asar lang): Tenders of chicken!

Patch: *grossed out* x_x

After that, the kids spent a good few minutes shadow boxing. The girls’ hand-shadows *punched* Nate as he pretended to either evade or get hurt with the punches. Teehee. Kaaliw sila.

*Achi is Fookienese way of calling the eldest sister in the family.


If V has witty quips, Nate seems to have his own thing going too…

Nate: Ma, boys have bird ba?

Me: Yes.

Nate: Papa has bird?

Me: Yes.

Nate: Same size ba bird namin?

Where in the world do kids get these questions???????


Of course, I’ll never run out of V quips. Here are her latest. Continue reading Bed talk, bird talk and more V Quips

On milestones and celebrations

I don’t know about your family/clan, but in mine, September is the birthday season. We have at least 7 family members who are celebrating birthdays this month. But this is just based on Facebook, so the count could be more.

Statistically, September has the highest rate of births per day in Philippine hospitals compared to the rest of the year. Count nine months back, and you will understand why. (Brrrr…..)

So imagine the celebrations that happen during this month in our family. They range from simple and quiet to major major ones.

On a few occasions (for my kids, especially), I give in to a bit of major-majorness but personally, I go for simple and quiet. But always, I make sure there is some semblance of celebration – even if it’s just simply blowing the candles on the cake.

Celebrating milestones are just as important as the milestones themselves. Celebrations remind us of the value of the person/s being celebrated, and show them they are appreciated. Husband and I celebrate – believe it or not – our BF/GF anniversary still up to this day. Again, nothing mind-blowing but we make sure we remember and mark each year.


Celebrations are made more special with gifts, of course. And, even if “It’s the thought that counts” is true most of the time, exerting effort in selecting a gift for your loved one is something that will be noticed and appreciated. Unique anniversary gifts by year are a great way to mark important dates with your loved ones. I found some cool first anniversary gift ideas. My most favorite is this one:

Continue reading On milestones and celebrations