In a world plagued by seemingly endless news about death, corruption, economic collapse and ill-causing vibes, can planting a seed be a salve to our saddened hearts?

I have seen a sudden surge of home gardening projects among my friends in the past months and weeks. People are growing indoor plants, succulents, flowers, herbs, fruit trees, vegetables โ€” even root crops! Some do it as a way to de-stress, to fight boredom and to stay sane. Some just want to be self-sufficient and grow their own groceries. Others, find it a reignited passion.

It seems like plants, in a way, have brought people together despite being apart.

While backyard/urban gardening is practically inapplicable to me, I support these activities and I wish them the best of luck. So, instead, I decided to share a few of the most memorable trees I’ve encountered in this lifetime. Hopefully, this will inspire individuals to plant and grow more trees knowing that one day, their seedlings will put a smile on the faces of the next generation.

P.S. I am no forestry expert and I lack the knowledge to distinguish one tree from another. Please feel free to correct me or give more details on these trees. I would really appreciate it. ๐Ÿ™‚

1. This old tree by the “kanal” has seen people come and go. It has witnessed laughter/banters erupt among children swimming in the water. It has also heard gossip among mothers washing their laundry below.

2. This mango tree in Babag would probably be every hiker’s trophy tree after climbing the arduous Napo-Babag trail. Countless of tired souls have sat beneath its shade and watched nature flaunt its beauty before their eyes.

3. Those who hike Cebu City’s Spartan Trail, will never miss this thick growth of teak trees along the ridges of Buhisan Watershed and Forest Reserve. Although it may not be the perfect species to plant, being not an endemic tree, these teak trees have provided the much-needed shade during our hikes. It’s large deciduous leaves give a wide canopy along the trail โ€” and a colorful one depends on the season.

4. Another Spartan Trail gem is this towering old Dao tree. It has been one of our resting place from hours of walking on steep trail. Personally, I see this tree as an assurance. Whenever we pass by it, I’m reminded that we are closer to the end of the climb. It’s gives me one of those “Finally!” moments.

5. Probably the most professionally photographed tree in Kan-irag. At the foot of Sirao Peak are four clumps of acacia trees overlooking the green fields. This has been a common site for couples who opt to have an outdoorsy prenuptial shoots.

6. Passing by the Malubog Golf Course is a popular choice for hikers/campers who want to go to Sirao Peak. It mostly an open field and this pine tree has been one of our go-to resting spot.

7. This tree reminds me of my first major climb in Alto Peak. It is also beneath its shade that I’ve first formed awesome bonds with most of my SMS friends.

8. Rizal Boulevard’s centuries-old acacia trees in Negros Occidental. This backpacking trip will always be a special one since it’s the first time James and I went out of Cebu with just us two. Charot. But kidding aside, they’re gorgeous natural Goliaths that you will surely enjoy watching โ€” especially during sunrise!

9. Resilient and proud. These two words came to mind when I first saw this old tree by the sea in Sibulan. It is, by far, the most dramatically positioned tree I have seen. It stood its ground despite many years of crashing waves and strong gust of wind. Sadly, I was informed that this part of the land was reclaimed and they recently replaced the shore with cement.

10. The century-old Maribuhok tree at the summit of Mt. Talinis. At the ridge of the Nakulon Peak, overlooking Lake Nailig, stands this ancient tree whose branches you would think are trunks.

11. The mossy forest of Mt. Kalatungan. I have not been to many places with very dense moss-covered trees. The closest I can compare it with is to that of Tres Marias‘. However, Mt. Kalatungan’s jungles are far more enchanting. From the ground surfaces to the trunks and branches, moss is everywhere. It’s magical and surreal.

12. This Acacia tree at the base of Mt. Wiji. This tree will always be memorable to me not just because it is standing grand in the middle of a wide expanse of land, but because it saved me from the brink of giving up. The effect of the three-day Kala-Wiji climb slowly showed on the way back to the jump off point. Climbing down the mountain slopes for hours brought sore muscles and wobbly knees. Back then, I kept saying I’m already on “autopilot” โ€” just walking for the sake of walking. When we reached this acacia tree, we finally got a glimpse of civilization. Again, it was one of those “Finally!” moments.

13. Lastly, these narra trees have greatly saved my mental health during the pandemic. Since late March, I started my daily #WalkFromHome and throughout the quarantine, they were my source of positivity and hope. They have brought color to my gray days. Kudos to LGUs and private land owners for taking the initiative of using native trees on the roadsides.

#WalkFromHome

I hope this doesn’t just ends with planting. I hope people savor the joy of seeing the seedlings grow. Visit http://www.forestfoundation.ph for more details. ๐ŸŒป