I am officially 25 years old, a quarter of a century. Many stores, businesses, and even couples would celebrate their silver anniversary on the same day. It is a milestone for me and I wanted to celebrate it by gifting a gift of life that goes beyond my 25 years.
Back in college, I headed the Student Volunteer’s Association in our department. We held awareness seminars, donation drives, tree planting and fundraising programs. Yet the most memorable would be the feeding program on my 20th birthday that started this personal tradition of giving back instead of throwing a posh party.
It has always been my dream to adopt trees and raise awareness on the need to restore our forests and protect our environment from human devastation. When I went to Singapore for a business trip last March, I was amazed with what I saw. The place was teeming with healthy, lively trees and my heart was overjoyed, as this is my vision for the Philippines.
One of my favorite memories during college was the outreach program in Aurora province where we also planted mangroves on an island. It was then that I learned how trees support and affect many forms of life and ecosystem. To plant at least hundred trees was long overdue in my bucket list. My purpose was clear but I had no idea how to make it happen then.
Months before my birthday, God reminded me of this dream and gave me assurance so strong I could not shake it. I just knew I had to obey in spite of my doubts and I had to do it now. I searched the Internet about adopt-a-tree program and found Haribon’s Road to 2020 movement and have decided to adopt a “patch” consisting of 50 trees. I shared this with my family and friends four weeks before my birthday. Some even shared it with their friends and became a bridge for me to meet and make new friends.
Then Super Typhoon Yolanda came. I was encouraged to push through with this project when a friend wisely said, “Trees may not be directly planted on the damaged sites [in Bohol and Leyte], but we can help to bring balance in our environment and to contribute in minimizing global warming.”
The actual tree planting happened last year. My friends and I planted 50 seedlings at Buhay Punlaan together with the nursery assistant, Kiko Dublan. Haribon’s Buhay Punlaan is a nursery of native trees established at the Caliraya Watershed, in Lumban, Laguna.
Upon arriving, we were given a brief orientation about Haribon, Buhay Punlaan and how to plant properly among other things. We had lunch then proceeded to the most enjoyable part, which is getting our hands dirty and planting those seedlings despite the fact that it was drizzling.
Truly, when we put our trust and hope in God, whatever He started in our life, He will finish it to completion. I believe that God planted dreams in our hearts and He will give us the grace to fulfill them when we act on them. A day before my birthday, 140 trees were being donated to Haribon Foundation.
Janice Ramil Purificacion works at Emerson Electric Asia Ltd. ROHQ as a financial analyst. A CPA board exam passer, Janice loves to read books, watch movies and eat good food. She’s also into writing articles and journals. Included in her bucket list is seeing an Aurora borealis, playing under the rain, going to Holy Land and visiting Malacañang.