The best Holiday gifts



WHAT can we give someone who has everything? How about a tree planted in their name? I was going over the Haribon Foundation website and found an even easier way to do this. For just P300, Haribon will plant a tree in your name and take care of for three years (see banner story for details). For the others who want to get down and dirty, we will do a tree planting activity next year in our coffee areas (Benguet, Cavite and somewhere in Mindanao).

Give a gift of good
Choose a gift that helps someone else in need. There are many fair trade products and products that keep on giving available from social enterprises like Rags to Riches, Messy Bessy and of course, ECHOstore.

Bake something special
Something healthy like a gluten-free cake or sugar-free cookies or a dessert using low sugar coconut sap sweetener and granola bits like PIli & PIno. Use coconut flour for a change and avoid the high sugar stuff.

Start someone on a good habit
Maybe it is time to take your family on nature walks and mountain trekking rather than going to malls. Visit a forest area like University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna and learn about biodiversity. “The forest is not just trees. It is an ecosystem.”- Haribon Foundation

Smell the roses
Go to flower gardens like the Makati Garden Club. The Silang Cavite By Pass on the Aguinaldo Highway also has many decorative plants sold in many sizes perfect for every home or garden.

Start a vegetable garden
Collect a list of your family’s favorite vegetables and get the seed packets and potting media and start a small garden at home. There is nothing more meaningful than being able to grow your own food. Teach the children where food comes from.

Give a tree sapling or seedling
It is never too late to start planting a tree in your backyard. Or even in your schoolyard. I was gifted with a tree seedling many years ago and that tree now gives shade to someone’s home.

Give a gift that teaches about nature
Get a book on trees, plants and gardens. There are many coffee table books, trade books and reference books on the subject. It’s perfect for children and adults alike. It is never too early to teach children about Nature and loving it.

Going green is not as difficult as you think. It starts with simple things like choosing to preserve the environment in our everyday life. It starts at home. Then goes on when we go to school. And most importantly, we must carry it on through life. I’m still amazed by the tall trees in the forest. It is still a dream to be able to identify all of them as I visit parks and forests. But it’s always good to start now, this Christmas.

After avoiding plastic and using reusable things, it’s now time to proactively help nature get back what it has lost. Plant a tree. Imagine 100 million trees if every Filipino planted just one. We can replace the carbon monoxide all our cars in traffic create and that will make a cooler, better world.

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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall, Davao, Cebu City and Antipolo City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on sustainability, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at


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