It all started one evening in February, while having our cauliflower fritas fix at Poppins, my friend Monette Victorio and I were talking about Sakura season in Japan and wishing we had one in the Philippines. I was telling Monette about the Balayong, more popularly called the Palawan Cherry Blossom tree. It's actually not a cherry tree but a variety of other tropical flowering trees like the Flame Tree and the Golden Shower. I suggested why not plant these trees in her hometown of Binmaley, Pangasinan and in five years, it will be a summer destination for tourists wanting to see the blooming Balayongs. Monette and her mother Josefina Victorio, a tourism consultant to their town Binmaley loved the idea. I made a t-shirt design using the Keep Calm application on my iPad with Monette's brilliant tag line Bloom Binmaley, and Smart Communications happily sponsored the tree planting event.
We planted the seedlings a month ago, on the first of May, making it easier to remember the date, not only because it's Labor Day but also Pistang Dagat in the province of Pangasinan, a celebration of their sea's bounty. I'm so happy I'm finally realising a dream to plant a million trees, soon, I will be planting more Balayongs in San Jose, Tarlac with a couple of friends who share the same dream and love for our country.
|A hut by the beach of Binmaley, Pangasinan.|
|The town monument to it's fishermen.|
|The bell tower of Binmaley church.|
|The Golden Shower tree.|
|Balayong seedlings from Manila Seedling Bank.|
|A Balayong tree in memory of Monette's sister, Jiji.|
|From the net, a Balayong tree in full bloom.|