My Silver Birthday at Haribon: Experience like no other
by Janice Ramil Purificacion, Haribon volunteer and contributor
It’s official. I am twenty-five. A quarter of a century. Many stores and 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 way beyond 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 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; this is my vision for the Philippines. I remembered 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 a long overdue in my bucket list since I was 21. 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 (50 trees). I shared this with my family and my friends four weeks sooner than my birthday. Some even shared it with their friends and became a bridge for me to meet and make new friends. Then typhoon Yolanda came. It was heart-breaking, this even is an understatement. I was encouraged to push through with this project when a friend wisely said, “Trees may not be directly planted on the damaged sites (Bohol & 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 silver birthday, 140 trees were being donated to Haribon Foundation.
I am grateful to the Lord for the gift of life, for the provision and favor He always give us. This dream would not be realized if not for all the people who gave generously and supported this cause. To my family and my friends, my Emerson family, thank you all so much. To Haribon staff who patiently waited and coordinated with us, thank you for all the help.
The writer 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 the Holy Land and visiting Malacañang Palace.