Tag Archives: tree planting

See this and other pictures of trees in the meilBOX 5+1 Project IG page. [Photo by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin]

The meiLBOX 5+1 Project is now in Instagram!

Hello dear readers! I am happy to let you know that  The meilBOX 5+1 Project is now in Instagram (IG)! We can now swap updates and photos there! Here is the link.

I used to enjoy Facebook but I think that Instagram suits me better. For one, I do enjoy photography and being in Instagram allows us to share pictures as well as savor the beautiful work of other photo buffs. Thanks to my hubby and business partner, JR, I was able to learn how IG works! The use of hashtags was so “beyond me” at first but IG is worth the learning curve. Just seeing all those beautiful sites and photos make it worthwhile! Thanks to you guys and gals who created and continue to make IG a free platform for sharing and inspiring creativity.

Here is a couple of the first pictures that I posted there.

See this and other pictures of trees in the meilBOX 5+1 Project IG page. [Photo by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin]

Have you planted a tree recently? Let’s swap stories. Join me in my Instagram page! [Photo by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin]

meiLBOX 5+1 Project_IG post-4

To love and to hold. [Photo by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin]

Since The meilBOX 5+1 Project is about trees and letter-writing, I would be posting mostly pictures that I have taken of trees. [UPDATE as of Jan 2017: I realized it is better to include other subjects as well and make it a personal gallery page instead].

I will continue to use the site in sharing the pictures of tree-lovers and letter-writers who will participate in this project. If you are among them, please send me your pictures* (via the email addresses I had indicated in the project’s page here) and/or you can directly tag me through IG. You can do this by adding @the.meilbox.project and #meilbox in your IG post.

I will also appreciate it a lot if you can help me in passing the word around about this project. The more people who knows about this, the more letters we can send, the more love we can express and share, and the more trees we can plant!

Please help me in making this a greener, healthier, and happier world! Namaste!




*You can share/post any of these pictures: (i) a picture showing you in the post office as you mailed your letters/postcards; (ii) a picture showing the stamped letters that you are sending out (please don’t take a picture unless you are already in the post office and are actually sending the letters out); and (iii) a picture of you planting a tree.


This is not a paid blog. (I do not ask for any donation but I hope you can plant a tree on your birthday/s.)

Bring a smile to your friends' faces and help mitigate climate change. Send them handwritten letters and plant a tree. Join The meiLBOX5+1Project! (Photo taken by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin)

Best trees for urban areas

Happy EDSA People Power Day to all!

As I have promised in an old post under The meilBOX5+1Project category, I would be sharing with you some findings about the species of trees that are more location-appropriate. For example, in urban areas like Metro Manila, it is better to plant trees that will help in reducing air pollution and temperature (read: global warming).

Bring a smile to your friends' faces and help mitigate climate change. Send them handwritten letters and plant a tree. Join The meiLBOX5+1Project! (Photo taken by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin)

Bring a smile to your friends’ faces and help mitigate climate change. Send them handwritten letters and plant a tree. Join The meiLBOX5+1Project! (Photo taken by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin)

A report published by DENR in August 2006 (Suitable Species for Urban Forestry) listed down various tree species, which are recommended for urban areas. Listed below are 20 of those species:

1. Acacia (Raintree) – scientific name, Samanea saman

2. Balitbitan – scientific name, Cynometra ramiflora

3. Baston de San Jose – scientific name, Cordyline terminalis

4. Copper Leaf – scientific name, Acalypha wilkesiana

5. Guyabano – scientific name, Anona muricata L.

6. Kamagong – scientific name, Diospyros philippinensis

7. Maluko – scientific name, Pisonia grandis Span.

8. Adelfa – scientific name, Nerium indicum

9. African tulip – scientific name, Spathodea campanulata

10. Bandera española – scientific name, Canna indica L.

11. Bougainvilla – scientific name, Bougainvillaea spectabilis

12. Bunga – scientific name, Areca cathecu L.

13. Caballero – scientific name, Caesalpinia pulcherrima (L.) Sw.

14. Campanilla – scientific name, Thevetia peruviana

15. Giant ipil-ipil – scientific name, Leucaena leucocephala

 16. Lumbang – scientific name,  Aleurites moluccana (L.)

17. Mayana – scientific name, Coleus scutellaroides or Coleus blumei Benth.

18. Narra – scientific name, Pterocarpus indicus Willd.

19. Palawan Cherry – scientific name, Cassia nodosa L.

20. Palomaria (Bitaog) – scientific name, Calophyllum inophyllum L.

You can get the complete list and know more about these trees by downloading the report through this link. I will be writing about the best species for rural settings in one of my future posts.
Hug a loved one, and, yes, plant a tree today! God bless!
This is not a paid blog. (I do not ask for any donation but I hope you can plant a tree on your birthday/s.)

Unity in diversity (lessons from a couple-tissue dispenser from Ifugao)

Hello dear readers! My blog has finally migrated to its own domain, http://meilbox.net! And I would like to celebrate this new “home” by sharing this cute couple with you. :)

SMILE! SMILE! There is humor to be found even in the most sh--ty moments! (Update: Hubby and I decided on their names: Meet Ginger and Mushroom a.k.a "Kabute"!) ;D

SMILE! SMILE! There is humor to be found even in the most sh–ty moments! (Update: Hubby and I decided on their names: Meet Ginger and Mushroom a.k.a “Kabute”!) ;D

I met this “happy” couple from Banaue, Ifugao. I guess the message is clear, huh? I salute the wood carver who thought about creating these amusing characters. We have named them, Ginger and Mushroom (a.k.a Kabute). ;)

You may be wondering why they are in different colors. Well, I found Kabute, the happy guy, in a shop by the Dayanara Viewpoint in Banaue (thanks to the shop owner-woodcarver who created him!). When I asked the shop owner why is he selling the male version only, he said that his “partner” was already bought earlier. I readily bought the male version, quietly hoping that I would find him a partner so he won’t get lonely as he settles down in his new home.

Luckily, on the way back to Manila, along the national highway (probably somewhere in Kiangan, Ifugao), I chanced upon another shop and found a couple! This time though, the couple is in brown varnish finish. The lady shop owner did not have the almost-black /antique finish that would seem perfect for what I already bought so I decided to get her female version (thinking that I would just had her re-painted with the black /antique finish later on). The lady shop owner gave me a small discount but did not want to go further because, as she eloquently explained, “…you are taking his partner away! He will be lonely!” (I can no longer argue with that, right?!)

When we got home and I placed Ginger and Kabute on top of a table, I realized that there is really no need to re-paint Ginger! They actually look sooooo cute together, right?!  So, yes, I would keep and enjoy them just the way they are: black and brown, unique in his and her own way, happy, funny, and very ‘ethnic’.

Most importantly, they remind us of one very important lesson in life: we may come from different backgrounds and cultures but we are still united by common goals and aspirations.

Of course, let us not forget their simple message: SMILE! Just smile! There is humor to be found even in the most difficult moments. :)


Speaking of the wood carvers of Ifugao, this brings to mind the issue on total log ban. I have always been a supporter of Pinoy arts and crafts. However, I also believe that when creating art pieces and crafts, due consideration must always be given to how our livelihood activities impact the over-all integrity of our physical environment.

That is why I was glad to hear from the shop owner in Dayanara Viewpoint that the wood carvers of Ifugao are planting a tree for every tree that they cut. I know that there is still an ongoing debate on the total log ban issued by President P-Noy through Executive Order No. 23 and that the Ifugao woodcarvers are still negotiating with the government for an exemption. Nevertheless, hearing from the wood carver this kind of commitment certainly tells me that the right balance can be achieved. We only need to hear the side, too, of those who depend on forestry products, and at the same time, be more conscientious in the way that we utilize our natural resources. (For a related news article, please go to http://www.philstar.com/nation/2012/12/03/879503/ifugaos-seek-exemption-total-log-ban.)

I also hope that our legislators can already craft a law that will require all Filipinos to plant a tree on his/her birthday! I have began a small tree-planting+letter-writing campaign through this blog but I think that much more need to be done.

Calling all Philippine legislators to create this law soon!


This is not a paid blog.

Tree Planting 101

Planting trees carefully will help ensure that your tree will live up to old age. (Photo c/o Treehuggers.com)

As promised, I will be writing more posts to help you in your participation in the The meiLBOX 5+1 Project.

An important question that may come into one’s mind when planning to plant a tree is, “How do I ensure that my tree will survive?” In fact, this question is sometimes taken for granted. I have heard of well-organized tree planting activities that eventually ended up being wasted because most of the trees did not survive. It is certainly easy to plant a tree but to do so without serious preparations increases the possibility of your tree not making it on his 1st birthday. :)

Therefore, I am sharing here some useful tips and guidance in ensuring that your tree will survive in the long haul. However, before we discuss the tips, let us first mention the importance of trees and why must we all do our share in ensuring that more trees are going to be planted in the Philippines and elsewhere.

We all know that trees support life itself, our core survival–we need the oxygen that is released by trees and other plants. Picture this: two fully-grown trees can provide enough oxygen for the needs of three to four persons. Therefore, if your household has 8 members, it is a good idea to plant at least 4 trees in your backyard! Of course, we have other activities beyond breathing so you can well imagine that we “owe” the earth more trees per year. (The Save the Amazon Rainforest has estimated that a person needs to plant 30 trees in a year so he can compensate for the carbon dioxide that he emits. Others may not agree with this figure but the principle still remains: we ought to give back if we continue to extract.)

Related to this is the issue on climate change. We all know that  trees are important in reducing global warming. Trees help remove carbon dioxide from the air by capturing and storing them and then releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. This natural process is considered as a form of “carbon sequestration.” (To know more about carbon sequestration, you may visit this link.) Experts agree that one acre of trees removes about 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide per year. That is a significant amount of carbon dioxide, right?

The next important role of trees is in preventing soil erosion and flooding. Because trees have elaborate root systems, they are able to help in holding the soil, soil particles, and water in place. The more trees we cut, the more of those root systems are eradicated from the ecosystem, the more chances are for soil erosion and eventually, flooding. Remember Typhoon Ondoy? It is likely that the floods will still happen but if there were more trees in and around the affected areas, the impact would have been lesser in gravity and scope.

Finally, trees provide us with water, food, shelter, medicine,and other materials. Look around you as you read this post and you will see that almost everything around you is sourced from or had been created with the help of plants and trees. Hugging a tree may really be a good idea after all! :)

Now that we have the basic information about trees, let me then give you some tips in ensuring that your trees will grow beautifully into old age. (I will not be writing here about appropriate types of trees for particular settings/locations because I will also devote a separate post for this equally important topic.)

1. Ensure that the hole for the tree is not too deep nor too narrow. Digging too deep will make it difficult for the roots to have sufficient oxygen; digging too narrow will limit the ability of the root system to benefit from the nutrients of the soil. A narrowly-planted tree will also have limited “anchor” in the soil, making it easy to break down or fall.

2. Ideally, the diameter of the hold should be 3 times the diameter of the “root ball” or container or the spread of the roots of your tree. This will provide enough space for the roots to establish itself. In the same principle, ensure also that the tree will not be too near another tree/s. The future foliage of your tree will also grow well if your tree is adequately “spaced” from the other tree/s.

3. Ensure that water will drain well in the hole. You don’t want your tree’s roots to drown in too much water so ensure that the water can easily drain. You can prevent this by raising the center of the bottom (of the hole) a little bit higher than the surrounding area so that your tree will “stand” higher in the middle of the hole. Do not “smoothen” the surface of the soil around the bottom and the sides of the hole because such will make it difficult for the water to drain well. Aerate the soil enough so that the water will easily pass through.

4. In the same principle cited in No. 3 above, do not compress the soil too much or the water will not reach the roots well.

5. If you are planting a tree which was originally grown inside a container (e.g., plastic bag), it is better to spread the roots well prior to planting (after removing the tree from the container/plastic) so that the roots are not compacted with the soil particles. You can free the roots by loosening up the soil through the use of your fingers or a blunt object (but do so with care so you will not hurt the roots). This procedure is important because if the roots are compacted, they may not grow well enough and the tree may eventually die. Remember to prune dead or damaged roots.

6. Return the backfill soil (combinations of peat moss, composted manure, topsoil, etc.) in the hole surrounding the tree using your hands and compress the soil adequately, avoiding too much pressure though so that the roots and soil can still breathe.

7. Water the tree at the time of planting. The tree can be watered once a week or more if in the middle of summer. It is important not to overwater your tree or it can also die. If you cannot visit your tree more often, ensure that other people/organizations will care for it. (However, it is nicer to find the time to visit your tree every now and then!)

8. Mulch (a combination of materials such as bark, wood chips, and other organic materials) of about 3 or 4 inches deep around your tree can also help in keeping the moisture of the soil. It may also be a good idea to add fertilizers in the soil but it is better to consult a plant/tree specialist first so he can advice you on the best approach.

9. Decide if your young tree can stand on its own; if not, build stakes around it for support. Just ensure that the stakes will not be too tight or too loose (e.g., the tree should still be able to sway with the winds. It may be unavoidable that the tree will touch the edges of the stakes if winds will blow so you can lessen the damage to the tree’s skin by wrapping the contact points with soft and “airy” cloth). The stakes should also be removed at a time that the tree can already stand on its own.

10. Avoid pruning your tree at such young age. If pruning is needed particularly for damaged/broken branches, do so with extreme care so that the other healthy branches will not be affected. Do not also prune the top of the tree as this will affect the growth and structure of the tree.

For more information and tips on tree-planting, you can also visit this link. You can also contact the Manila Seedling Bank for availability and pricing of tree seedlings. If you have other helpful tips, please also feel free to share them with our readers by emailing me through meilbox5plus1.project@asyanna.net. Watch out for my next post about appropriate types of trees for particular settings/locations.

Happy tree-planting!


This is not a paid blog.