Like a thief in the night, mother was robbed of 182 of her precious babies.

I love malls.  I love SM.  My family and I have built a lot of great memories and celebrated a lot of events in different SM Malls.  But I would never trade the life of trees for them.  This is my stand in the so-called up-rooting and re-balling work plan of SM development on Luneta Hills for their expansion projects.

Who in their right mind would trade 30-40 year old trees who have continuously given Baguio residents with oxygen and protection from flash floods, land slides for a mall parking area.

Baguio is the City of Pines!  Not the City of Malls!

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has granted SM the permission to cut down these trees after successfully complying with the 10 conditions that they have set for the Mall giant.  A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was issued yesterday to SM but according to environmental activists and Baguio residents, the order fell on deaf ears because they are still continuing the operation.

My point of view, DENR should have been the first and last group to make a stand on this matter being the nation’s commissioned protector of our environment and natural resources.  DENR’s environmental weighing scale is not properly calibrated with this issue, they were supposed to protect the trees but they have betrayed them.  Acting like Pontius Pilate and washing their hands on the matter but like Pilate, they will not be absolved.

In fact, they are the ones who have caused this.  If they did not give SM the permission to implement their work plan, they would have not pursued this and have formulated a more win-win solution for both their company and Luneta Hill.

I’m afraid it’s way too late for the trees that have been up-rooted but I hope this serves as a lesson for all.  We too are to blame for this because we were all sleeping when it happened.  Let’s all wake up people!  If we don’t, we might woke up one day with our Mother Earth gone and all of us paying the price for our ignorance and stupidity.

In memory of the fallen trees of Luneta Hills, I would like to offer these quotes and poems for people to remember their worth.  They have been the inspiration of a lot of songs, poems, pictures, paintings and artistic works.  They have sheltered us from storms and have given us shade when it was warm.  They have been homes for a lot of other beings and have given us more than food but life itself.  They have been here before us.  They will forever be in my heart.  If we only learn the word RESPECT, then this place would be a better place.

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”  – Mahatma Gandhi

“If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, doesn’t it just lie there and rot?”  – Chuck Palahniuk

“When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear….” – Maya Angelou

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. ” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy.”  – Clarissa Pinkola Estes

“To dwellers in a wood, almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature.” – Thomas Hardy

“Fancy cutting down all those beautiful trees…to make pulp for those bloody newspapers, and calling it civilisation.”  – Winston Churchill

“There is always music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”  ― Minnie Aumonier

“Listen to the trees as they sway in the wind.  Their leaves are telling secrets. Their bark sings songs of olden days as it grows around the trunks. And their roots give names to all things. Their language has been lost.  But not the gestures.” – Vera Nazarian

“The planting of a tree, especially one of the long-living hardwood trees, is a gift which you can make to posterity at almost no cost and with almost no trouble, and if the tree takes root it will far outlive the visible effect of any of your other actions, good or evil.” – George Orwell

Only when the last tree has been cut down,
Only when the last river has been poisoned,
Only when the last fish has been caught,
Only then will we realize that MONEY CANNOT BE EATEN.

– by Cree Indian Prophesy

“As I age in the world it will rise and spread, and be for this place horizon and orison, the voice of its winds.  I have made myself a dream to dream of its rising, that has gentled my nights.  Let me desire and wish well the life these trees may live when I no longer rise in the mornings to be pleased with the green of them shining, and their shadows on the ground, and the sound of the wind in them.”  – Wendell Berry

“And see the peaceful trees extend their myriad leaves in leisured dance—  they bear the weight of sky and cloud upon the fountain of their veins.” – Kathleen Raine

“A tree which has lost its head will never recover it again, and will survive only as a monument of the ignorance and folly of its Tormentor.”   – George William Curtis

“The trees are God’s great alphabet: With them He writes in shining green across the world His thoughts serene.”  -Leonora Speyer

“Who leaves the pine-tree, leaves his friend, Unnerves his strength, invites his end.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The next best time is now.”  – Chinese Proverb

“Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.”  – Henry David Thoreau

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
– Joyce Kilmer, “Trees,” 1914


And on a final note, please remember:

“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods.  But he cannot save them from fools.”  – John Muir

In Memoriam: The Fallen Trees of Luneta Hill
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