SM Foundation, Inc. the social good arm of the SM group, and the Fast Retailing Foundation
(FR Foundation), a general incorporated foundation in Japan, formally launched the ‘Grow
Trees Community’ project in Nasugbu, Batangas last September 27 as the first stop of three
provinces for their ‘treescaping’ and reforestation initiative.

Volunteers from SM Foundation and community members undertake the
planting of flowering trees in Nasugbu.

The Grow Trees Community project aims to plant and grow trees across the Philippines while
helping create livelihood opportunities by working closely with the people’s organizations in the
communities. The project also joins hands with Costa del Hamilo, Inc., Manila Southcoast
Development, Inc and the local government of Nasugbu.

“The core of our program is to go beyond planting trees. It also addresses the social and
economic needs of communities by providing them with the means to engage in agroforestry.
With this in mind, we want to build a strong foundation to keep growing communities by
fostering collaboration and leadership in caring for the environment” said Cristie S. Angeles, SM
Foundation Assistant Vice President for Livelihood.

Some 8,400 Palawan Cherry blossom trees locally known as ‘balayong’ and
the bell-shaped Tabebuia pink flowering trees are being planted along the 7-kilometer
Tarnate-Nasugbu road leading to Hamilo Coast.

“Facilitating sustainable development is one of the core activities of FR Foundation and we
support this program to further promote environmental stewardship, preservation and the
economic development among communities.

We are delighted to partner with SM Foundation
who has an extensive experience in community development and tree planting programs in the
Philippines,” Mr. Yoshio Ishida, Secretary-General of FR Foundation said.

The project is also seen enhancing prospects for eco-tourism and in turn, job creation for the

“This endeavor will definitely boost the eco-tourism here in Nasugbu moving forward with the
flowering trees creating a picturesque view of the property. This will promote not just Hamilo
Coast, but also the local community with no other property hosting this vast array of Palawan
Cherry and other flowering trees,” Franklin M. Bolalin, Assistant Vice President for Hamilo
Estate Management said.

Hamilo Coast looks after one of the largest mangrove forests in the province of Batangas in
partnership with WWF Philippines since 2007. The 24-hectare mangrove belt is covered by lush
50,000 mangrove trees.

Three of Hamilo Coast’s coves, namely Pico de Loro, Etayo and Santelmo, have been declared
as Marine Protected Areas by the (Organization) since 2009.

FR Foundation Secretary-General Yoshido Ishida (right) plants flowering trees
at the launch of Grow Trees Community in Nasugbu, Batangas.

The site serves as a marine sanctuary to an exuberant diversity of marine animals and a
resilient locale for migratory and unique species of birds, now totaling 96, which includes the
vulnerable Philippine eagle-owl (Bubo philippensis).

The presence of more trees in these areas will act as natural protection against erosion, and
absorption of planet-warming greenhouse gases.

Grow Trees Community is in support of the SM Green Movement that aims to improve the
quality of life of communities through sustainable solutions to promote a green planet, green
living and a green culture.

FR Foundation focuses on promoting research designed to help make the world a better place,
spurring technological development, nurturing human resources, and supporting socially
vulnerable individuals or groups.

It is part of Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., the leading Japanese retail company that owns well-loved
casual wear brand, Uniqlo.

Source: Mindanao Times (