In and Around Clark 2

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By Noel G. Tulabut

My Palm Notes

Friday, December 13, 2013

(Ed's Note: This piece was supposed to come out last November 23. For some technical glitch, it failed to land in our servers. The writer had to rehash and re-write it in keeping with the times. Also, he had to replace some subjects that were rendered stale by the tech blunder.)

IT'S Christmastime. It’s that time of the year again when people return to their respective provinces for a much-awaited long break.

For most, travel is a welcome respite from the daily grind of the city. A lot of people look forward to the act of traveling itself more than arriving at his or her destination.

Musing during a long bus or car ride is further enhanced by the nice view along the road. It is nice that our expressways now have ample greenery maintained by their respective operators. Just look at the tree-lined stretch of the 90-km NLEX.

Worth noting is that the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), concessionaire of NLEX, does not stop at planting new trees. It also ensures that it is not remiss on its duties to pay appropriate attention to trees that are affected by its ongoing expansion endeavors.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources mandates that trees with diameter of 15 cm or less must be earth-balled then replanted at a specified site. MNTC makes sure it is compliant with this mandate as it properly identifies trees to be earth-balled.

During earth-balling, a tree is dug out with soil in a ball-like form around the roots to protect the plant’s core for high survival rate when transplanted. The roots must be as undisturbed as possible.

Once the plant is out of the ground, the person who dug it out covers the “root ball” with burlap or places it in a sack. The DENR permits earth-balling of trees on condition that 100 seedlings are planted for every transplanted tree that does not survive.

MNTC goes the extra mile in ensuring that this is observed. Last October, the company, employing the help of its contractor, organized another round of clearing operations along Marcelo Street, Valenzuela City. MNTC is clearing the area to construct reinforced concrete box culverts as part of the Harbor Link project’s Segment 9. The contractors earth-balled identified trees and prepared them for replanting at a site in Balagtas, Bulacan.

Safety officer Thomas Geronimo of MNTC said they are very careful in identifying and uprooting the trees. He added that they turn over the trees to the DENR and check on their condition from time to time.

MNTC also painstakingly observes the proper processes in obtaining rights-of-way in the areas that it needs to clear. Communities are informed beforehand that clearing operations are going to take place.

It is good to have private corporations with leaders who prioritize their responsibility to their communities. Their effort to take care of the environment is especially commendable. Sustainable projects such as MNTC’s “Greening the NLEX” are worth emulating.

Traveling along a tree-lined expressway calms the senses. Here’s to happy travels for all those on their way home this December. Take time to appreciate the peaceful scenery that you pass by.

TREE OF LIFE. SM City Clark (SMCK) will have its own fund raising activity for Yolanda survivors with its Tree of Light, Tree of Life project. Local government units contiguous to Clark like the cities of Mabalacat, Angeles and the towns of Porac and Magalang have made their own pledges in this life rebuilding endeavor.

Some private entities and business enterprises in the area had also committed to spare some amount. Individuals can also join where a capiz lantern (light balls) will be bought and named after kind-hearted individuals and sponsors for only P1,000 each. The lanterns will be hanged on acacia trees at SMCK parking area and will be lighted altogether on Monday, December 16.

The gorgeous Miss Ana Datu, SMCK Mall Manager, said that the endeavor is part of the Sy family’s initiative to help in the rebuilding and rehabilitation of Visayan towns and cities hit by Yolanda. The mall chain management first contributed P100 million to the effort.

Miss Ana, the brains behind the success of various activities and events at SMCK (Pyrofest, Ice Skating Rink, mall renovation) said the event has been given a theme: “let your light sustain a life” – an apt and timely battlecry to lend a helping hand to those who need it the most.

By the way, Miss Ana, unknown to many, is the architect behind the success of the now much patronized food court at SMCK. Miss Ana fought tooth and nail (before SM corporate officers) for her own concept of food court that is unique only to SMCK.

The result is a resounding success where not only the food court has international flavors but also showcases local culinary specialties in a very suitable relaxing ambience. I heard that SM top honcho Mr. Hans Sy himself has been impressed with the outcome that he now wants a replication of not only this concept and setting in SM malls nationwide but also the initiative and determination similar to what Miss Ana had shown.

UNIQLO. From Tokyo to Clark. Japan's premier global fashion brand had opened its second branch in the province on two weeks ago after its successful operations at SM Pampanga. Shoppers will not miss it as it will be located very near the food center.

With its banner brand concept “Lifewear: Clothes for a better life for everyone, everyday,” UNIQLO has been acknowledged as an innovator in the global apparel industry particularly for its product lines which are highly functional and of
high quality at an affordable price.

The SM City Clark branch (the fifth in the country) has the familiar Uniqlo spacious display area which makes shopping in this retail outlet really unique and convenient. In my previous trips to the Big Apple, I have also observed this kind of set-up in its stores in Manhattan, NYC, particularly at its 5th avenue branch.

UNIQLO, which first opened in Hiroshima in 1984, has a total of 1,200 stores spread across Japan, China, France, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, US and the Philippines. It is a brand of Fast Retailing Company, LTD., the leading global Japanese retail holding company that designs, manufactures and sells Comptoir des Cotonniers, g.u. Hemut Lang, J. Brand, Princess tam.tam, and Theory.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on December 14, 2013.


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