Arbor Day: A Holiday We Deserve

Everybody wants a holiday. The more holidays there are, the happier the people. Simple as that. However, it is not always the case in the Philippines where not all holidays are the same.

Arbol Tree Club members celebrating Earth Day at Mirisbiris Garden and Resort, Sto. Domingo, Albay

There are regular holidays. Then there are special non-working holidays and some special working holidays. Among the three, Filipinos can only afford to rest well and easy on regular holidays and special non-working holidays, but we definitely could not afford to be absent on working holidays.

Why is that so?

On regular holidays, even if we don't go to work, we'd still be paid nevertheless. If we do get to work, we would be paid 200% of our daily rate.

Meanwhile, on special non-working holidays, we will be paid 30% of our daily rate if we report to work, and in case we don't, we would still be paid if the employer feels generous.

This is not the case with a special working holiday because if we don't report for work, we would be considered 'absent.' If we report for work, we will only receive the usual daily rate.

A jade vine hanging on Mirisbiris Garden.

Sometimes it feels like a special working holiday is just like any other day, isn't it?

One particular day that is so special, it is celebrated all over the world is Arbor Day. But just like any other day, it doesn't seem to feel any different.

In the Philippines, Arbor Day is celebrated on June 25, as declared by Presidential Proclamation No. 643. In some countries, this day is a holiday, but not so in the Philippines. Through RA 10176, Arbor Day was declared to be a special working holiday but it is up to the local governments to choose a particular day to be declared as an Arbor Day. In short, if the local governments do not designate an Arbor Day, there won't be any within their jurisdiction.

Seedlings for the future.
Copyright, Denley Cyder Mirabueno.

What is Arbor Day?

Arbor Day is a secular day of observance when individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees. "Arbor" simply means "tree" in Latin.

In many countries, this is a holiday when there are no schools and people don't have to report for work at all. Its declaration as a holiday is very important as a national day off would enable people to participate in tree-planting activities. The participation of people and civic groups are crucial to the objectives of Arbor Day.

However, in the Philippines, Arbor Day won't be a holiday if local governments do not make a declaration and, if so, it will only be a special working holiday, which means, people would still need to report for work so as not to be considered 'absent.'

It was on Earth Day when we realized the massive importance of trees. Under the shade, we were smothered by more comfortable, cool temperatures. Outside, the heat instantly becomes unbearable.

If Arbor Day is declared a special non-working holiday all over the Philippines, there would certainly be many, many more people who would be able to plant trees.

In Arbol Tree Club, that is one of our missions. We would try to lobby with Congress to declare Arbor Day as a special non-working holiday all over the Philippines so that more people will be encouraged to plant trees on a wider scale.

Of course, we all know the importance of trees. Aside from its significant role in the fight against climate change, it also significantly reduces temperatures in cities and urban areas. There are many other benefits and advantages of planting trees. Because of this, people all over the world designate a certain day just for the planting of seeds.

Seedlings for the future.
Copyright, Denley Cyder Mirabueno.

If you support our mission to declare Arbor Day as a non-working holiday and you want to work with us in our mission to plant more trees, you may send an e-mail to for inquiries.


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