Communications Secretary Martin Andanar honored his late father, former Interior Undersecretary Wencelito Andanar, by planting a tree in his name at the Arroceros Forest Park in Manila on Saturday.
Andanar made the gesture during the Friendship Tree caravan that aimed to mark the 75 years of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Australia on May 22.
In a Facebook post, Andanar, an Australia Global alum, shared photos of him planting the sapling with Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson AO watching.
“Papa, a month after your passing we plant a tree in your honor at the Arroceros Forest Park in the City of Manila,” the former journo wrote in his post.
The late Andanar succumbed to liver cancer on April 22 at the Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center at the age of 73.
Meanwhile, Robinson shared a photo of the tree-planting activity in his Twitter account, expressing hope that the trees planted will stand the test of time like the ties between the Philippines and Australia.
“Planting saplings that will grow and flourish, like our enduring friendship,” he said.
Planting saplings that will grow and flourish, like our enduring friendship. With our #AusGlobalAlumni, @pcoogov Secretary @martinandanar and the City of Manila for a #FilAussieDay tree-planting at Arroceros Forest Park.https://t.co/5lRfeIQzVg pic.twitter.com/9BCRZTaOZQ— Steven J. Robinson AO (@AusAmbPH) May 22, 2021
The Friendship Tree caravan is an initiative of the Australia Global Alumni network to plant 750 trees across the Philippines in celebration of 75 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In a statement, Robinson said he was very pleased to be back at Arroceros Forest Park with Andanar and Manila City Administrator Felix Espiritu after visiting it in 2019 with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno in 2019 to hear about the City’s plans for its maintenance and the development of the adjacent area.
“Australia offers our support to the Mayor and his plans for the sustainable use and conservation of the forest park,” he said.
The 2.2-hectare Arroceros Forest Park was declared a permanent forest park in March 2020 by the City of Manila. It is home to about 3,000 species of trees, plants, and birds.
Robinson likewise pointed out that it was only fitting to hold the Friendship Day activity in Manila because of the Australian Embassy’s ties to the city.
The first Australian Consulate-General was opened at the Manila Hotel on May 22, 1946. The Embassy’s chancery was located in Binondo for 20 years, first at the Plaza Cervantes then later at the iconic El Hogar Filipino Building and Ayala Building in Juan Luna Street.