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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

November 25, 2012


The Philippines is known to have the longest celebration of Christmas in the world. This is clearly manifested by the setting up of Christmas decor by the start of the 4th quarter of the year on  houses, parks, avenues, hotels, malls and buildings. Here in our Sucat office, we had ours in place on the first week of November. 

For this year, we are going green with red.  The red is the use of poinsettias and it is green because we are not using any fancy Christmas lights.

It is important for our Company  to be green. Environment, Safety and Health (ESH) is engraved in First Balfour’s vision-mission and we strive to be true to it.  Last July 18 of this year, the First Balfour corporate office, located at Km 19 West Service Road, Paranaque City was awarded the 1st BERDE Design Recognition (http://philgbc.org/index.php/2012-10-03-07-05-04/media-releases/104-1st-berde-design-recognition-awarded-to-first-balfour). BERDE (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence)is the Philippine’s national voluntary green building rating system developed by the Philippine Green Building Council and is used to measure, verify, and monitor the environmental performance of buildings that exceed  mandatory regulations and standards.  

A BERDE building deserves a green decor for  Christmas. Thus, the use of poinsettias.  These plants were shaped into a Christmas tree and put on front facade of our corporate office. Also, bunches of them were placed in our lobby and at the parking lot.

From Wikipedia,  I got this info about the plant:

Poinsettia or Euphorbia pulcherrima is a shrub or small tree, typically reaching a height of 0.6 to 4 m (2 to 16 ft). The plant bears dark green  dentate leaves that measure 7 to 16 cm (3 to 6 inches) in length. The colored bracts — which are most often flaming red but can be orange, pale green, cream, pink, white or marbled—are often mistaken for flower petals because of their groupings and colors, but are actually leaves. The colors of the bracts are created through photoperiodism, meaning that they require darkness (12 hours at a time for at least 5 days in a row) to change color. At the same time, the plants require abundant light during the day for the brightest color.

The plant's association with Christmas began in 16th century Mexico, where legend tells of a young girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson "blossoms" sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations. The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Jesus. In Spain it is known as "Flor de Pascua", meaning "Easter flower". In both Chile and Peru, the plant became known as "Crown of the Andes".

It derives its common English name from  Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the United States in 1825.      

Looking at our Xmas decor in our building, I must say I am impressed and happy for it is simple, refreshing  and relevant. It is keeping up with the times. Take note, we are not using Christmas lights (LED or otherwise) to highlight the beauty of our decor. Nature provides its own radiance.

And the public is noticing. Our security guards posted at the gate talk of passing pedestrians trying to hold the leaves of the poinsettias to check if they are real or not.  Likewise, they see car owners lowering their car windows to get a better view of the natural display. 

Congratulations to our Dolly Pasia and her team for a very good job.