IN September 2011, a group of Palayan City National High School students submitted a study entitled “Investigation of Selected Physical Properties of Talisay Seed Oil.”
The paper was presented by Maria Elaine Ramos, Niña Jemia Cortez and Rizza Mae Riaza to the regional scientific review committee as an official entry to the Science and Technology Fair (2011 to 2012).
The study concluded that “[the] oil produced from talisay nuts can be used as good-quality cooking oil as based on the tests conducted in this study.”
Vianne Cuevas, the daughter of Palayan City Mayor Adrianne Mae “Rianne” Cuevas and businessman Bong Cuevas, was only 15 at the time.
Ten years later and fresh from completing her Microbiology course at Manchester University and her master’s degree at Cranfield University, both in the United Kingdom, she realized that the groundbreaking study by the three young scientists her age then would inspire her to propagate the talisay tree during the pandemic in Palayan City, the capital of Nueva Ecija province in Central Luzon.
To mark her 25th birthday on Jan. 14, 2021, Vianne decided to plant 10 trees for every year of her age.
A total of 250 tree seedlings were planted, foremost of which were those of the talisay tree. Vianne invited the youth of Palayan City to join her in the tree planting.
The young Cuevas, whose major in her master’s degree was Sustainable Development, told The Manila Times that planting a tree is for her very symbolic.
It is a “symbol of one’s commitment to the future of our environment. A seedling today and a tree in the future symbolize one’s dedication to sustaining a better world for all of us,” she said.
Vianne explained that she was looking 25 years ahead when children, probably including her own, would be reminded of what their parents, brothers, sisters uncles, aunts and the youth of Palayan City partly spent their time on when countries all over the world were reeling from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
One who evidently did her homework, she said, “Talisay nuts are a good source for making quality cooking oil.”
Talisay (scientific name: terminalia catappa) is a tropical almond tree with an umbrella shade.
The celebrator was joined in the activity, titled ”A Seed Today, A Forest Tomorrow,” at the Marcos Village Park in the city by her siblings Weiss, Yzer and Aniela.
Other city officials led by Vice Mayor Moises Carmona, Palayan City barangay (village) leaders, Sangguniang Kabataan (SK or Youth Council) leaders and volunteers from the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection joined Vianne in planting their tree for the future.
They all wore masks and face shields and observed physical distancing, among other health and safety protocols, during the event.