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Festival of Trees

Started in 1995 by the Makati Garden Club (MGC) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), the Festival of Trees has since become one of the premier fund-raising events in Manila, raising millions of pesos to support the country’s less fortunate through livelihood and educational programs in Cebu Hillylands, Samar Maqueda Bay, in Southern Leyte, Bicol, Basilan and Maguindanao.

A Feat of the Festival

The Festival of Trees, more popularly known by its abbreviation — FOT, is the biggest and longest running fund-raising event of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP). In partnership with the Makati Garden Club (MGC). FOT has raised some P47.5 million to support the Samar Resource Management Program on Maqueda Bay, as well as other poverty alleviation programs in Mindanao, Marinduque, Antique and Olango Island. Recently, FOT was cited as an exceptional fund raising event in the 1st Kyra Award of Ventures for Fund Raising.


FOT’s modest beginnings started in 1995, when the concept of a formal dinner and auction of exquisitely designed Christmas trees and paintings was brought to the Philippines by Mindy Perez-Rubio, then Makati Garden Club (MGC) President, who had just arrived from the United States. This idea became the decade-long inspiration for her mother-in-law, Ms. Ma. Luisa Perez-Rubio, who incidentally is the Chairman of MGC and President of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

The Festival has three major components:

  1. Adopt-a-Project where benefactors are given the opportunity to support a pre-identified project of their choice;
  2. Tables which are pre-sold to corporations and philanthropists, allowing them to enjoy a splendid dinner and be entertained; and
  3. Silent and Oral Auction which allows guests to own one-of-a-kind Christmas decors and priceless paintings donated by renowned local designers, florists and artist-friends. The Auction is the special attraction for the evening.

Each year, the challenge is to reinvent the Festival of Trees and find ways to make it more appealing and more exciting.


In nine years, the Festival has received donations from more than 400 fund sources composed of more than 90 member companies, 115 non-member companies and more than 240 individual artists and various donors. Estimates show that 95% of donors contribute for a maximum of three years, while 5% of donors have consistently given for 4 to 6 years.

To date, the Festival of Trees has raised some P47.5 million while operating expenses have totaled P7.76 million or only 16% of total gross earnings.

Beneficiary Communities

Funds have been used to help the poor coastal and upland families in Maqueda Bay, Samar, Olango Island in Cebu, Ragay Gulf in Quezon. Of these areas, PBSP’s Samar Resource Management Program along Maqueda Bay, Samar has been the most consistent beneficiary of the Festival with around 70% of the funds going to the program. Aside from the funds raised, FOT has also campaigned for socio-economic growth and environmental protection of the area. This has resulted in partnerships developed with Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), Department of Agriculture, Philippine Army and other donors.


To reach more beneficiaries, FOT funds are leveraged with other sources. As a result, about 8,431 households have benefited from the various projects implemented on Maqueda Bay, such as crop diversification, aqua culture, alternative livelihood projects, credit assistance, potable water projects and strengthening of cooperatives, 550 families, moreover, have increased their monthly incomes.

Bulk of the funds go to coastal technology testing and verification of potential aquamarine species (grouper, milkfish, snapper, seabass, trevally, pearl oysters, mud crab, mussel, lobster, pompano) which are critical to replication and production.

The latest project in Samar funded by the proceeds of FOT is a multi-species fish hatchery. This will ensure the stable supply of fingerlings. The hatchery sits on a 5.2 hectare lot and will produce fingerlings of grouper, milkfish and snapper. This reduces the cost of fry distributed to fisherfolk.

Home & Garden Sales

Makati Garden Club holds Garden Sales and bazaars twice a year. One in mid-April and one in mid-November to coincide with MGC’s founder, the late Maria Luisa Perez-Rubio’s birthday on 12 November. Everything from ornamentals, poinsettias (in November), white elephants, clothing, estate and vintage ware, food, jewelry, handicrafts, fruits and vegetables, plants and young trees are for sale.

During our November Sale, we include Christmas Decor, fresh juniper wreaths, and fresh pine wreaths.

Classes and Lectures

Makati Garden Club holds classes in gardening and horticulture, flower arranging,
painting, even cooking. We also invite noted landscapers and horticulturists to give lectures
and talks. Even the children from nearby nursery schools come to visit and we teach them how to plant seeds and make them grow.