May Serrano is the steward of Big Handy Ground, a family-private farm located in Tanay, Rizal which she chose to take care of in memory of her late father, Big Handy.
Growing up as a city girl of Manila, May Serrano never imagined her life to become a person who will take the challenge of rural life – getting dirty by mud, and becoming soaking wet under a heavy storm, in a place without electricity and signal. All of this because of a dream she had, of how the place looks like before 1970’s when it was a lush forest.
Hence, in 2018, she searched for people to help her out in restoring and rewilding back the area which became dominated by Cogon grass. Because of her wish, she crossed-fates with passionate and selfless individuals from Philippine Native Tree Enthusiasts, who share the same interests and dreams with her. So, in 2020, with the help of the people she was destined to meet, they started the Tanay Teaching Forest, a collective endeavor which aims to transform the 3,000 sqm portion of Big Handy Grounds in to a Teaching Forest, a loving and sentimental place where people, especially the kids from Manila and other nearby urban cities, can experience to fall in love with native trees and others forms of life, and learn from it.
Currently, aside from being a Teaching Forest, Big Handy, also serves as an astronomical ground for people who wanted to immerse themselves with the stars, and the dark skies. Moreover, as a support for people closest to her who lost someone in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, she opened the place as a sacred ground, and encouraged them to plant a tree in memory for their departed loved ones.
10 years from now, May Serrano, envisions that Big Handy will become a protective park, homing not just for trees but for various wildlife as well. And achieve one of her personal goals, to create the “Forest from Above”, an overlooking scenery of flowering native trees such as the Malabulak, Salinggogon and Banaba which will resemble the shore of the Milky Way galaxy – which she equally adores with native trees.