Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In Memory of this Once Magnificent Tree

I always look forward to February because it is the start of flowering season. For one it also signifies the season for fruiting, meaning mangoes would soon be selling cheap, and the varieties all so sweet. The sky is also so bright that it is ideal to take pics. So I usually set aside one day to go around and take pics of my favorite trees in flower. But this year, my most anticipated tree to picture was fallen.

One of the most spectacular tree finds in the Philippines is Bombax ceiba. It is closely related to kapok or Ceiba pentandrum, that is why it is called malabulak. This tree is disputed as native but is very much visible in beach and coastal areas of the Philippines. I usually hear of tales, in Bohol, of a huge flame red coastal tree and I suspect that what they refer to is this.

Bombax ceiba flowers towards the middle of February. It usually loses its leaves during the cold months and February is greeted with appearance of numerous large scarlet flowers. This is a sight to behold as the tree is fully red (because it is only in flower and devoid of leaves).

The very first time I saw malabulak was about 4 years ago. I passed by Sikatuna Village where V. Luna and Maginhawa streets meet and was surprised to find a very large Bombax tree in flower. I immediately got off the taxi (i was enroute to Cubao that time from UP) just to take pics of my amazing find. And from then on the Sikatuna Bombax became my yearly pilgrimage to look at.

This year I forgot to visit my landmark malabulak. I was out of town and became busy with work backlog. But when i finally remembered about the Bombax, Prof Ed Gomez gave me bad news about it. Apparently the owners of the land it was growing felt it had no more importance and cut it down. The last thing Prof. Gomez saw was the cut trunk.

I was saddened to learn my landmark tree is gone. One tree less to look forward to next year. I have to find another Bombax tree to take pics of or maybe i should try to plant one of my own so I have a flowering tree to expect every February without worrying it would be cut down the next year...


Barry said...

I have found that my own interest in a particular tree, and yearly visitations, means that inevitable someone will decide to cut it down for no good reason. I hate to say dark forces are at work, but I've sure seen a lot of good ones go to the axe. Maybe what attracts me is what draws the negative attention as well. Of course, some people are just ass holes and cut down trees without any forethought as to what it might be providing, and that it is a living being.

metscaper said...

hi. yup, that just goes to show that this planet is not ours solely. we have to contend with the actions of others. but we have to do with what is available for us to enjoy the remaining wonders for us to all appreciate. hope the others would soon get the picture that time and our resources are running out.

Marvin Buencamino said...

Hi I just read your article and feel sorry for the plight of an old helathy-looking tree being killed for some flimsy reasons. I just want to say that I like reading your blog about our native trees. About the tree on this article, I want to inform you that there is a tree near the national highway in San Miguel,
Bulacan, just outside the town proper that looks exactly like the one above, flowers, flowering time and all, really looks majestic. I wasn't able to take a picture though. Nobody seems to mind it being there, standing near a creek. Hope you see it when you pass by going north. Thanks for the blog, now I know its exact name and info.

metscaper said...

Thank you too for your nice comment.

UNKNOWN said...

nabibili ba ang mga ganitong puno sa Pilipinas? pwedeng seedling palang, pero gaano katagal bago maging puno?

pwede din bang makabili na ng puno na talaga katulad sa ibang bansa?


naghahanap ako ng mga native trees for landscaping.