Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Weird Fruits on this Christmas Tree

We went to hear mass in Basco Church. We walked pass the Basco Town Square and was delighted to see the trees shaped and adorned with decors for the Christmas season. It was a good to see that the happy message of Christ's birth is celebrated with a happy tone everywhere, despite the language barrier. The mass we attended was even celebrated in Ivatan, but we did get to understand that the homily was about the Visitation. The mass was for children and the priest lively encouraged the participation of the younger attendees. There was clapping, standing, stomping etc. But ultimately there was laughter, probably one language I could undeniably understand.

Going back to the town square trees, the plaza was flanked with unique Batanes trees, the ones Ivatans call arius (Podocarpus costalis or igem-dagat to us Tagalogs) and riwas (Drypetes falcata or gakakan). The specimens lining the square were old trees but pruned to look like dwarf pine trees. The two species are good topiary trees it seems. But what would be weird were the strange fruits they carried, they were not the usual small arius and riwas fruits you expect. As an expression of Christmas creativity, the Ivatans hung real orange and pandan fruits on them. Certainly aroused my curiosity at first glance. I thought I discovered a new species of Podocarpus, with much more large and unusual fruits.

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