When I started my thesis I did not know what the tipolo looked like. Since Antipolo was named after it, I figured it was the best place where I could find one. And I was not disappointed as I found a few trees in the Antipolo Church compound. My first images of this tree came from specimens lining the perimeter walls of the famous landmark.
I cherished that first sighting as I thought that tipolo trees were rare elsewhere. But eventually towards the blatter part of my thesis, I realized that the endemic tipolo is still fortunate to be found in other parts of the archipelago. Though they are not literally abundant, their presence is still felt in a lot of islands from Ilocos to Palawan and Bohol. But I still look forward to seeing the Antipolo Church tipolos everytime I passed by there.
Last Holy Week I got to see the tipolo trees once again. The Antipolo church compound has changed since the last time I saw it, but the tipolo trees have remained the same as I remember them. But it also reminded me why these trees are still standing there.
That particular day they provided much needed shade to churchgoers, protection from the scorching heat - the very purpose trees do in a landscape. The particular church trees are there because they have become a vital part of the church grounds - the built environment. A majority of the wooded parts of Antipolo were already converted into subdivisions. The old tipolo trees which the old folks found and named the town after are probably long gone, cut to make way for houses and buildings. Hopefully like the church tipolos, new tipolos would be planted into the town landscape so that this important tree would not be missed here. Hope Antipolo would never have to run out of tipolos. May they find the real importance of these trees in their environment.