Thursday, January 26, 2017

Century Tree of Canlaon City, Negros Oriental

From Sagay, we were undecided of whether we go home to Bacolod via Don Salvador Benedicto or we go through a much longer route of going to another province, Negros Oriental.  Because we have been planning to go to see the Century Tree at Canlaon City since last year, we thought of doing it than waste the afternoon travelling home.

So we passed by Escalante, Calatrava, Toboso and Valle Hermoso to reach Canlaon.

The Century Tree is located in Brgy. Lumapao in Canlaon City, a 10 minute ride from the highway.  Although there are limited signages for the site, it could be easily located because the tree in itself is already seen from the road because of its height.

Nestled in the middle of the rice and coffee plantations in the OISCA Farms, this wonder tree looks similar to the Home Tree featured in the movie Avatar with its healthy foliage and widespread branches. 

Upon arrival, we were asked to write our names in their visitors logbook which we gladly obliged. Before going to see the tree upclose, we took a pictures of ourselves afar from the tree to capture its gigantic beauty.

According to the locals, the tree is called Lunok (Visayan dialect) or a Balete tree.  A professor from Siliman University in Dumaguete City estimated its age to be 1328 years. It is a type of tree wherein it starts as a strangler figs growing on other trees.  The figs entrapped the tree and eventually kill the host tree.

I was in awe of its height and its gigantic size. I think around 20 people is needed to fully give this tree a hug.  Standing before it makes you realize how small you are as compared to the tree yet how powerful we could be as we have the choice to protect it or kill it.

There are a lot of cavities inside the tree.  I saw a lot of children playing and entering them.  A few teenagers has climbed and reached the top branches of the tree.  There are quite a lot of vandalism in the tree roots and branches, written names of whoever has visited the place.

Locals enjoy coming to the Balete tree.  There are 4 picnic cottages surrounding the tree which is available for free, in a first come first serve basis.  You may bring your own food if you want to stay longer, as there are no restaurants nearby.  However there are a few locals who has put up a table to sell chips and softdrinks and water.

 It is a unique backdrop for prenuptials and post-nuptial pictorials. It a good location for weddings, birthdays and the like.  I just don't know if there is a fee if you want to rent the place exclusively.  

I would like to visit the Canlaon Century Tree at night.  Locals say, that its foliage served as a sanctuary for a lot of fireflies.  It is like having a giant Christmas Tree all year round.  Superstitious local folks believe that it is a gathering spot for fairies, a reason why the tree lights up at night.  It is also inhabited by bats, insects, lizards and other organisms.

How to Get Here:
From Bacolod or Dumaguete: Ride yellow Ceres Liner bus with Canlaon signboard.  Get off at the Canlaon City Proper.  Ride a tricycle to the OISCA Farms. 

Habal-habal may be hired going to the tree, and may ask for 150php for fare.

Entrance is Free but there is a donation or tip box right next to the registration logbook.


Canlaon Tree
Brgy. Lumapao
Canlaon City

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