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Largest Balete Tree in Asia, Maria Aurora
Part 4 of the Libotero Baler Roadtrip series
As we crossed the Nueva Vizcaya-Aurora border, the first town we encountered in Aurora was Maria Aurora. It is the province’s biggest municipality. And it was really big, big, BIG! It took us at least an hour’s drive from the border of Aurora to our first stopover, the Balete Park!
The Balete Park
The Balete Park contains a 600-year-old Balete (Banyan) tree that was designated as the official “Millennium Tree” of The Philippines.
It is the largest tree of its kind in Asia,…
…and it would take at least 60 men, holding each other at arm’s length, to encircle the tree’s gigantic trunk!
Due to its age, the tree’s thick roots have grown above ground, such that caves have formed under various sections of the trunk.
This unique tree has generated national attention and is now one of the most visited tourist spots in Aurora.
Gosh, the tree is just so huge, and tall at 60 meters, that I can’t manage to fit it in one frame!
I was really in awe when I saw the tree. At first, I had this eerie, creepy feeling but the tree’s massiveness and grandness didn’t fail to strike and fascinate me. It was 1 in the afternoon during our visit and I don’t think ghosts show up during that time. I was more afraid of snakes, frogs and other icky reptiles that might just show up and attack us LOL. I do not know what happens at night though. Do you think those “kapres” and “diwatas” in Filipino folklore thrive in the Balete Tree? Who knows? I wouldn’t dare to know… I just hope and pray that the area is maintained and protected well for this precious tree to survive for the next centuries!
Anyway, the Balete Park is located in Barangay Quirino, Maria Aurora, Aurora. If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can take a tricycle from Baler. It is more or less 30 minutes away. From the main highway, watch out for a sign that would lead you to the Balete Park.
(…to be continued)