The Tree That Protected the Katipuneros, and Other Historic Trees
Trees do more than just reduce carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, and make our surroundings beautiful. They stand as silent witnesses to the lives of people, and sometimes, important events in Philippine history. Metro Manila may not be the greenest city in the world or even the country, but there are several trees in the city that have been singled out for their roles in history. We've done a list of beautiful native trees, but here are some of the most important and historic trees in Manila–and beyond. If these trees could talk, we're sure they'd have plenty to say.
1| The Katipunan Tree in Novaliches
One of the historic trees recognized by the NHCP and the Tree Preservation Foundation of the Philippines Inc. is a
Located about two kilometers away from the La Mesa Dam and the old Barrio Pasong Putik, this tree gained its distinction for being the location where the Spaniards arrested Tandang Sora and exiled her to Guam in 1896. The tree's vicinity to the former headquarters of the Katipunan also suggests that Tandang Sora treated many Katipuneros under its shade during the early days of the 1986 revolution.
2| The Jollibee Tree in Padre Faura
It’s unusual to see nature and commercial establishments cohabit harmoniously but a tree located in a Jollibee branch in Manila has managed to do so. This historic tree, enclosed in glass, offers the beauty of nature to curious onlookers feasting on their Chickenjoy.
Most people think this tree is just a "cool thing," but U.P. Manila students and professors acknowledge that the tree was probably present during the Battle of Manila. This is highly possible since American forces passed by the area as they liberated the city. In fact, from inside the store, you can see several indications of bullet marks on the bark.
3| The Meycauayan Tree
One of the three acacia trees in the patio of the Parish Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Meycauayan City has been a regular fixture in Philippine history, including the time of President Manuel L. Quezon. In 1890, the future president was a young sacristan and it is believed that he used to play a lot under the shade of this acacia tree. In the ‘80s, the Tree Preservation Foundation of the Philippines installed a marker for the old tree. It was lost in 2004 and replaced in 2014.
4| The Papal Trees in Luneta Park
When Pope Paul VI visited Manila in the ‘70s, he planted a Narra tree as a gift to the Filipino people. When Pope John Paul II visited the country in 1981, he followed his predecessor’s footsteps and, with the helpf of Cardinal Sin, planted his own. The latter tree is located near the carabao statue in Luneta Park. The papal gifts used to have markers on them, however, park attendants removed them because ardent devotees kept causing damage.
5| The Kalayaan Tree in Bulacan
The Kalayaan Tree or Siar in the churchyard of Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan stood witness to the convening of the First Philippine Congress, the promulgation of the Malolos Constitution, and the inauguration of the First Republic.
Revolutionary officers would have stayed under its shade as they waited their turn to report to Emilio Aguinaldo who lived in the convent. The townspeople would have also used the shade of the tree as they greeted Aguinaldo on his way to congress sessions at the church.
Unfortunately, when Aguinaldo left Malolos, the convent, which also functioned as his headquarters, was burned, along with the important government documents. The tree was partly damaged because of the fire.
6| The Chico Tree in Kawit
Planted by Aguinaldo himself in the backyard of the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, this chico tree was witness to the proclamation of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898. It was also said that Aguinaldo wrote his memoirs under the shade of the tree.