Balete Tree (also known as Balite or Baliti) are several species of the trees in the Philippines  from the genus  Ficus  that are broadly referred to as balete in the local language. A number of these are known as stranglers figs wherein they start upon other trees, later entrapping them entirely and finally killing the host tree. Also called hemiepiphytes, initially, they start as epiphytes or air plants and grow several hanging roots that eventually touch the ground and from then on, encircling and suffocating the host tree. Some of the baletes produce an inferior quality of rubber. The India rubber plant, F.elastica  were earlier cultivated to some extent for rubber. Some of the species like tangisang-bayawak or Ficus variegata  are large and could probably be utilized for match woods. The woods of species of Ficus are soft, light, and of inferior quality, and the trees usually have ill-formed, short boles.

Medicinal Use

Studies have shown that F. elastica are noted for its antimicrobial and antiinflammatory properties. In folkloric medicine, the bark of some of the species like F. benjamina, its roots, and leaves boiled in oil can be applied on wounds and bruises. The juice of the bark has a reputation for curing liver diseases. In rheumatic headache the pounded leaves and bark are applied as a poultice.

Local Folklore

In some areas of the country, some people believe that Balete trees are dwelling places for supernatural beings like kapre or tikbalang. In some places, sorcery rituals are known performed inside the chambers formed by the tree. Also among others, some superstitious folks suggest not bringing in balete as decorative plants inside a house as they allegedly invite ghosts.

Balete Drive in New Manila, Quezon City, named after a gargantuan balete tree that used to stand in the middle of the street, is allegedly one of the most haunted places in the city. The tale of a white lady appears at night hailing cars that drive by have been circulated since the 1960’s

Ornamental Use

Balete are planted as graceful trees along avenues in Manila and other large cities in the Philippines, and they are also excellent as shade trees. Several species of the tree are also use for bonsai making in the country.

 

Balete Tree in Maria, Aurora

Province

This park contains a 600-year-old balete tree that was designated the official “Millennium Tree” of The Philippines. It is the largest tree of its kind in Asia, and it would take 60 grown men, holding one another at arm’s length, to encircle its gigantic trunk.

The tree has a passage between its roots that allow visitors to get inside.

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 media attention and is now the most visited tourist spot in Aurora 

There is natural skylight passing through the roots of the tree.

Climbing inside and outside the tree is exiting.

Balete Tree in Balete Park is just few steps in the residential area in the town of Maria. Being scared to the tree is never exist in this place, as they never experience nor feel any unusual things in that tree. Instead they are proud of it. as it attract a lot of visitors in their town.

How to get there?

Take tricycle from Baler. Its about 30 minutes drive. By your own car its about 15 to 20 minutes drive.

 

 

Reference:

  • Wikipedia
  • Aurora Tourism