I am always mesmerized by natures ability to impress anybody. Its beauty, strength and magnificence radiates time in and time out. Through its course throughout time, its undeniable beauty in every creation makes one think, pause, and reflect. “Wow, God is an amazing Artist!” Intricate details woven deep within the surface of the earth are just too plentiful to discount the fact that our surrounding is as amazing as we see it due to the fact that the artist has taken time, lots of time, to create such masterpieces!
In the town of Maria Aurora, a 600+ year old Balete Tree stand tall, towering over anything beside it as if to say “I am powerful! I have withstood the test if time”. Seeing the tree gives one a sense of being lost in time. For 600+ years, this tree must have been around in the 1400s. That was before the Spanish conquistadors even set foot in the islands. This tree has witnessed countless people, withstood thousands of typhoons and natural disasters, housed millions of different species and here it is now standing right in front on me. One can’t help but be struck in awe and amazement.
The Balete Tree, a species of Banyan Tree also known as the “Millenium Tree” is about 60m (200ft) and has roots about 10m tall and 15m in diameter. 60 adults joined hand in hand are required in order to circumvent around the tree in its base. With its base being so massive, open creases between its roots have provided entry to the center of the tree. Upon entering and squeezing in through a number of roots, one can reach the core of the tree. It’s amazing how even inside the tree there is a shaft, or more like a passage way, to the top that one can climb. It could get a little claustrophobic inside the base but there are gaps between the roots and from the top of the tree which provides a light-well where the sun rays pour into the trees deepest core.
If you are booked in Costa Pacifica Resort, you may arrange with their front desk for booking this particular tour. You may also hire a tricycle to take you to Balete Park. Most tricylcle drivers we arranged with are also tour guides. For a small fee, they would be more than happy to show you their beautiful home, Baler.
Upon arrival to the park, you will be greeted by locals that administer the place. They charge a P10 fee per adult and P5 for children. The place has wifi allowing you to Facebook upload or Instagram your photo ops right away. There are also a group of talented teens that know more than most about taking photographs and camera tricks. They will gladly take your photos using your iPhone and implement some pretty neat camera tricks!
Rumor has it that there is another balete tree somewhere near this Balete Park that is either the same size or bigger. Our guide said that it is not open or public as there a some obstacles and difficulties in reaching the location where it stands. It is a bummer that I may never see this other tree. Nevertheless, it is a great pleasure to see firsthand the gigantic tree claimed to be the largest in Asia, The Old Balete Tree.