Raise your hand if your Instagram feed is currently pink with all the cherry blossom shots from your friends who are abroad. It’s enough to evoke major #wanderlust, no?
Ah, spring is a wonderful time indeed. I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced it in various locations overseas for the past six years. Witnessing nature erupt in a spray of colorful blooms as the weather turns mild really is quite extraordinary.
Okay, so we don’t have springtime in the Philippines, and our budgets may not always allow for a plane ticket to a destination that has it. However, that shouldn’t stop you from taking in the sight of some natural beauties this time of year.
Check out these local trees that can give the ubiquitous cherry blossoms some serious competition:
The triple threat of trees (if there is one), the Narra isn’t just the national tree of the Philippines. It’s sturdiness is also remarkable, as many woodworkers and construction workers will attest.
On the other hand, its beauty is also grossly underrated. Narra trees can grow up to 30 meters high and its branches produce dainty yellow flowers from February to May every year.
Where can I see this? These trees grow everywhere, but they’re especially common in Bicol.
Also known as the Giant Crape-Myrtle or Queen’s Crape-Myrtle, the Banaba tree is another multi-purpose plant. It’s mostly known for its medicinal purposes; its leaves help stabilize blood sugar and its bark soothes stomach pains. The Banaba tree’s strong and widespread roots even help combat soil erosion.
Its appearance is nothing short of breathtaking, though. The Banaba tree’s profusion of delicate pink-purple flowers are strikingly similar to cherry blossoms, making it a favorite of many landscape artists.
Where can I see this? Banaba trees grow in Luzon, especially in Palawan, and in Mindanao. UP Diliman has some on campus too.
Salingbobog flowers are predominantly white, but if you look at them up close, you’ll note the lovely pink hue in the middle. These trees also bear an edible fruit that’s rich in vitamin C.
Where can I see this? UP Diliman has them near the UP Lagoon.
A Mangkono tree in full bloom looks like it’s on fire. Its stunning flame-red flowers resemble sea anemones, and are a sight to behold.
Furthermore, Mangkono lumber is legendary for being the hardest in the Philippines. They say even a diamond-point saw will take days to hack through a small tree.
Where can I see this? Unfortunately, these trees are endangered. The remaining ones can be found in Caraga, Leyte, Samar, or Palawan, with a few sightings in Taal.
Emilio Aguinaldo supposedly planted one of these during the Malolos Convention, earning it the moniker “Kalayaan Tree.” Aguinaldo’s tree went on to house monuments to notables like Gregorio del Pilar, Gen. Isidoro Torres, Don Pablo Tecson, Padre Mariano Sevilla, and Doña Basilia Tantoco.
The Siar’s yellow blossoms are especially vivid during the summer, when its graceful branches are positively golden.
Where can I see this? These grow in Subic, Olongapo, and even Greenbelt Mall. The historic tree still stands in Malolos, Cavite, but you can also find one in UP Diliman.
A proud native of the Philippines, the Malabulak’s compact red flowers come afire in February.
Where can I see this? Malabulak trees abound in Quezon City, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Rizal, and Laguna.
While it’s great that more Filipinos can now afford to travel and expand their horizons, we must never forget to appreciate the delights of our own country first. After all, the Philippines is gifted with plenty of natural resources.
And if you’re lucky enough to live in or to visit any of the locations listed above, taking a walk outside could just be all it takes to behold them.