Issue of August 11, 2019
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Tears of the Bontoc kalachuchi tree

To those responsible for the “murder” of the innocent kalachuchi trees and finally the “murder” of the last kalachuchi tree standing near at the Mountain Province PDRRMO building, don’t think that you were able to escape the eyes of the vanguards of our heritage trees.

Their tears upon seeing the trees go will creep into the soil to water the dying land and to bother your conscience. The kalachuchi trees were deprived of their right to live. They were stopped from their role of giving beauty to the environment, producing oxygen, and making beautiful memories. Trees have freedom to live too because they as well provide cure for skin problems, stomach problems like diarrhea, and also herbs for mouth problems like gums and toothache.

To those responsible of their “murder,” wait for their sap to fall into tears.

The kalachuchi trees beside the PDRRMO building were unique because they have grown above 20 feet high compared to the usual height. They have braved many typhoons for more than 50 years. They were generous in their flowers, making the capitol building beautifully stunning and romantic.

On July 30, three respected old women of Bontoc approached me during a meeting and ventilated their sad feeling and sad story about the murder of the sole kalachuchi tree at the right side of the PDRRMO building. I shared their tears and their pain.

Today, our concept of development has deteriorated to sheer infrastructures. It is wrong.

We cut trees for concrete buildings. We cut trees and we don’t even replace it. Woe to those who did not give respect to our kalachuchi trees at the PDRRMO building.

Mother Nature has its own way of expressing her wrath. To all those involved in the “murder” of the kalachuchi trees along Mountain Province PDRRMO building, prepare for the trees’ wrath. It will always come and it will come when you least expect it. You may think you have escaped the eyes of people protecting the trees, you may feel that you are above the law, but wait for the law of Mother Nature to do its own way for you. I am afraid Mother Nature will really find its way. Remember the cliché, “God always forgive, man sometime forgives, but nature never forgives.”

I recall writing Gov. Bonifcaio Lacwasan Jr. on July 7, 2017 to stop the unreasonable cutting of the kalachuchi trees. I am grateful that he responded positively on Aug. 22, 2017, with a memorandum addressed to Atty. Edward Chumawar, Jr. to stop all the cutting of trees within the PDRRMO building.

However, some of the stubborn people defied the memorandum. They did their own selfish way. The defiance is a clear display of disobedience and disrespect to authority. The unpleasant tree cutting history is a story of a wrong understating of human development. The revenge and wrath of nature comes certainly but unexpectedly.

Here is how my letter to the governor went:

“Governor, I have two important issues to bring to your attention. I cross my fingers for urgent attention.

On July 7, 2017, I happen to pass by the PDRRMO building. I saw the kalachuchi tree stripped from its flowers and leaves. I was looking for the other trees but they were cut and gone already. I sobbed.

It pains me to witness how our mind set for development is getting tucked to simply building structures.

Bontoc obviously is being deprived of her original green and environmental friendly atmosphere. Old flowering trees are being cut down one after the other for “development.”

Development is not simply about erecting buildings. More importantly, it is looking at the integrity of the existing elements and upholding them. Furthermore, it is our ability to protect the ancient and yet living elements of our community that is; we sustain the natural beauty of the town with the old trees and other historical structures, aesthetically and historically.

These still existing old trees and remnants of the old capitol speaks not solely of aesthetics but also of sense of connection. Hence, we value them. Second, it provides a healthy atmosphere for the psyche and spirit of every person. Merely looking at the trees, especially the flowering ones, signifies refuge and solitude.

Third, our children will learn better and faster from concrete examples. The kalachuchi tree on a photo is different from the real one. We teach our children with concrete examples.

Fourth, government offices should be the first institutions to set examples on how to protect Mother Nature. Cutting ancient and beautiful trees for sheer parking purposes is a mortal sin against Mother Nature.

For whatever purpose, the cutting of the kalachuchi trees can never be justified by virtue of history, aesthetics, and sense of the environment. I wonder what the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is doing regarding these issues. I think they are playing a blind eye. They are accomplice of the grave environmental sin.

Our beloved Bontoc was once a place of natural beauty because of the flowering plants around the provincial plaza and around the Capitol building. Except for the new Indian trees at the provincial plaza, we have only few remaining old plants and trees.

I exhort, please let us protect them from human destruction.

We have the remnants of those at the side of the PDRRMO and now the office foolishly eliminated them.

By common sense, by sense of aesthetics, by sense of history, by sense of connection, and by sense of environmental principle, the cutting of the flowering plants for parking is simply unjustifiable. These plants have been long years planted to beautify our land. I am afraid the cutting of these beautiful flowering plants is a symptom of greed which PDRRMO personnel and heads are not aware. The cutting of the kalachuchi will become precedent. One day all the trees around the old capitol will be gone for parking. This I will say, “Greed has come to its truest sense.”

The kalachuchi trees didn’t impose danger. They didn’t obstruct the road because they are properly planted. The trees add life to the town and they add aesthetically. The trees connect us to the old capitol building. The trees give us nostalgic feeling when we see them. Why do we cut them?

I strongly suggest sparing the one living remnant kalachuchi from its unnatural death. I will happily volunteer to help beautify the area of the one and only left kalachuchi tree if you will.

All edifices around without the natural aesthetics are signs of regressing social environment. Putting walls and pavements around is a sign of individualism.

The umbrella trees in front of the church were supposed to be cut in 2011 to be replaced by steel shade. I strongly protested. The removal of the natural shade and be replaced with artificial and steel shade is foolishness. It is without sense of the natural. We are happy that today the trees are waving beautifully being spared from its human destruction and we enjoy the fresh air and the natural shade they provide.”

I apologize for my sad article today. God bless Mountain Province.

Reach me at or at 0905-165-3669.

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