UMAGANG KILABOT: 'Kapre' lives in balete tree

Posted at Oct 30 2014 12:41 PM | Updated as of Oct 30 2014 08:41 PM

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MANILA—Elemental creatures such as kapre and lamang lupa are believed to exist in the biggest balete tree (strangler fig) in Asia located in Aurora province, Philippines.

Dubbed “Millenium Tree,” it is 60 meters high—almost as tall as a five-storey building—and 50 meters wide.

It is estimated to be 600 years old.

Maria Aurora town councilor Onassis Ronquilo owns the lot where the balete stands. He said the tree has always been mysterious.

He said different whistling sounds could be heard from the tree at night. Travelers passing by the tree would suddenly forget their way home, he said.

Ronquillo’s family has repeatedly planned to burn the tree down, but none of their plans have materialized.

In 1982, however, they had the land around the tree flattened by a bulldozer.

The bulldozer driver accidentally hit one of the tree’s largest roots. Later, the hand that he used to drive the bulldozer swelled.

He went to various hospitals, but only an albularyo (faith healer) was able to heal him.

The said albularyo advised him to offer food to the tree.

Residents have different speculations as to who lives in the tree. Some say a kapre and a handful of dwende (elves) live in the tree, while other say a snake watches over it.

Because tourists frequent the site of the tree, it was turned into a theme park in 2010. Tourists have their photos taken near the tree only to see an unknown figure show up in the photo.

In one case, a man had a solo picture taken beside the tree. When he saw the photo, he saw a lady with only half a body beside him.

When Umagang Kay Ganda staff recorded a video, they saw a red light coming from nowhere on the recording.

Elders in the area remind visitors of the site to pay respect to the balete tree whenever they pass by.—Umagang Kay Ganda, 30 October 2014