READ: Netizen Explains Why We Should Promote More of the Philippines’ Native Trees and Flowers

We just recently shared with you an article about the first Cherry Blossom Park to bloom in Benguet, Philippines.

Sakura (1)

Cherry Blossom is widely present in the temperate places like China, Korea, Europe, USA, and Japan. It is also called Sakura, and along with the chrysanthemum, the cherry blossom is considered the National Flower of Japan, research confirms.

In the Philippines, Benguet is closest to having the same temperature as Japan. Hence, the first Sakura park is being built there. According to the news report, the 30 sakura trees planted are expected to bloom in three years. Moreover, the park will be opened to campers.

The news received mixed reactions: one were excited that soon, no need to travel to Japan, while others thought the Philippines have heaps of beautiful trees and flowers that should be promoted, too.

In fact, a Netizen by the name of Maia Lorlina Tanedo, a member of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, shared her advocacies about it. She took to Facebook her diverse knowledge about other native trees aside from Narra and Acacia. According to her, while she appreciates the Sakura park, she believes that it’s about time for the Philippine trees and flowers to shine.

Here’s her meaningful message:

The Salimbobog blossoms, or Balai Lamok, can be considered as one of the most beautiful flowers in the world.

Salimbobog blossoms

Photo credit: Maia Lorlina Tañedo

That sentence is one that I edited. It is the first line in a recent online article I read which mentions the Cherry blossoms, or “sakura”, instead of the Salimbobog. I used the name of our very own native tree instead of the more popular Japanese tree.

I think the cherry trees are beautiful, there is no denying that. That’s why hordes of tourists make their way to Japan during the flowering season of their national tree. Seeing parks and roads lined with the trees in full bloom is truly a sight to behold. The Japanese take pride in the beauty of what is theirs and worked hard to share their natural treasure with the rest of the world. And so we all enjoy it. And so we imitate it.

There really is nothing wrong with the appreciation of beauty, especially that of nature. The sad part is when we focus on what others have and remain ignorant of what WE have.

Eh ano nga ba ang meron tayo???

The Philippines is blessed with over 3500 species of trees. Three thousand five hundred. Three-five. As a Filipino, how many do you know? And how many can you identify?

While the Japanese have been working hard to promote their beautiful cherry blossoms, we Filipinos have been busy imitating them: promoting what is theirs. We should be busy promoting what is OURS. We should be inspired by their efforts, not only of the actual plant.

The recent news that a cherry blossom park will be opening soon in Benguet has generated both love and hate. Love that says “Yes! We don’t have to fly all the way to Japan to see and experience the beauty of cherry blossoms! Tipid!” Hate that shouts “Why the f*ck did they plant exotic trees when we have so many beautiful native ones?!”

I choose to see this as a golden opportunity.

It is an opportunity for people to SHARE what they know. Lord knows the current curriculum does not include teaching about native trees aside from “The National Tree of the Philippines is the narra. Bow.” I’m learning so much now as an adult, reading my friends’ posts about native trees and animals. So if you do know a lot, share what you know.

It is an opportunity for people to LEARN about how truly beautiful the Philippines is. I’ve only seen the Salimbobog this year. I’ve only began to earnestly learn about the trees around me a few years ago. It’s never too late to learn something new. After learning about the cherry blossoms, learn about a Philippine tree next.

It is an opportunity to for people to be AWARE. I cannot blame people for being all excited about the Benguet cherry blossom park. I bet they are not aware of the other native flowering trees in our own country! My friends have posted pictures of flowering banaba, dapdap, molave, dita… there are so many! Aware ka ba? Ako, hindi pa masyado. But I’m getting there.

So, with the opening of the Philippine cherry blossom park, I think it’s also time we open our eyes and see our own Filipino beauty!

Curious about this, I made a quick online research about Salimbobog flowers.

Salimbobong_Vsayas Ave02

I found out that the other name of it is “Balai Lamok” which is not actually the lamok (Tagalog term for mosquitoes) but it refers to the insects flying around the blooms. And most importantly, I’ve learned that there’s more than just Salimbobog. Hopefully, those who are knowledgeable aren’t scared to share what they know about our natural resources.

How about you: do you know of other PH’s native trees and flowers? Share in the comment section below!


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