History and Culture
The Untold Tales of the Giant Balete Tree in Talikud Island
Ida Damo | Nov 02, 2015
There is more to Talikud Island than its long stretches of white sand beaches. It is the source of many horrific stories that locals have believed in from generation to generation. Take the giant Balete tree that stands just along the road in the interior of the island.
According to urban legend, the people from the community would make a noise barrage surrounding the tree to drive away the bakunawa. Folk tales say that the bakunawa or dragon monster has stolen the sun or moon. It is believed that the giant balete tree is the bakunawa.
The second story revolves around a boy Jolito who climbed the tree and threw stones at people while playing pranks on them. One day, while climbing the tree, he stumbled upon its opening and entered a shimmering beautiful palace.
Not noticing that he's been missing for a long time, his relatives started to worry.
The child's family sought the help of Manong Ete, an albularyo. The albularyo told them that Jolito was being kept by the spirits who are guarding the trees.
They then offered a white chicken to appease the spirits.
At noon the next day, Jolito was found sleeping at the foot of the tree. When they woke him up, he then told them about the palace of the encantos.
It is believed that the palace doors open and close every noon time.
Until now, people still steer clear of the tree because they fear that these spirits would harm them. Until now, children play around the area and swing from the branches of the giant tree.
While taking photos of the tree, I commented that it is good that they trim the roots. They responded that only a carabao dares to trim the roots by eating its root ends.
Until now, no one has measured the tree’s girth and height and the people just estimate the age of the tree based on their ages. All that they know is that the giant balete tree should be treated with care.