Philippines Report

Iloilo Tree Returns to Iloilo

Iloilo tree

Senator Franklin M. Drilon and City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas lead the planting of Iloilo Tree saplings at the Capitol Grounds.

A native tree named Iloilo (Aglaia argentea) was finally planted at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol grounds. Two saplings were planted by Senator Franklin Drilon, City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas and representatives from the Iloilo Provincial Government this morning August 17, 2019, at 7:30 am. The Iloilo Tree saplings were donated by mangrove expert Dr. Jurgene Primavera and Pinto Museum Alboretum curator Ronald Achacoso.

The initial and symbolic planting of Iloilo trees on Capitol Grounds is expected to enhance the heritage awareness of the Ilonggos as native plants are an important part of our heritage.

It will also give future generations a living, physical connection to their ancestors who lived with these trees at a time when forests still covered a great part of the Philippines. With proper care, the Provincial Capitol saplings will grow to be mother trees that will provide future seeds for the increasing number of native trees advocates in the city and province.

The Iloilo Tree is the only native tree species named after a place. Nomenclature of a place follows the name of plants popular in the area like Tigbauan is taken from “Tigbao”, a type of tall grass plant. But Iloilo tree is named after the place where it was first documented by scientists.

Iloilo Tree used to grace the soils of Iloilo but sadly there is no recent documented sightings of the tree. Native tree advocates are bringing back the Iloilo tree for the Ilonggos to appreciate our rich natural heritage and history.

The trees planted today are only the 4th and the 5th tree of the Iloilo Tree. The first Iloilo Tree was planted in a Biodiversity Garden in Oton, Iloilo in October 2018.

The second is in Ateneo de Iloilo and the 3rd in Western Visayas Medical Center. Dr. Primavera, one of the advocates of native trees, hopes to see more native trees being planted in Iloilo.

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