The death of a tree
By Estanislao Albano, Jr.
Note: This is a piece I wrote for my column in the Matagoan Post of the Tabuk City LGU back in July when I noticed the demise of the banaba tree at the corner of Mayangao and Quezon Streets in Tabuk City. I will share my documentation of the trees planted in the urban center here in a later issue.
Around a month ago, I was aghast when, while passing the intersection of Mayangao Street and Quezon Street, I noticed for the first time that the crown of the banaba tree planted at the corner in front of the Sercon Pharmacy was gone completely. I had seen that tree with its leaves and small branches gone to give clearance for the bundle of electric wire running through its branches and it was just normal because there was always a sign of life like a branch here and there escaping the cutting tools of the KAELCO maintenance men. This time, however, the tree has been sawn down to the base of the main branches and it looked dead.
When I went near the tree, my worst fears were confirmed. It was in advance state of drying up as the bark was cracking up in some parts. The only sign of life was in one or two small branches burgeoning from the base of the trunk. Sercon Pharmacy proprietor Bob Rosales did not give much details of the incident except say that the tree soon died after the most recent cutting of the branches.
So just like that, the sole natural break in the facades of business establishments of the western side of Mayangao Street from the corner to Daguitan Street and likewise to Burgos Street to the west is gone forever. Apart from the blessings it has provided the immediate environment such as the shade and coolness, landscaping because of its awesome colorful flowers and the the oxygen, the loss is compounded by the fact that trees take time to come into being. When we interviewed Sercon Pharmacy proprietor Bob Rosales for the feature on the
trees in the urban center of the city in the Tabuk Life back in 2013, he told us that the banaba was planted by his brother Nelson back in 1971.
Rosales and his family will sorely miss the banaba not only for what the tree had given to everyone that comes near it without discrimination but because it afforded the Sercon Pharmacy the reputation of being the only pharmacy perhaps in the country or even the world which “gives away” free diuretics. Rosales said that people get leaves and even a piece of the bark to boil and drink when they have a hard time urinating. The banaba is classified as an ornamental and medicinal plant because of the many alleged medicinal properties.
Having said that, we repeat the call made in the editorial of the 2013 third quarter issue of the Tabuk Life for the enactment of an ordinance providing special protection to trees in the city center by virtue of their role in mitigating pollution as well as providing much needed shade and greenery to weary city souls.
Alongside the legislation, there should also be an urban greening program to maintain the current tree population of the city center and also to increase it to the maximum the available open space would allow. Needless to say, there are still a lot public and private spaces in the city center which could accommodate trees.**