SIQUIJOR | Lazi’s Balete Tree ~ Above & Below the Century-Old Behemoth

Monday, June 13, 2016

Balete Tree Siquijor

The minutes quickly passed as our tricycle roared off into the humid streets of Siquijor. It was already two in the afternoon, and again, we disembarked and found ourselves staring right into a gnarly body of a huge centuries old Balete tree growing at the end of a shallow swimming pool.

Balete Tree Siquijor
VINES STRAGGLING DOWN THE SIQUIJOR BALETE TREE

The tree is said to be around 400 to 500 years old, depending on who you ask, and is definitely the biggest of its kind on the island. Balete or banyan trees are usually parasitic in nature, creeping up on unsuspecting healthy trees and wrapping itself around it until the host finally dies. This leaves a hollow core in the middle where one can enter if it becomes big enough.

► SEE: SIQUJOR TRAVEL GUIDE

Balete Tree Siquijor
THE CENTURY-OLD HOST TREE APPEARS TO BE ALIVE AND WELL

This banyan tree, I assume, is still growing, its host still healthy and breathing. There might come a time when it may reach the grandiosity of Baler’s Millennium Tree, but right now it remains a far second—in my opinion, at least.

Balete Tree Siquijor Pool
CARE FOR A SWIM?

Although Siquijor’s balete tree may pale in comparison in size to its northern counterpart, what it lacks in magnitude it makes up for with its uniqueness. At the base of this huge tree is a cold spring that streams out into a pond, a likely reason that explains the tree’s longevity and size.

Siquijor Balete Tree Pool
WELL-DESIGNED POOL, A BIT SLIPPERY THOUGH

The locals have since dammed the stream with concrete and placed an overflow near the road, turning it into a public pool of sorts. The bottom remains untouched and is still composed of gravelly material and sand. The pool is actually well-designed and not haphazardly done. Interestingly enough, they also populated it with small fishes that follow visitors around, expecting to be fed with bits of bread.

Siquijor Balete Tree Pool
A LOCAL TAKING A BATH BY THE BALETE’S POOL

Our guide told us to submerge our feet in the water. We obligingly dipped our bare feet, and the fishes swarmed about, biting our skins off. Instant foot spa! The water is a bit murky due to soap use by the locals when bathing and laundering but I guess the fishes have already adapted to it as evidenced by their sheer number.

Siquijor Balete Tree Pool Fishes
SCHOOL OF FISHES UNDER SIQUIJOR’S CENTURY-OLD BALETE TREE

The weather was so hot that day. The water below the banyan was quite inviting and the fishes uber numerous that I finally gave in to temptation. I took off my shirt and pants, and with only my boxers on, swam along with the golden fishes below Lazi’s mysterious balete tree.

It seems that Siquijor’s magical tree put a spell on me and to this day, it’s still one of the most vivid memories I have of Isla del Fuego.




UPDATE 2015 ~ SIQUIJOR BALETE TREE REVISTED


Siquijor Balete Tree Souvenirs
SIQUIJOR SOUVENIRS BEING SOLD NEAR THE BALETE TREE

This last visit to Siquijor, after checking out Lugnason Falls, we specifically told our guide Dennis (0947-7898337) that we won’t be dropping by the Siquijor balete tree anymore since we’ve already seen it years back.

Siquijor Balete Tree Tourists
KOREANS TAKING SELFIES BY THE TREE

However, the road en route to Cambugahay Falls, our next target destination, passes by the renowned tree. And before we overtook it, he asked us, “last chance, don’t you really want to get down?” With the rain pattering non-stop, we thought, alright, why not, we really wanted to wait for the rain to pass before dipping at Cambugahay.

Siquijor Balete Tree
SIQUJOR’S BALETE TREE REMAINS UNCHANGED

The famous balete tree seemed unchanged after more than four years when I first saw it. It still has that creepy vines reaching all the way down to its base and its leaves seem as lush as before. The pool though has been altered somewhat, its bed is still made of pebbles and sand, but the seats surrounding it have now been installed with non-slip tiles.

Siquijor Balete Tree Gayuma
LOVE POTIONS, ANYONE?

While waiting for the rain to stop, we took shelter on the nearby stalls selling coffee, snacks, souvenirs, and, what else, but anting-anting (charms) and gayuma (love potions)! These makeshift stalls were new to me, but I actually welcome them as not only would it be a good chance for Siquijorans to make a few pesos, but it also gave us a chance to have a cup of coffee while dipping our feet into the pool for the usual fish spa! And surprise surprise, we saw some mid-sized tilapia joining in the fray too! Lol.

Siquijor Balete Tree Fish Spa
FEET SPA AT THE BALETE TREE. GOOD FOR MY FEET, LOL
Siquijor Balete Tree Fish Spa
NOT FOR THE TICKLISH

As we were enjoying our coffee right by the pool, a host of Korean tourists poured out of a van and joined our company. The tourism scene in Siquijor has definitely grown since my first time in the province. Back then, you’d hardly find any foreign tourist on the island, but now, they arrive daily by the boatfuls!

The rain finally abated as we sipped the last dregs of coffee from our cup; time to see Cambugahay Falls once more!


Recommended Siquijor Island Tour Guide:
Kuya Joam Camingao: (0927) 693-2095
Fee: Php1,000.00 inclusive transportation, port pick-up, lodging transfer and lots of stories :)


Siquijor Balete Tree
Address: Siquijor Circumferential Road, Lazi, Siquijor
Entrance Fee: By Donation
Opening Hours: Open 24 Hours, Daily
GPS Coordinates Map: 9.120970, 123.575373


• BOOK DISCOUNTED TOURS IN DUMAGUETE / SIQUIJOR •
• CHECK DISCOUNTED HOTELS IN SIQUIJOR •

You Might Also Like

10 comments

  1. I didn't know Balete trees are parasitic in nature. Maybe that's why they developed such a grim reputation. =(

    ReplyDelete
  2. creepy as ever. hihihi! Natatakot talaga ako mag picture ng mga ganyan. sa lakas ng imagination ko, kung ano ano na ang makikita ko. lol!

    ang cute ng pond. buti naisip nilang lagyan. pang tanggal din ng creepiness.

    ReplyDelete
  3. talagang nag boxer shorts lang! hahaha! did the engkantos of the balete tree put a spell on you? hehehe!

    ReplyDelete
  4. So nice! I hope people would stop doing their laundry in the pond sayang naman napo pollute!

    ReplyDelete
  5. At malakas din ang resistensya ng mga isda laban sa mga sabon ng locals, ha... Sana itigil na ang laundry at i-develop nalang sya as tourist attraction.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Tin
    I guess so Tin, besides they really look creepy at face value

    Kura
    Haha not as creepy naman, kasi nga may pool :P

    Ding
    They surely did Ding :D

    Lipstick Chopsticks, Ian
    I think okay lang naman if the locals do their laundry there (remeber this is in the province) the pool is free-flowing naman :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. aaaahhhccckkk!!!! ilang posts na ba about sa siquijor na iingit ako! will definitely go there this year! *fingers crossed*

    ReplyDelete
  8. Lakbay Philippines
    Go! Ang ganda ng Siquijor :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi. We are planning to go to Siquijor also. Is your recommended Island tour guide using tricycle? and also how is he as tour guide? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our Siquijor tour guide has a tricycle and a van, depending on the number of guests. He's very reliable and is highly recommended as a guide

      Delete