By Rafael Palma
The giant Bitaog in Magallanes town in Agusan del Norte province, famously called the “Centennial Tree” bowed down to the ground after a century of standing; tall and proud and a witness of the passing of time this side of Earth.
But as tradition dictates, in respect and honor, we say, “long live the legend!”
Yes, legends may fall but they are not forgotten, instead, they live forever. Their branches may break, their leaves perish, their roots uprooted, but their grandeur survives in the hearts and minds of men, women and children-recipients of the nourishment and marvel they (legends) gave them.
The Bitaog is special and one of a kind. God’s supreme creation and a gift to humanity and all creatures, big and small, flying and on the ground that shelter and play its body.
It embraces all who come, like the sun and rain, never missing their obligations.
For a long time after being officially bestowed the honor as the Centennial Tree by the Philippine Centennial Commission headed by former Vice President Salvador Laurel (1999-2000), this historic tree awed local, national and foreign tourists and travelers all over the world.
This tree is a symbol and testament of the Filipinos resilience and strength in times of challenges and storms.
Let no one ever forget or take for granted the fall of the legend.
Because after the fall, the legend stands again. Every fall, you must understand, is but temporary and passing. Every tree renews itself and dance with the wind and the living again.
This is the beauty and promise of Bitaog. Let this prayer lasts.
Photo Magallanes MPS AgNor