digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Balete tree from the forest of the Philippines

Balete tree (also known as balite or baliti) are several species of the trees in the Philippines from the genus Ficus that are broadly referred to as balete in the local language. A number of these are known as strangler figs wherein they start upon other trees, later entrapping them entirely and finally killing the host tree. Also called hemiepiphytes, initially, they start as epiphytes or air plants and grow several hanging roots that eventually touch the ground and from then on, encircling and suffocating the host tree. Some of the baletes produce an inferior quality of rubber. The India rubber plant, F. elastica were earlier cultivated to some extent for rubber. Some of the species like tangisang-bayawak or Ficus variegata are large and could probably be utilized for match woods. The woods of species of Ficus are soft, light, and of inferior quality, and the trees usually have ill-formed, short boles.[1]

List of species which shares the common name of Balete[edit]

Ornamental use[edit]

Baletes are planted as graceful trees along avenues in Manila and other large cities in the Philippines, and they are also excellent as shade trees.[4] Several species of the tree are also use for bonsai making in the country.[17][18]

Baletes are used as houseplants;[19] however, it is a source of indoor household allergens which may cause respiratory allergy.[9]

Local folklore[edit]

In some areas of the country, some people believe that balete trees are dwelling places for supernatural beings like kapre or tikbalang. In some places, sorcery rituals are known performed inside the chambers formed by the tree.[20] Also among others, some superstitious folks suggest not bringing in balete as decorative plants inside a house as they allegedly invite ghosts.[9]

Balete Drive in New Manila, Quezon City, named after a gargantuan balete tree that used to stand in the middle of the street, is allegedly one of the most haunted places in the city. The tale of a white lady appears at night hailing cars that drive by have been circulated since the 1950s.[21]

Extreme examples[edit]

The “Millennium Tree” at Balete Park in Brgy. Quirino in the town of Maria Aurora in Aurora province[22]
  • A balete tree locally called "Millenium Tree" in Barangay Quirino, Maria Aurora, Aurora province in the Philippines is claimed to be the largest of its kind in Asia. It is estimated to be about 600+ years old and 60 metres (200 ft) tall with its roots about 10 metres (33 ft) to 15 metres (49 ft) in diameter. It is possible for adult people to squeeze into the center of its root network.[24]
  • A 400-year old balete tree in Barangay Campalanas in the town of Lazi, in Siquijor province is believed to be the oldest and the biggest in the province. What is also unusual about this tree is the spring that emanates from the base of the tree and flows straight into a man-made pool.[25]


  1. ^ a b c Whitford, H.N., Bureau of Forestry. "The Forests of the Philippines, Part 2", p.30. Manila Bureau of Printing, 1911.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ a b c Merritt, Melvin L., Bureau of Forestry. "The Forests of Mindoro", p.42. Manila Bureau of Printing, 1908.
  3. ^ a b c d Bureau of Insular Affairs. "Compilation of laws and regulations relating to public lands in the Philippine Islands". p.181. Washington Government Printing Office, 1908.
  4. ^ a b "Ficus benjamina Linn.". Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  5. ^ (2011-02-08). "Balete (Ficus benjamina var. nuda)". The Indi Journal. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  6. ^ "Ficus benjamina (Linn.) var. nuda (Miq.)". University of Hawaii at Manoa. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  7. ^ Bonsai King (2009-12-14). "Balete-Ficus concina". Bonsai Kingdom. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  8. ^ "Ficus concinna (Miquel)". Flora of China. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  9. ^ a b c Stuart, Godofredo. "Balete". Philippine Medicinal Plants. Retrieve on 2011-04-25.
  10. ^ Botany Department (2003-02). "Ficus forstenii". University of Hawaii at Manoa. Retrieved on 2011-04-24.
  11. ^ "Baleting-baging". Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  12. ^ "Ficus Payapa". Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry.Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  13. ^ Bonsai King (2010-02-19). "Balete-Ficus philipinenses. Bonsai Kingdom. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  14. ^ "Marabutan". Philippine Medicinal Plants. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  15. ^ "Marabutan". Bureau of Plant Industry. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  16. ^ "Balete – Scientific name: Ficus stipulosa Miq. Linn.". Filipino Herbs Healing Wonders. Retrieved on 2011-04-25.
  17. ^ Bonsai King (2010-02-04). "Bonsai Database". Bonsai Kingdom. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  18. ^ "Bonsai in the Philippines". Bonsai in Asia Guidebook. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  19. ^ Ficus Plants—How to Grow Healthy Ficus Trees
  20. ^ Brillantes, RC (2009-02-05). "The Mysterious Balete Tree". the green cloud. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  21. ^ "Myths Surrounding Balete Drive". Philippine Insider. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  22. ^ "Sightseeing - Nature Areas and Beaches". Discover Aurora. Retrieved on 2011-12-29.
  23. ^ Austria, Kelly (2010-12-07). "The Big Tree of Canlaon City". Follow My Trail. Retrieved on 2011-04-25.
  24. ^ Gorospe, Marjorie (2011-04-18). "Centuries-old balete tree attracts tourists in Aurora town". Yahoo News Philippines. Retrieved on 2011-04-25.
  25. ^ Administrator. "The Old Enchanted Tree in Siquijor". Siquijor Tour. Retrieved on 2011-04-27.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balete_tree — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
2845 videos foundNext > 

'Kapre' lives in balete tree

Elemental creatures such as kapre and lamang lupa are believed to exist in the biggest balete tree (strangler fig) in Asia located in Aurora province, Philippines.

העץ הענק בסן חוזה The Old Enchanted Balete Tree

for photos: https://plus.google.com/photos/115336173687323401973/albums/5987108126430004833?banner=pwa campalanas lazi siquijor philippines.

Baler Aurora : The Biggest Balete Tree in Asia

Its more Fun in the Philippines because The Biggest Balete Tree in Asia can be found in Baler Aurora. http://www.ilovetansyong.com/

Balete Tree at Ma. Aurora, Aurora

one of the oldest tree in asia about 600 years.

Balete tree in Maria Aurora, Aurora province

500 year old balete tree in Aurora Province.

Philippines S2 Ep30: Siquijor Island, Enchanted Balete Tree, Lazi Church, Cambugahay Falls, Travel

Travel Philippines, Season 2, Ep30. Siquijor Island province, 35km from Dumaguete, Central Visayas region. Its capital is the municipality also named Siquijor.

4thcentury balete tree at canlaon city..2013

largest balete tree in asia

600 years plus years old balete tree and with PP and friends..



Siquijor: Balete Tree and Spring

Visited the natural fish spa underneath the large balete tree in Siquijor.

2845 videos foundNext > 

81 news items

Fri, 02 Oct 2015 07:28:02 -0700

MESMERIZED about how the beach can silence my thoughts and relax my body, I'll definitely not turn my back in one of Talikud Island's treasures - La Isla Bonita Beach Resort. Talikud Island, around 15 kilometers and one-hour away from Davao City via ...


Mon, 01 Jun 2015 09:08:29 -0700

IT IS an imposing sight. The massive balete tree in Maria Aurora town, in Aurora province, is about as tall as a 15-story building and at its base is as wide as a three- or four-bedroom house. Tourists visit it by the busload, drawn by a simple ...
Mon, 30 May 2011 01:49:29 -0700

The balete tree is said to date as far back as the 1800s. It has been an imposing figure in front of the Palace state entrance where incoming and outgoing Presidents pass through. “Mr. Brown” is said to be living in the tree since the American occupation.
GMA News
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 23:44:54 -0700

All of the water from the mountain beside the main road going to Vigan went down including some boulders. A balete tree was also toppled and dragged to the road. Officials from the Department of Public Works and Highways have already started the ...

GMA News

GMA News
Sun, 02 Nov 2014 02:18:45 -0800

The story of the Balete tree is not entirely a new one but Direk Rember Gelera strived to give this story a different look. For one thing, it is set in Laguna -- one of the most mystical provinces in the country. Balete tells the story of a tree in ...
Fri, 17 Jul 2015 01:26:15 -0700

Many motorists were stranded this morning along a national highway in Santa, Ilocos Sur after a landslide occurred near Sitio Pideg in Barangay Magsaysay. A portion of the highway gave way due to the strong rains. A century-old balete tree also fell ...


Sun, 16 Aug 2015 08:43:25 -0700

Roldan said he is not afraid to climb a balete tree, a subject of numerous superstitions. He said according to the advice of the elders, he only needs to knock on the tree before climbing. “Kon naay gapuyo, naay motubag og tuktok. Kon way motubag ...
GMA News
Fri, 17 Jul 2015 02:22:08 -0700

There were no reported casualties because of the incident. Chan explained that the landslide happened amidst heavy rain in the region. All of the water from the mountain beside the main road going to Vigan went down including some boulders. A balete ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight