50 Palawan Cherry Trees or locally known as Balayong, the Philippines version of Japan’s famous Sakura, are planted outside the walls of Intramuros to serve as attraction in the future. The said project is called “Manila Sakura Project” led by JCI Manila aiming to beautify the historical place.
The area where it was planted was in the space between Hole 8 & 9 inside the Golf Course of the walled City. The perfect spot to view it is from Revellin Del Parian opposite Lyceum of the Philippines building. Project Chairman Julian Dayrit said that the inspiration behind the project is his personal travel to Japan during blooming season to see the Sakura Trees.
“Kasi mga about 2 to 3 years ago, nag travel ako sa Japan specifically to see the cherry blossoms, so parang ang ganda naman nito. So ang question ay wala ba tayong similar na ganyang puno na may resemblance sa Sakura ng Japan? Kasi pinupuntahan yun ng mga tourists. Nag research ako, nag-Google. upon reading sa internet nahanap ko na may resemblance ng Sakura is the Palawan Cherry, or ‘yong Balayong ang tawag sa Palawan,” Dayrit said.
The planted Balayong Tree that stands 6 to 10 feet high was supplied from Batangas nursery that the organization commissioned as per the recommendation of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The planting event happened last October 22. Aside from the said endemic tree, they also planted 25 trees of Banaba and 25 Balitbitan trees.
“Itong early January, nag travel ako with the family sa may Coron, Palawan at may nakita akong Balayong sa may Calauit, ‘yong may mga giraffe. So parang may na-mention na may puno doon na namumulaklak ng kulay pink, so parang ito na ‘yong sign. Sabi ko sa group ko sa JCI Manila, gawin natin to, mag gawa tayo ng tropical sakura version,” Dayrit added.
According to Dayrit, it will take 2 to 3 years before people will notice and appreciate what they planted in Intramuros. For sure, if the feedback is good, they will plant more Balayong trees in some open spaces in Manila in the coming years.
The Manila Sakura Project is part of the Clean Up Week Manila campaign of JCI Manila chapter – a member of Junior Chamber International, an international leadership organization for young leaders and professionals.