Monday, September 22, 2014

Dita, the tallest tree in Manila, a living sentry that reminds us, "Only God can make a tree."

Dedicated to Dr Romualdo M del Rosario, former supervising scientist of the UST Botanical Garden, and professor, UST Graduate School.  The indefatigable foremost Filipino ethnobotanist continues to teach at De La Salle University (DLSU-D). 
Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Dita (Alstonia scholaris) the biggest member of the Apocynaceae family stands overlooking the sprawling UST campus and its environs.

Older than most structures except the main building, it rises with the tower cross, sharing the lofty height  from afar, on the front and back.  

Scarred by war and by fire it is a veteran of events in history, witness to the university's many activities and celebrations, . 

While graduates pass through the Arch of the Centuries, this tree stands firm and proud; it is a sentry, a guardian, and a symbol, too.  

Its crown is the biggest umbrella on the campus, filtering the sun, the dust and rain; it captures carbon and gives off oxygen in turn.   

It captures the fog into morning mist, and makes a rainbow with the showers, and cushions the sun set into gentle breeze and subdued gray.   

It does not respond to autumn even if other trees lose their leaves and gain a new crown; instead it retains its canopy green. 

It is home of insects and reptiles, foothold of orchids, ferns and lianas, abode of birds that celebrate life with their young and beautiful songs.   

And when it is winter in cold countries, it is time for its pods to mature, popping out myriads of tiny lints like parachutes that float in the air. 

And children run after them like snowflakes, and wish like wishing upon a star -  and strangely lints daintily fall into their palms.  

The dita wakes up earlier than anyone else on the campus, sings with the carillon, and joins the whispers and laughter on the campus.

The day ends just like any day, the campus sleeps - and there stands a silhouette that reminds us, "Only God can make a tree." ~   

NOTE: This tree and its twin are the hallmark of the UST Botanical Garden which Dr Del Rosario managed for three decades. 


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