Bonsai in Asia Guide Book


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Bonsai in the Philippines

MABUHAY - Welcome to Bonsai in the Philippines

The Philippines has a small but growing number of Bonsai enthusiasts, some of whome have been producing some excelent Bonsai.

Most of the trees used for Bonsai in the Philippines are local trees like Ficus, Kalyos (Streblus Asper),Orange Jasmin, (Muraya Paniculata), Philippine tea, Bantigue (Pemphis Acidula), Lantana, Tamarind, Camagong (Philippine Ebony), Camachile (Pithicolodium Dulce), Bignay, Yangya, Pyracantha, Bouganvilla, Lemoncito. Many of these are collected trees and trained as Bonsai

Although Bonsai (as we know it today) is a fairly new hobby in the Philippines there is some evidence to show that Chinese immigrants were growing Balete trees (a local term referring to ficus) onto corals in the 15th century. They would insert the roots into the coral's crevices and place them onto water basins until the roots clasped the host corals. The arrangement were small enough to be carried by one hand. The tree would in a certain time of the year be leafless as if dead, but only to shoot out new buds that symbolized the Resurrection of Easter Sunday. Since trade between the Philippines and China had been ongoing centuries before the Spaniards came, it would not be far-fetched to think that this art was already flourishing even before then. (Relacion de las Islas Pilipinas by Fr. Pedro Chirino, S.J. 1604)

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