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Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Ang bansot na halamang makahoy
The art of miniaturizing trees, Philippine context.

At first glance, bansoy manifests similarities with bonsai but it is only up to their manner of making and patterns of growth.

Defining Bansoy as an art of miniaturizing trees in the Philippine context was the product of Jerusalino V. Araos’ vision. As a sculptor, writer, teacher and gardener, his attraction to the Japanese bonsai motivated him to create together with his children Jemil, Liwa, Mira and Julian, a similar obra that reflect the Philippines’ nature, culture and tradition.

Bonsai is an art of miniaturized trees. Bonsai was derived from the word bon, which means shallow pot, and sai, which means tree. It became a phenomenon not only in Asia but also throughout the world. This was represented as a fusion of strong ancient beliefs with the eastern philosophies regarding the harmony between man, soul and nature.

As the art reached other places it was redefined according to the priniciple or philosophy of a country. In the Philippines, bonsai’s counterpart is bansoy.

Bansoy follows a principle that shaped itself into something far different from bonsai. It also espouses a design philosophy that can only be identified as Filipino.

“Bansoy is uniquely beautiful. This artfully propagated and developed plant is so unique that its appreciation needs a special eye, a special mind and a special attitude,” Araos said.
Plant species used in Bansoy coincides with the Philippine climate like the Salungo, Red Balete or Ficus sp., Bignay Pugo or Antidesma pentadrum, Kamuning or Murraya pani-culata, Molave or Vitex sp., Bougainvillea or Bougainvillea sp., Bitongol which is a type of cherry, Kamuning Binangonan, Balete, Mulawin Pusa, Tahid Labuyo, Bignay Kalabaw or Antidesma bunius and Kalios or Streblus asper.

Bansoy produces rainbow branching which is normal in deep-rooted trees of tropical countries. In rainbow branching, bansoy branches grow in a circular shape allowing its viewers to see its full-view.