LA UNION CENTENNIAL TREE (ALSO KNOWN AS CARCARMAY ACACIA TREE; VICTOR ORTEGA TREE)

LA UNION CENTENNIAL TREE (ALSO KNOWN AS CARCARMAY ACACIA TREE; VICTOR ORTEGA TREE)
Location: Carcarmay, Bacnotan, La Union, Philippines
Major Jump-Off Areas: Poblacion, Bacnotan, La Union and Bitalag Junction, Bitalag, Bacnotan, La Union.
How to Get There:
·         From Poblacion, Bacnotan, La Union. There are three options:
ü  Hire a tricycle directly to Carcarmay Elementary School. Tricycle hire is Php80-100; or
ü  Ballogo route: take a PUJ bound for Paraoir or Darigayos. Drop at Ballogo Junction. Take a tricycle to Carcarmay Elementary School; or
ü  Bitalag route: take a north-bound mini-bus (Vigan, Laoag, or Abra). Drop at Bitalag Junction and take a tricycle to Carcarmay Elementary School.
·         From San Fernando City, La Union. There are two options:
ü  Take a north-bound minibus or PUJ bound to Bacnotan or Luna. Drop at Bitalag Junction and take tricycle to Carcarmay Elementary School; or
ü  Take a PUJ bound for Paraoir or Darigayos. Drop at Ballogo Junction. Take a tricycle to Carcarmay Elementary School.
·         Bus from Manila or Baguio City bound to Laoag, Vigan, or Abra or vice versa.
ü  Drop at Poblacion, Bacnotan or San Fernando City Plaza and take any of the above schemes; or
ü  Drop at Bitalag Junction and take a tricycle to Carcarmay Elementary School.
Description
A silent witness of peace, war, and development, the La Union Centennial Tree in Barangay Carcarmay, Bacnotan, La Union is continually adding up years in its existence. With a trunk of about 8 meters, it easily gives shade to a very wide area of the Carcarmay Elementary School where it has rooted.
The tree’s age’s traceability and its mute part in the locality’s history is highly notable. In 1896, the late Innocencio Mendioro, a Grade 3 pupil of the then nipa hut primary school, planted this acacia tree (Rudio, 2014a). Interestingly, this is the age of Dr. Jose Rizal’s execution. During the World War II, the shade of the Centennial Tree had been a sanctuary of the Japanese soldiers and their Filipino friends from the heat of the day. In time of peace decades later, one of these Japanese soldiers even used this as a marker in locating their former base (Rudio, 2014b). Rudio also cited that locals even have belief that treasures could be buried beneath its ground. In 2013, the caring and protection of the La Union Centennial Tree was officially transferred to Carcarmay Elementary School.
The La Union Centennial Tree was proclaimed as one of the 13 other Philippine Centennial Tree under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order No. 98-25 on 03 June 1998. This AO also proclaims these centennial trees as Protected Trees. This also mandates a multi-sectoral effort in protecting these trees and the provision of corresponding penalties and for damage or injury to the tree (Rudio, 2014a).
Reminders:
·         The school where it is located is open for tourists even during weekends and holidays. It highly advisable though to go there outside class hours to avoid disturbance and to ask permission from the locals or school teachers.
·         As the tree serves as shade to the program and activity ground of the school, please maintain cleanliness and moving any equipment, furniture or things within the premises is highly discouraged.
·         Do not climb the tree.
Gallery
You need to go through the entrance of the Carcarmay Elementary School. It highly advisable though to go there outside class hours to avoid disturbance and to ask permission from the locals or school teachers.
The marker is also pursuant to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order No. 98-25 dated 03 June 1998.
This tree served as a shade under the sun by pupils, soldiers, and community locals alike in parts of the Spanish colonization, Japanese and American invasion.
The circumference of the trunk is about 8 meters.
Branches branching out! Well, this is how it covers more than a quarter of the school premises.
REFERENCE LIST:
Rudio, O. O. (2014a). News Item: MINDA Park Blessing & Turnover Ceremonies Held. Retrieved on March 15, 2016 from Probinsial Gobierno ti La Union Opisyal nga Website: http://www.launion.gov.ph/iloko/print.php?newsnews.416.
Rudio, O. O. (2014b). La Union Centennial Tree. Retrieved on March 15, 2016 from Provincial Government of La Union Official Website: http://www.launion.gov.ph/page.php?165.

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