THE QUEST: KANDONG TREE (Last Part)

A 63-year old caretaker of the De Lara’s Farm in Solsona, Ilocos Norte, Mr. Felino Bagaoiran, upon seeing the sample branch taken from the Kandong tree, said, “Daytay sa ketdi Agandong deta!” (I think that’s the Agandong tree!). Inching closer to the species, he blurted out, “Wen, la ketdi!” (Yes, it is an Agandong tree!)

The incumbent barangay captain of Maan-anteng, Solsona, Ilocos Norte, accompanied the researchers in searching of a sample Kandong tree. At the foot of the mountain – a  boundary mountain of Kalinga and Ilocos Norte – he rushed to a tree near a source of water. After scrutinizing its stature, leaves, bark and trunk, he laughingly said,  “Adtoyen tay birbirokenyo a Kandong tree!” (This is the Kandong tree you’re looking for!)

“Adu pay ti kasta sadiay dam. Padasentayo ti mapan kumita”. (I’ve seen some trees like that near the dam. Let’s go and see!)

After thirty minutes had lapsed, the group reached the dam. Mr. Domingo started searching and found sample mature trees along the rocky part of the river. Pictures were taken for proper identification and for posterity. 

Sample specimens were taken at the municipal building of Solsona, Ilocos Norte. Mayor Bertha Luz De Lara confirmed that in their place, that tree is locally known as Agandong.

Forester Estrella Sacro of PENRO Ilocos Norte who hails from Solsona, I. Norte and our main guide during the search made also the same confirmation. With the branches, leaves, among other characteristics of the said plant, no doubt it is the same Kandong tree locally known in Vintar, Ilocos Norte.

Forester Artemio Dumlao, Sr. of the same PENRO issued a certification attesting the veracity of the claim.

With a feedback from Mr. Efren Orpilla, a clerk of UNP Candon, the researchers went to Langlangca II, Candon, Ilocos Sur and found trees of similar species brought home (to UNP Candon campus) along the banks of the Banayoyo-Candon River.

A sample bark and branch was taken and presented to Mrs. Aniceta Calpito Orpilla, 78-year old widow. “Kasla Urandong.” (Seems like an Urandong).

Mr. Eduardo Orpilla, another son confirmed the revelation of the old woman. He added that there was even one  bigger Urandong tree cut recently by one Danny and made the tree as truss of his house.

As revealed by the same old woman, and as narrated by her Apong lakay, Sinforoso Ganding, the fabled Kandong tree which was felled by the local folks upon the order of the Spanish missionaries was used in the construction of the local church.

Finally, with the findings in Langlangca II, Candon, Ilocos Sur, forester Angelito Gagto, who personally saw the Kandong tree in Vintar Ilocos Norte during his brief stint there was asked to confirm or deny the sample species found in Langlangca. With the book, “Agroforestry Species for the Philippines” he gave to the researchers, there he categorically and openly certified the truth behind the tree and their similarity – that the Agandong in Solsona, Ilocos Norte and the Urandong in Langlangca, Candon Ilocos Sur is the same Kandong tree found in Vintar, Ilocos Norte.

Findings and Conclusions

1. The fabled Kandong tree is existing, which was identified by an old man in Vintar, Ilocos Norte to Mr. Angelito Gagto, a forester and a resident of Candon City. Therefore, the legend may be true in some form and substance.

2. This Kandong tree has different local names, reasons which could be attributed to language diversity.

3. Since Kandong Trees are widely classified as fuelwood, and with little economic value ( not a good type of timber), local folks might have utilized them as such in their barns (pugon). Others used them as posts, trusses and the like.

4. Candon is still lucky to save some remaining Kandong tree species in Langlangca II. Others places if searched, could yield the same result.

5. The festival of Candon falls on the month of March, the same time this Kandong tree bears fruit. The legend may be right after all where festivities did happen to show thanksgiving and unity among the early settlers.

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     Recommendations

1. The city government should consider the efforts of the researchers and pay importance to their findings.

2. Make the Kandong tree as a city emblem. Schools should be made outlets to this pronouncement.

3. The city seal should be changed. Incorporate the Kandong tree and other identities on the logo.

4. The City Council should adopt the Kandong Tree as the official tree of Candon and have it decreed that such a tree be planted at the heart of the plaza.

           EPILOGUE

 A letter dated November 29, 2002 signed by Dr. Andres T. Malinnag, Jr. and Dr. Isabel A. Astrero informed the Hon. City Mayor Grace G. Singson of their desire to present their discovery towards the existence of a “Kandong Tree” within the City of Candon.

Last December 02, 2002, on or about 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. the UNP Candon Research Team, together with the Hon. City Mayor and SP Maximo A. Astrero assisted by their staff proceeded to Brgy. Langlangca I, Candon City to show the existence of the aforementioned tree.  The group went down to the bank of Candon-Banayoyo river where the tree is located.  There the Kandong Tree stood magically.  It is a big tree, a good shade tree.  A sample of the leaves, and a branch were shown to the Mayor.  Other similar species were spotted in that same barangay.

This concludes everything – the fabled Kandong Tree is re-discovered in its native place, Candon City and the grandeur of its lost glory is restored.#