SLU students adopt century-old paper bark tree

BAGUIO CITY — A group of college students recently embarked on a project to help preserve century-old, historically significant and endangered tree species at the Burnham Park here.

SAVING THE TREE. University students adopted this rare paper bark tree, grown only in Baguio City’s Burnham park. A tree surgery on the diseased trunk was assisted by the environment department. Photo by Lyn V. Ramo/NORDIS

Adopting the 80-year old paper bark tree along Lake Drive in Burnham park, the College of Accountancy and Commerce Ecological Society (CACES) of the Saint Louis University (SLU) allotted some P5,000 to P6,000 to help preserve the said tree.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) provided technical knowhow for the tree surgery, which took two days to perform.

Tree surgery involves the discarding of the rotten tree pulp until all the dead parts have been removed. Alkitran, a wood preservative, is then painted over the exposed trunk and later the exposed part is covered with concrete and then left to dry.

Historical, endangered, exotic

Forester Imelda Ngaloy, who assisted in the tree surgery, said the 80-year old tree is among less than 50 paper bark trees along Lake Drive in Burnham Park. She added, in the country, this species is found only in Baguio City.

“This tree was introduced by the Americans,” Ngaloy said but did not mention the country of origin of the paper bark tree. It is worth preserving because aside from being a historical tree, it is also among the world’s endangered species, she added.

According to Ngaloy, the paper bark tree is the first tree to be adopted for tree surgery. In the past, the DENR has “operated” on other trees but on government funds.

“It makes it significant because this is the first tree surgery done with the help of students,” she told Nordis in an interview.


CACES President Joanna Marie T. Ballesca said the group asked CEPMO of projects where the students could help implement. Earlier, the 500-strong student group has been into tree-planting, community service and extended some school supplies to day care, elementary and high school students of barangay Happy Hallow.

The organization also adopted the Rotunda Park near SLU and has helped build the Gawad Kalinga, a poor man’s village, in Tuba town.

Three advisers, Marc Oliver B. Castañeda, Edwin P. Baquiran and Victor B. Lamug assist CACES in its projects. They were among those who supervised the tree surgery on August 23 and 24.

Romy Doctolero, who helped in the tree surgery project said he is happy helping preserve the paper bark tree, which he said is far older than him. # Lyn V. Ramo(NorDIs)

2 Responses to “SLU students adopt century-old paper bark tree”

  1. Joanna Ballesca Says:

    Thank you mam for publishing our story. We hope that we’ve inspired others to follow our lead.

  2. aldrien galvez Says:

    wow ang ganda ng pic…bidang bida ang lokong aldrien ah…hehe…. hope that this legacy of our organization would start “that” something to lead to a healthier and greener Baguio City

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