There is eerie and somewhat creepy balete tree amidst papaya plantations near Maria Aurora village. It is some 60 – 65 m tall and some 60 adult people are needed to get their arms around this incredible tree. This is Millenium Tree – one of the largest trees in the world.

Giant banyan tree

This giant of Maria Aurora is balete tree – a kind of banyan (Ficus balete or, possibly – Ficus benjamina0. Often there is mentioned that this is the largest banyan tree in Asia. In fact, this can not be proved or disclaimed: there are many ways to measure the size of the tree, especially banyans and there certainly are many noble contenders for the title of the largest banyan tree in the world.

It is very hard to find the exact circumference or diameter of old banyan trees due to aerial roots. As the tree becomes older more and more aerial roots enclose the main trunk, one after another they grow into the older trunks and finally, it is not possible to find the middle behind the dense network of these roots.

Due to aerial roots the lower part of Maria Aurora balete looks weird: like a pile of countless aerial roots. Higher above this "heap" rise enormous, tall branches.

People actually can pass between the stems of enormous aerial roots and go INSIDE the Aurora balete tree – most likely the original stem has been lost and there has formed a large hollow. Stems rise high above the head, twisting and joining and holding the weight of the giant tree.

The tree has a diameter of some 12 – 15 m. This is more than any other tree in the world (Árbol del Tule in Mexico has a diameter of 11.62 m) but it can be disputed whether Millenium Tree has the stoutest trunk in the world because it consists of numerous smaller aerial roots and trunks.

Balete is very tough – the 60 – 65 m tall and 60 m wide crown has survived numerous extreme typhoons.

Tree is carbon-dated to be between 400 – 600 years old.

Mystical creatures and tourists

Among the local Ilongot people the tree has got good fame – they prayed here for good hunting.

Filipino folklore is rich with ghost stories and many people believe that in Aurora Balete tree there are living gruesome supernatural beings like "kapres", "impakto" and "diwatas". Kapre is similar to a human, but two-three meters high, almost black, stinky and hairy, with enormous glowing green eyes. He likes to sit in balete tree and smoke. Impakto is a demon who takes a form of a small baby but actually is killing people. Diwatas are noble creatures – these spirits guard the forest and trees.

In earlier times here was established Balete Park, with entrance fee and with people looking after the tree. It was not allowed to climb the balete. Unfortunately, nowadays it looks much worse: the soil around the tree has been trampled and numerous tourists are climbing this wonder of nature, countless names have been engraved in the bark of the tree. The overall health of the tree is worsening.

Balete tree in Maria Aurora is included in the following list:

10 stoutest trees of the world
10 stoutest tree species of the world


  1. Michael Sinjin A. Pineda, Largest Balete Tree in Asia, Maria Aurora, Libotero. Story with many pictures. Accessed on September 16, 2010.

Balete tree in Maria Aurora on the map

Travelers' Map is loading...
If you see this after your page is loaded completely, leafletJS files are missing.
Location, GPS coordinates:15.7698 N 121.4770 E
Values:Biology, Visual
Rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Where is located?Asia, Philippines, Luzon, Aurora Province, Quirino barangay, some 3.5 km from Maria Aurora village, in Balete Park
Species:Balete (Ficus balete Merr.) or weeping fig (Ficus benjamina L.)
Height:65 m (?)
Diameter:Around 12 – 15 m
Crown diameter:Roughly 60 m
Alternate names:Millenium Tree, Centennial Tree

Video of Balete tree in Maria Aurora

aodhfinn, October 2013

Landmarks of Philippines

Chocolate Hills, Philippines
Chocolate Hills / Long Henson, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
The charming Philippines in many respects represent the true Southern tropical paradise. This archipelago consists of thousands of diverse islands and the wealth and diversity of the countless landmarks here is hard to grasp.


Árbol del Tule, another aspect of trunk which shows that the trunk has elongated form
Árbol del Tule, another aspect of trunk which shows that the trunk has elongated form / cezzie901, / CC BY 2.0
Category includes some of the most impressive and interesting separate trees of the the world. Total number of tree species in the world still is a wild guess – may be 10,000 and may be 100,000 but most likely somewhere in between. Every month there are reported new tree species from the whole world, including the Western Europe.

Recommended books

Giant Trees of Western America and the World

As a child growing up in the Fraser Valley, Al Carder was awed by the ancient Douglas fir forest and spent hours staring up at trees that commonly stood over 300 feet high. Sixty years later, after retiring from his career as a plant biologist, he set out to find the trees that had transfixed him in his youth. Discovering many of them felled by storms or loggers, he determined to document those that were left before they could vanish from our memories as well as from our landscapes.

Remarkable Trees of the World

The publication of Remarkable Trees of the World took American audiences by storm. Thomas Pakenham embarks on a five-year odyssey to most of the temperate and tropical regions of the world to photograph sixty trees of remarkable personality and presence: Dwarfs, Giants, Monuments, and Aliens; the lovingly tended midgets of Japan; the enormous strangler from India; and the 4,700-year “Old Methusalehs.”

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

This is so cool! I want to visit this tree someday. There is a really creepy myth I read at this website https://www.insights-philippines.de/baletetree.htm

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x