Rare tropical tree
This enormous tree is attracting the attention of travelers for many years. Coconut palms next to it look almost as low as grass. It seems that this toog tree still remembers the dense jungle of Mindanao around it.
Rosewood, unfortunately, is disappearing from the Philippines – its wood is very hard, valuable and well usable for construction, paper making, plywood. It bears also edible fruits: there is a legend that the fruits are produced only after the tree is struck by lightning. Often the remaining rosewood trees in Mindanao are towering high above other trees.
The measurements of this tree have caused some misunderstandings, largely exaggerating the height of the tree and putting it in the league of the world’s tallest trees. Thus, in 1980 the Alegria Toog was measured by the Reservation and Conservation Foundation of the Philippines and then its announced height was 87.8 m (288 feet).
In autumn 2010 the people of Alegria decided to organize an extravagant event – to have the highest Christmas tree in the Philippines. In order to record this achievement, there was needed exact measurement. Manobo man named Gil Andipa climbed the tree and it was announced that the measured height of the tree is 96.9 m (1). There is a possibility that the decoration on the top of the tree was included in its height.
Local Manobo people believe in spirits of this tree and with a special tradition asked for a permit to use it as Christmas tree.
With a help of skilled tree climbers the tree was adorned with 3,750 bulbs. Unfortunately, the rain did damage – part of bulbs blew out. But we all know: the most beautiful part of the festivity is the process of decorating the Christmas tree!
Christmas event turned the attention of local people to this tree.
Protection of the tree
The tree was endangered in 2019: the Department of Environment and Natural Resources marked it for cutting to avoid the potential danger to the motorists. The tree grows at the road and it is starting to lean because of the decay in its lower trunk. Nevertheless, in September 2019 the local officials and environmental authorities agreed that this giant tree needs to be saved and protected. It is in a danger to collapse but environmental enthusiasts agree that something needs to be done to prevent it, e.g. added support to the leaning giant (2).
- Jojie Alcantara, Majestic Toog: Philippine’s Tallest Living Christmas Tree, PBase. Story with many pictures! Accessed on September 17, 2010.
- Chris Panganiban, PH’s oldest, tallest tree spared from cutting, Inquirer.net. Published in September 14, 2019. Accessed on December 4, 2019.
Barangay Alegria Toog on the map
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|Location, GPS coordinates:||8.5040 N 125.9892 E (possible mistake up to 1 km)|
|Rating:||(2.5 / 5)|
|Where is located?||Asia, Philippines, Mindanao, Agusan del Sur, Alegria, eastern outskirts of San Francisco town, next to national highway|
|Species:||Philippine rosewood (Petersianthus quadrialatus Merr.)|
|Diameter:||3.66 m at the base|
Video of Barangay Alegria Toog
pinoy_droner, August 2018
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.
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.”