Balete Tree & Ba’alte the Dwarf

Balete Tree

     It has been said that Ba’alte the Dwarf planted a sapling to remind him of his home. It’s believed that he even brought up water from his home down under to keep it alive. He built a vast water system underneath that not only connected the whole island but also provided a steady supply of water to the trees planted by Tugga Sam. He traveled underneath through this water system to avoid being captured by his enemies and when he is visiting different parts of the island. He uses caves, springs and waterfalls as his entry/exit points. In fact, one of his favorite creations and maybe his masterpiece is the three-tier cascading waterfalls that has so much water that the locals used to call it “Gabuhagay”. Gabuhagay in Cebuano means “overflowing”. In the hot summer days, he will be seen here with his friends swimming and simply enjoying the waterfalls. And if you happen to visit Siquijor, there is a popular playground for everyone to visit and that is called Cambugahay Falls.

       Ba’alte the Dwarf provided water to the people in the area where they can wash their clothes, bath their farming animals, and kids to swim and play. He was very friendly and kind to them. The early settlers in the area called it the “Ba’alte’s tree”  “Kahoy ni Ba-alte” in Cebuano after its owner Ba’alte the Dwarf.

Years later, the early settlers rarely see Ba’alte the Dwarf except during full moon when he comes with his friend. According to the legend, there were sightings of a dwarf-like figure and an older man in a robe that sometimes would appear coming out from bottom of the tree and would then climb on top of the branch to relax. Today, nobody knows exactly where the is tree located, but in the island of Siquijor, there is only one tree that fits the description of “Ba’alte’s tree”  and this is the 400-year-old Balete tree in Campalanas, Lazi, Siquijor.

Leave a Reply