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Centennial Tree

Centennial Tree

The oldest documented tree in the province of La Union lives in the cool and quiet premises of Carcarmay Elementary School, Barangay Carcramay, Bacnotan.

Formed like a giant umbrella from a distance and spread against the noonday sun, the "centennial tree" proudly stands over 50 feet tall from the ground level to tip of crown and casts a peripheral shade of about 100 feet in diameter covering the entire free area reserved for the school's stage, volleyball court and play ground facilities. The century-old mother tree was planted at the time of Rizal's martyrdom in 1896 by the late Inocencio Mendioro when he was a grade-three pupil in the original cogon-roofed primary school.

The tree was discovered a few years back by Congressman Victor Ortega of the first district of La Union in one of his graduation engagements as guest of honor and speaker. He described the tree as the "perfect combination of age and beauty" that the American poet Joyce Kilmer wrote in his immortal poem "TREES". According to the Carcarmay folks, the tree served as temporary camping headquarters during the Japanese occupation when the soldiers waged their mapping operations against transient guerillas in the area.

Many outsiders who were furniture makers had offered to buy and cut down the tree for a good sum. But the village folks resisted every offer "for all its priceless comfort, beauty and the memories it holds for Carcarmay."

Today the environmental landmark is also referred to by the school children as the "Kilmer-Ortega" tree of the Centennial Movement of La Union in honor of Joyce Kilmer and the Congressman who discovered its age, beauty and utility as the "Centennial Tree" of the province of La Union.


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