Death of an ancient tree
Two years ago on Christmas Day – on December 25, 2005 at a little past 7PM to be more precise – we heard an eerie sound which seemed like an extended sfx of a runaway train or a huge truck crashing against steel and concrete – followed with a total blackout.
I was expecting screams to follow as I sprung to search for a flashlight, but there was none except for the steady rhythm of the light rain.
Minutes later we’d learn that the huge, ancient acacia near the Leyte Normal University – one of two remaining acacia trees in the area – had crashed down upon the home of Mana Flor’s across the street from our residence.
Having learned a lesson earlier after a “contemporary” 100+ year-old acacia crashed down on a moving jeepney at the Rizal Elementary School at J. Romualdez street (which killed one passenger and injured several others), the then-city mayor Bejo Romualdez ordered the cutting down of almost all of these aging trees save for a few ones. At Leyte Normal, there were two which were spared – one along J. Luna and another at Independencia.
After more than a week of constant rain, the century-old tree could no longer bear the massive weight of its drenched leaves and branches which practically extended across the street. Moreover, the ground was likewise softened by the continuous rain it could no longer provide ample support for the tree’s root system. It simply fell on its side, in slow-mo, as if to say, “Enough, already!”
Fortunately, nobody was hurt in this incident. Except for some ruffled emotions and a house and a few small structures around it heavily damaged, life was back to normal a day later.
The huge acacia trees of the Leyte Normal University along Independencia and Juan Luna Streets have always been part of our growing-up years. I am sure many would miss its presence and the homely charm and warmth it provided to the environ when passing thru this particular area of Tacloban City.