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Mabalacat City plants 100 Balacat trees

MABALACAT CITY — The City Government here held a Balacat tree planting activity on March 1 at the Hauslands Subdivision in Brgy. Mabiga, to honor its roots and give importance to its name’s origin.

Mayor Crisostomo Garbo, along with Vice Mayor Gerald Aquino, city councilors Rox Peña and Marjorie Morales-Sambo, city administrator Franco Alejo Madlangbayan, City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Engr. Jesusa Santiago, local government employees, Mabalacat City College students, Hausland group and other stakeholders gathered to participate in this historic activity.

“This is an important step for the city not only to honor its origin but to also raise more awareness on the great contribution of the Balacat trees in the overall identity of the city, especially among the young Mabalaquenians,” Garbo said.

Mahalaga na malaman at alalahanin ang ating pinagmulan, ang ating kasaysayan, kultura, tradisyon, at iba pang mahalagang kuwento ng Mabalacat,” he then furthered. 

The Mayor also reiterated the main reason why the local government opted to change the name of the city’s grand festival from Caragan to Balacat Festival.

“Nararapat lamang na gawing Balacat ang itawag sa ating kapistahan upang maiwasan na makalimutan muli ito ng panahon. Magmula ngayon hanggang sa mga susunod na taon, ang festival ng Mabalacat ay festival ng bawat Mabalaquenian, hindi lamang ng iilan,” he added.

In addition, Garbo urged his fellow Mabalaquenians to help in the protection and preservation of its rich history, culture and heritage as it is part of their responsibilities to their city.

The local chief further described Balacat as more than just a tree, quoting the words of Robert Tantingco, a renowned professor and historian from Holy Angel University who is also a proud Mabalaquenian.

“It [Balacat] serves as a heart and soul of its constituents, the symbol of our fortitude, stability and power to rise above calamity, challenges, and all the things that keep us from reaching our full potential as a people.”

James Darwin Lagman, Director of Center for Community Research and Innovation, MCC, also shared a brief history of the tree in Mabalacat City.

Balacat (Ziziphus talanai) is a tall with thorny trunk tree that is indigenous in the Philippines and Central Luzon. The term ‘Mabalacat’ which directly translates to ‘full of Balacat,’ was coined by its first residents, since the city was initially abundant with Balacat Trees. 

Maricel Solidman of Hausland Development Corporation, on the other hand, pledged her support for the cause of the occasion while Sonny Boy V. Miclat, City ENRO staff demonstrated the proper tree planting techniques to the participants.

The Balacat Tree Planting activity is among the highlights of the week-long festivities in the city. A total of 100 saplings were planted in the said venue.