Literally enter a giant balete tree and find yourself entangled in its natural maze. Climb up to three meters from the base of the 65-meter tall wonder and know how it feels like to be dwarfed. It’s a fun adventure for the kids and kids at heart entering a storybook with enchanted forests and gigantic vines. The Jack and The Beanstalk experience comes to life.
A few minutes away from the town of Baler is the famous Balete Eco-Park in the nearby town of Maria Aurora Municipality. Both towns of Baler and Maria Aurora are located in Aurora Province. There’s an entrance fee of Php30 for adults and Php15 for kids.
Here you can find the Millenium Tree which is a balete tree more than 200 feet high and about 600 years old. The marker in this tourist destination describes the tree as the biggest of its kind in Asia!
The Biggest Balete Tree in Asia
600 years old
Species: balete (ficus balete merr)
Height: 65 meters
Diameter Circa: 12-15 meters
Crown Diameter: 60 meters
Alternative name: Millenium Tree
The first activity for the whole family is to climb it, but only up to three meters from the base. The management no longer allows climbing the peak to help protect and preserve the tree, especially with the growing number of tourists flocking this place regularly. (A few years ago, I was able to climb the peak when it was still allowed. Click here to read the article)
It’s a relatively easy climb since there are countless branches or vines to grab and step on. Then have a photo taken. It made us look like dwarfs.
The next activity is to go inside the tree and experience the maze! There’s a “cave entrance” fee of Php10.
Inside the chambers formed by the tree, you can let your imagination and creativity work to find your way to the other side and exit this maze.I was all excited to experiment where to turn and how I’d be able to squeeze through the large roots. The largest roots are estimated to be 10 to 15 meters in diameter. Of course, while inside, capture the moment by taking photos.
There are kiosks, waiting sheds, comfort rooms, food stalls and souvenir shops in the area.
A few years back, this place was a different story. It was bare with only the balete tree to look at. Now there are so many plants around, fences, structures.
This was how the area was in 2013:
The Balete Eco-Park tour took around 30 minutes to an hour. This included the time we spent for picture-taking, toilet breaks and window shopping. Visiting this place is a must when you tour Baler.
Address: Brgy. Quirino, Maria Aurora Municipality, Aurora Province
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