Save the tuba-tuba and bring back the akapulko, please
THE last time I was at the Botanical Garden at Marfori Heights in Davao City was on November 10, 2018. It was already pretty and there were a few enjoying their morning exercises there.
There was the centerpiece with “Life is Here Philippines” written. There was the giant Christmas lantern gift from Pampanga Province to the left and the herbal garden through a craggy gate to the left of the lantern.
When I returned during the Holy Week break, the centerpiece and the giant lantern were still there although the plants trimmed to spell the park name need some sprucing up.
There was an additional feature: the Children’s Playground complete with slides, swings, and a Jungle Gym.
Outside the playground gate were the rules for both children and parents.
When I was there on Good Friday, there was a family: Parents and two very young boys, the youngest being a toddler and the other just a little bit older, but no longer toddles. On Black Saturday, I saw another family, parents with one girl around two years old, on their way to the playground.
I have to come later in the afternoon to see how popular this facility is…
The park is serving its purpose. There was a man doing his morning exercise including planking, another man was doing a brisk walk, the family at the park later on went barefoot on the grass for some “earthing” upon seeing me walking around barefoot, and there was a group of teens doing some dance and photoshoots, aside from the family who was also having their own photoshoot and was reminded by a caretaker that bikes are not allowed in the park. (In fairness, they were posing with a bike and merely pushed the bike in and did not ride it). The father just asked that they be allowed to have the photo with the bike first and they will leave soon after).
One thing I noticed though was the missing Akapulko plant. In my first visit last November, I was happy that there was an Akalpulko. In a fast-urbanizing city, it is not difficult to describe an akalpulko because the younger generations no longer see these growing wildly in their backyards. The tuba-tuba plant beside the akapulko also seems in danger of being eradicated as well as a construction is ongoing in what used to be a garden for herbal medicine plants and the reinforcement bars and formworks are strewn around the area.
That someone thought of planting the tuba-tuba and akapulko is a stroke of genius, I’d say, because these are two herbal medicine plants that we grew up with in Davao City but whom the younger generation no longer know. That they can be used easily and with quick results (tuba-tuba for joint and muscle pains and akapulko for skin fungal infections) is an indigenous knowledge worth passing on to our children.
Here’s to hoping that the initial efforts to include plants like these in the botanical garden will be followed through. Please, bring back the Akapulko plant, and add more, like Lagundi and Sambong and Kalabo and Panyawan (Makabuhay) and whatever else we grew up with. In that way, this park will have its distinction from all other parks and we can put a whole different but deeper meaning to the slogan, Life is Here.