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UPLB Fertility Tree

The intriguing story of the Fertility Tree in Los Baños, Philippines.

I have just recently visited the Philippines for a holiday. The flight is a lengthy 7 hours from Melbourne to Manila and having been three years since my last visit, I had a lot to see and do in this great country.

Yet for all the touristy places I wanted to visit, there was one lesser-known Philippine attraction that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to witness. I speak of the famous “Fertility Tree”.

You will never find reference to the Fertility Tree in your Lonely Planet guides, nor on the Wow Philippines website, nor in your glossy holiday brochures. It is only something that the locals know about.

The infamous Fertility Tree (and corillon) at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB).

I learnt of the existence of this tree when I was socialising with Filipino friends here in Melbourne and it came up in conversation somehow. Everyone had a cheeky grin on their face as it was discussed in Tagalog and I was left confused until with repressed laughter, the story was explained to me in English.

The Fertility Tree is located at the University of The Philippines in the town of Los Baños, which lies 63 kilometres south-east of Manila. The Fertility Tree grows on the edge of what we’d call an oval (large field) and during the day is the favourite place of joggers, sports players and students looking for some sunshine whilst studying.

But at night, I am told the story is very different.

When the sun has set and most students are asleep, the Fertility Tree is a favourite spot for student couples to meet up for private romance under the protective darkness of its large canopy.

The story goes that many children have been born as a result of this magnificent tree. Such is its reputation that students and alumni from across the seven-campus University of the Philippines system are aware of the magic powers of the Fertility Tree.

With almost universal recognition amongst the Pinoys that I have met, I decided I had to make time to see the Fertility Tree whilst in the Philippines.

I arranged to be driven from Manila to the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB) one afternoon and was shown where the tree was. The tree is known scientifically as Samanea saman and has a grand canopy.

Being a foreigner at UPLB doesn’t go unnoticed and it is not uncommon for Filipino students to greet overseas visitors with a friendly “Hey Joe!”. Given the purpose of my visit, I was trying to blend in as best as a pale Australian can when walking purposefully to the university’s most infamous tree with a large camera. Needless to say, I took photos of the tree at some distance but resisted the temptation to walk under its canopy. I therefore cannot comment on the rumour that prophylactics are occasionally found there!

After viewing the tree and the surrounds for a little while, I then took a tour of the rest of the UPLB campus before leaving Los Baños for the return trip to Manila before dark.

Having seen the Fertility Tree for myself, the question remains about whether the story of the Fertility Tree is even true? Who knows. Some doubt the likelihood that anyone could do ‘that’ unnoticed at night beneath the tree.

Regardless of the veracity of the story, the Fertility Tree is as much a product of the Filipino sense of humour and psyche as anything else and I am glad that I had the opportunity to see it for myself and experience this small piece of Philippine culture.

Even now that I am back in Australia, the thought of the Fertility Tree brings a smile to my face!



30 responses to “UPLB Fertility Tree”

On 16 February 2008, Alex Diamante wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

“…the rumour that prophylactics are occasionally found there!”

In 1982-83, during our CMT (Citizen’s Military Training)course every saturday morning in the oval or parade ground near the now-called “Fertility Tree”, yes, yes, we sometimes find used prophylactics under the tree’s shade. Gross. But it makes us smile and ask each other if we know who’s car was there the night before.

Thank you for taking a photo of this place. I never had the chance to take it during those times.

On 8 June 2008, arjay bernabe wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

hey, can i use your photo in making a logo of the fertility tree? the canopy almost perfect for a logo…

On 24 August 2008, a.j. villareal wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

hey! nice shot of the fertility tree there…

i have also heard those rumors upon entering the campus…

and i’m also quite curious if it’s true…

but i think it’s quite possible, since the vicinity of the tree is very dark at night…

and i’ve heard a fair share of happenings under the fertility tree…

On 3 September 2008, vincent wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

i just want to comment about the ‘corillon’ thing, it should be “carillon”. no offense.:)

On 10 September 2008, mobile fertility clinic wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

very nice and imposing photo of the fertility tree indeed. Nice to see somebody preserving nature instead of destroying it for a few bucks.

On 20 February 2009, campus figure 1983 wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

It is all true, 100%. Take it from me…the tree has served it’s purpose, several times over during my stint at UPLB. Ahh the good old days…

On 12 March 2009, Jose Paolo Albano wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

it’s all true, it is in this tree that miracles at night happen… I was a student in UPLB before and i am testifying to these miracles!! hahaha… At night at UPLB, especially midnight whenever it is not full-moon, the oval field is all pitch-black!!! i even know someone who made love at the middle of the field.. its really dark there!!! trust me

On 22 April 2009, elbipepz wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

yeah its true. :)I was a student in UPLB before.

On 20 January 2010, lety wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

You should have gone near it. You can see that 3 couples can sit under it with their back against the trunk base without seeing each other! However, maybe due to its reputation? A CCTV Camera is aimed at the tree 24/7 and lights have been put up near the tree. It could also be to highlight its beauty at night. 🙂

On 20 January 2010, Lumen wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

LB was my playground and that tree has been there forever… its overpowering canopy has been a symbol of steadiness, stability and pride for students. And yes, underwears get left for those in a hurry to leave when campus police do some checking ever so often…nobody dare cut it down…

On 21 January 2010, erico wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

I was a student at UPLB during my premed years, before it was really dark in there and the branches of the tree touch the ground creating a dome-like structure. today there are very powerful lights in that area and the branches have been trimmed down to discourage people from making out there. There are no more prophylactics seen in that area as far as I know. 🙂

On 21 January 2010, jhoya wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

fertility tree itself attracts people, if not for romantic purpose, for a friendly one rather,,hehehe…my friends and I used to stroll there…love to go there most esp. during weekends…

*would not forget: we’re in the oval @ night & just enjoying lying on his arms while looking up in the stars… ;p sweet ;p

see, it only implies that miracles happen not only under the FERTILITY TREE, but even around the vicinity.. ;p hehehe lovely place to be! haha

On 21 January 2010, well wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

Nice Post! Thank you for visiting UPLB. (Nostalgia… hehe!)

On 21 January 2010, spiderluap wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

i remember those days.. i was a sophomore then living in IH (International House) not very far from the tree. I was with my UPF (University Police Force) buddies near the tree, quiet as lambs. They weren’t flashing their lights or anything. We were just waiting for the main event. Not long after we heard some soft moaning, gradually getting faster and louder. At the heat of the moment, my friends suddenly turned their heavy-duty flashlights and shouted, “Halt! UPF! Who’s there?”
We saw a girl pulling her pants up and a guy (presumably her boyfriend) walking in the opposite direction, like he didn’t know who the girl was. After that we just couldn’t stop laughing! After that i vowed never to do stuff there, Although I did it in the Thai Pavilion.

On 21 January 2010, Jess Rola wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

Thanks for taking a picture of the fertility tree or Samanea saman which in lay terms is an Acacia or a “Rain” tree.

I grew up in Los Baños and studied UPCFNR a long time ago, even before the Carillon was built. Prophylactics were not being used then (Not even now, people say). But the fertility tree was always there.

On 26 January 2010, delfa calo=de castro wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

I miss this place, dito lagi ginagawa ang salubong ng St Therese parish tuwing holy week, di ba? May breakfast pa nga eh! After the mass my husband, cesar and me will go straight to Baker Hall to play tennis with our colleagues, sometimes puntahan sa IRRI para dunayo ng laban or tanghalian sa kamayan, ang saya talaga! Mis ko na talaga ang LB dito na kasi Toronto with my family I hope makauwi kami this December 2010…cheers!

On 28 April 2010, toink-toink wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

since grade school i already heard the tale of this fertility tree –until when i grow up i finally understand why they call it like that, eventhough i didnt study their in UPLB i was born there. i used to play at the grounds. and yes i’ve seen some pieces of evidence under that tree couple of times… thinking that someone had fertilized the tree again lol. but there are some stories i know more about UPLB–like the cheapest hotel in LB which is the university library and the longing bridge going to forestry. they say at night it goes long and by day its shorter — hehehe anyway i miss elbie so much… you never can tell maybe i am one of the products of the so called “fertility tree”

On 29 June 2010, sheen wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

U make me smile with ur story…, well it depends on the trait of the people that wanted to feel the shades of that tree. It so happened that this tree gives some unexplainable comfort..well should they make it real or not…we should really discover it by ourself…

On 18 October 2010, kerb wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

The tale of Fertility Tree is true.
When i was a first year College student in ELBI, i always hang out with my friends in the carillion tower to spot some couples under the tree. And some couples also do that even in the oval.
But now, the couples under the FERTILITY TREE transfer in the Grandstand.

On 30 January 2011, Lon wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

Hi, can I use your photo? i’ll place the source 🙂

On 9 April 2012, Coco wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

was once a student from this school. Nice cover. =)

On 13 April 2012, pRinCesz03 wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

if you go there together with your partner. a big bash smile can cause the tree have the magical power who can every one leave a good me’mriz

On 7 January 2013, jharp wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

Cool post.

Tree lover in the midwest part of the United States.

Would love to see the tree.

On 9 January 2013, leo c. carpio wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

Thank you for the picture of the “Fertility tree.” I remember when I was a student at LB taking ROTC,we used to go under the shade of the tree which we knew then as Acacia. After more than 50 years since I left LB, the tree looks the same as now. Do you know how old is the tree? I have never seen a tree as beautiful as the Acacia or the Fertility tree, not even here in North America.

On 4 February 2013, iya wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

Can Someone help me with my documentary for our finals about the fertility tree we need some witnesses that could share their stories with us. Thanks.

On 4 February 2013, jam wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

did you know someone who tried making out in the fertility tree we just need it for our documentary you would be a great help for the completion of our documentary

On 11 February 2013, SideWalkVendor wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

That fertility tree never failed to bring back my memories of elbi. It is really a magical tree. In the sunny afternoons when I came here to meditate, it seems to say, “You will surely miss me.” And it was right. I should have taken a photo souvenier. Thanks for posting a beautiful shot .

On 10 July 2013, Markus wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

Note that it was called “Fertility Tree” way way back. Lomg before there was a Carillion Tower. Back then, the fertility tree was the corner of the Oval. Behind the tree was all bushes. So it was all secluded and very dark at night, perfect for couples wanting to spend some private moment.

On 10 July 2013, Lan wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

Hello Adam! The best explanation why it is called “Fertility Tree” is, it is located in the most fertile area around the lower campus. But it is really true that couples really wanted to “meet up for private romance under the protective darkness of its large canopy”. I hope you had a great stay here in UP.

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