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Magkono: A Rare and “Hard” Encounter



Magkono is known as the Philippine Iron Wood and considered as the hardest wood under the Family Myrtaceae (ex. Guava and eucalyptus). It is listed as rare and currently endangered based on the record of  IUCN. 

Magkono or Xanthostemon verdugonianus is a Philippine endemic tree found in the “Magkono Triangle” that includes Palawan, Samar, Dinagat Island and now seen in Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur.

To cut the tree, it requires at least four days using a diamond-point saws because of its hardness and high density. It is a durable material used by our ancestors in making the casket of the departed members of the community. The display in the National Museum in Butuan City proves that this wood can outlast everyone and even a civilization for about thousands of years and yet has shown no decay. Our ancestors also utilized it as primary foundation for building houses and poles for the balangay and even used as materials for some novelty items  as decoration inside the house.

In my stay in Mindanao for years I have not seen a single matured tree in the wild until my visit in Agusan del Sur. It was a grandeur experience to see a lone  25-foot white barked tree along the trail leading to Bega Waterfalls. To see it in the wild fulfills one of my dreams and faith is so good to show it in an even better way .

More to that, the encounter made even special as I never expected to see  what is known as the GIANT ORCHID (suspected as  Grammatophylum speciosum) silently in commensal with the hardest wood tree. This particular association is rare to be witnessed even by known field naturalists or biologists in the Philippines. With this scene, I now believe that the BEST deserves only the BEST. 

That day was so overwhelming and gave me more drive and inspiration to discover more of the hidden treasures known only in Mindanao. I just hope that we can conserve and preserve the remaining unique resources we have in the country.

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25 comments :

  1. wow...it's nice to know that you had visited Bega Falls. Proud Agusanon...hahahah

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  2. truly, our country is blessed. i hope people would start to realize it NOW!!!

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  3. Sir,Continue sharing your unforgettable
    experiences & adventure, go ,go...

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  4. Maulawin ang tawag sa Marinduque sa punot na to Dennis:)

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  5. not a common tree to me... i hope people will plant more of this kind... Yahweh bless.

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  6. This not only an additional knowledge to all but also seeing such old big trees give inspiration to all to take care of our nature and plant more trees.. Nice blog...:D

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  7. wow, that giant orchid is so lovely. I wonder how much is the price of that in the market. Yeah, we should learn to preserve the trees and the plants ,

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  8. We can't see rare trees like this MAGKONO in urban places and because it's endangered already, they should be well taken cared of and preserved for future generation.

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  9. that orchid is one of the best and rarest ... seldom that we will see that in the market ... usually being poached and sold to hardcore collectors...this is really a valuable species ...

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  10. The nature becomes more magical because of these rare creatures around her. May it serve a call to all of us to preserve, and conserve them so our mother nature can live its real beauty.

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  11. I share your feelings. You keep on sharing this to us because you are giving mother nature a great service.

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  12. this tree should be taken good care of.. kumbaga sa diamond, ito yung tinatawag na black diamond.. as balck diamond is very rare, thus it should be valued more.

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  13. Wow that giant orchid seems so rare and that your region has a lot to present and offer :) Continue to share things you have just discovered.

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  14. With more people like you doing something for the environment, there is still the chance to save our natural treasures.

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  15. Wow. Nice read. Love to see giant orchid and a kind of a tree like Magkono.

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  16. beautiful discovery you have here. that is one giant orchid indeed. how fascinating! http://www.heartscontentofamama.com/

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  17. Proud to be Agusanon...hehehehe... Because of you posts I include you on http://www.magwrite.info/2012/09/the-top-10-emerging-influential-blog.html

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  18. In addition, It is called Iron wood because the color of its lumber is black.

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  19. Aren't we a lucky nation to have some of the most unique specimens of creation there are :)

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  20. Truly we are a rich nation especially with our natural resources. Hoping our people will care a lot for the environment. But honestly I don't think I haven't seen this kind of tree, not sure if they have this one at Mt. Makiling, the only rainforest nearer to me.

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  21. I remember, Mindanao is also home to the world's most colorful tree, The Rainbow Eucalyptus or Mindanao Gum. :)

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  22. Wow! Wonderful God creation. I just hope it will be taken care of.

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  23. beautiful trees, beautiful photos. however, i don't think the orchid there is a grammatophylum. the leaves are more like those of a dendrobium or trichoglottis or renanthera which are likewise endemic or indigenous to the philippines.

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  24. thanks mel for the comment. that made me recheck the specimen. The orchid is indeed a Gramma.. it is very far different from dendro, tricho and renanthera on which dont grow more than 2 meters in length. I have also refered this to an orchid forum and it was confirmed as Gramma prior to my posting . thanks for reading the article , check also my other articles on my archive :)

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