Falling balete tree branch kills 1, injures 3 others at resort in Bukidnon

Balete tree. Photo: Lawrence Ruiz/Wikimedia
Balete tree. Photo: Lawrence Ruiz/Wikimedia

A man was killed this morning and three children were injured after a branch from a balete tree fell on them in Quezon town, in Bukidnon province.

Matranillo Cabaltero, 56, was sitting on the edge of a pool at a resort in the village of Poblacion when a branch measuring about 10 meters long fell on him, striking him in the head, Bombo Radyo reported. Cabaltero was rushed to hospital for treatment, but was declared dead on arrival.

The falling branch also hit three children, but all of them survived the incident. The police are unsure why the branch suddenly fell, and there were no signs that it had been partially cut, ABS-CBN News reports. Still, the resort owner could be held liable if it is proven that negligence led to the accident.

In the Philippines, several species of trees are referred to as baletes, all of which belong to the genus Ficus. The oldest balete tree in the country, in Aurora province, has been alive for over 600 years.

Local folk beliefs say that the trees, with their tentacle-like branches and aerial roots, are the homes of supernatural creatures, like monsters and dwendes, elfin beings said to cast spells on humans.

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