MANILA -- A heritage duhat tree renamed “Katipunan Tree” 38 years ago, to perpetuate the memory of the revolutionary organization put up by Gat Andres Bonifacio in July 1892, will serve as a mute witness to the celebration of the 120th anniversary of Philippine Independence in Novaliches, Quezon City on Tuesday.

The commemorative rites will be under the joint auspices of the Knights of Columbus-St. Maximilian Ma. Kolbe Assembly ACN 2993 and Novaliches District Assembly ACN 2360 and Metro Manila College (MMC), formerly the Novaliches Academy, in Barangay Kaligayahan, Novaliches.

Mario Malacad, past grand knight of the K of C-Immaculate Conception Parish in neighboring Barangay San Agustin, Novaliches, said the celebration will include a simple civic parade and program; and floral offerings at the foot of the ancient tree situated at the compound of the MMC.

The guest speaker will be Knights of Columbus Sir Knight Marlon Manaol, according to K of C Faithful Navigator Sir Knight William James Pierce.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Kalayaan 2018: Pagbabagong Ipinaglaban, Alay sa Masaganang Kinabukasan” (Freedom 2018: Achieving Changes for Tomorrow’s Progress).

The old duhat tree, estimated to be over 180 years old, was renamed Katipunan Tree in April 1980 by the then National Historical Institute and the Tree Preservation Foundation of the Philippines Inc. (TPFPI) in cooperation with the MMC.

Its renaming was designed to preserve the memory of the revolutionary society called KKK or “Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan” (Highest and Most Venerable Society of the Sons of the Country).

Despite its old age, the duhat tree continues to bear fruits, but these are becoming smaller every year and not as succulent or full of juice as before. Its shade and height also have been reduced as detached old branches and twigs have not been replaced.

Dr. Mamerto Miranda, founder and president of the MMC, said during the marking of the tree in 1980 that the revolutionary heroine Melchora Aquino, better known as Tandang Sora, used to treat the sick and wounded Katipuneros under the shade of the particular duhat tree during the early days of the 1896 Revolution. (PNA)