PH’s biggest bonsai exhibit opens in Manila

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

June 11, 2023, 11:41 am

<p>A bonsai tree displayed at SM MOA Music Hall. <em>(PNA photo)</em></p>

A bonsai tree displayed at SM MOA Music Hall. (PNA photo)

MANILA— The Philippines’ biggest bonsai exhibit opened in Manila on Saturday, bringing in over 400 local and foreign delegates.
The bonsai event, where about 300 show-quality trees are on display, commemorates the Asia Pacific Bonsai and Suiseki Convention (ASPAC), the Asia Pacific Bonsai Friendship Federation (ABFF) and the 50th founding anniversary of the Philippine Bonsai Society, Inc. (PBSI).
The event will run from June 10 to 12 at the SM MOA Music Hall, with additional legs to be held in Visayas and Mindanao within the month and July.
“There used to be an ASPAC convention and an ABFF convention separately, this is the first time ever that it’s combined,” show chair Lito Pangilinan said.
International bonsai clubs and federations were also present at the event, including those from Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Singapore and Taiwan, among others.
Top bonsai masters such as Shinji Suzuki and Romy Dino were also invited to conduct lectures and demonstrations.
Aside from bonsais, some 250 suisekis and the Philippines’ best ikebana arrangements are also put on display.
In a side interview, ASPAC and ABFF chairperson Bobby Gopiao underscored that growing bonsai is not about the value but the fulfillment that it brings to the grower.
“It’s the passion and the fulfillment you get from creating something and taking care of it for a long long time,” he told the Philippine News Agency.
“It takes so much patience to come up with a bonsai, it’s never finished, it’s like a tree outside there in nature, it’s never finished, it’s finished when it’s dead, so you don’t stop developing the tree,” he added.
Japanese Embassy Chargé d'affaires Matsuda Kenichi, who graced the event, said he is elated to see how bonsai, an art that originated in Japan, is being received in the Philippines and across Asia.
“(The) theme ‘Beauty beyond years, beyond borders,’ perfectly encapsulates the essences of this traditional art form that has surpassed generations and continues to etch itself in history,” he said.
“In the same vein, it is also an apt description of how the bond our nations have developed through the years. Like the bonsai to be showcased today and in the coming days ahead, time and past experiences helped plant the seeds of friendships between our nations -- cultivated into the beauty that they are now,” he added. (PNA)