Mariveles by the bay

The two date palms, dated early 17th century stand as guards watching Tagbilaran City Strait. These palms have amazed Spaniards who thought date palms can only be found in the Middle East

FROM the warm deserts of the middle east and the Arabian Peninsula, a plant has been carried to distant trading outposts, perhaps to be grown and constantly remind Arab travelers of home.

Date palms, sturdy and drought resistant plants have been sources of desert food by travelers who stop by oases liberally sprinkled along the desert trade routes, and its fruits carried by sea traders to far-out trading centers along with the merchandise the middle east have been known.

Endemic to the warm climates, date palms, owing to their sturdy nature have also been seen planted in trading centers where Mohammedans actively conduct business.

In Dauis, where form as early as 1272, Bornean datus established a trading outpost here at the Dapitan, Chinese, Moluccans and possibly Arabs have established trade relations, probably bringing with them the fine craft of gold and silversmithing, local historians have openly presumed.

Other than the age-old tradition of gold and silver jewelry crafts still existent in the shops of the Bunachitas, Claretes and the distant pawnshops owned by Dauis craftsmen, two centuries old date palms are the mute witnesses to the by-gone days when Dauis prominently figured out in the worlds trade routes.

The two date palms, standing like guards by the bay, welcome the sailors who may have come from afar, beckon the weary seamen traders that they are welcome here.

Planted too far out from the deserts of Arabia, these two palms, adorning the church plaza must have tickled the sensibilities of the adventurous Spaniards and frayles who never thought the palm could be surviving in a place like Dauis.

The marvelous character of the palm could have pushed the Spaniards to call the plant maravillosa.

Corrupted to mariveles, the characterizing date palms, probably the most imposing of all vegetation near the area is also used to name the place long time ago.

To commemorate the presence of these two imposing palms, a new place now slowly emerging as a must see social venue, aptly called Terraza de Mariveles is now a stone throw away from the palms within the Dauis church complex.

Established as a fitting reminder of a past so memorable, the Terraza de Mariveles is an al fresco venue, with the gigantic shades of the centuries old acacia putting everyone under her warm embrace.

Both the acacia and the “mariveles” palms connect the pueblo de Dauis to a past, which even dates back more than 292 years ago. (RAC)


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