de las Islas Pilipinas by Fr. Pedro Chirino, S.J. (1604),
originally in Spanish and translated into English by Mr. Ramon Echeveria
Chapter 10 contains a description
of how Chinese immigrants were growing Balete trees (a local term referring
to ficus) onto corals. They would insert the roots into the coral's
crevices and place them onto water basins until the roots clasped the host
corals. The arrangement were small enough to be carried by one hand.
The tree would in a certain time of the year be leafless as if dead, but
only to shoot out new buds that symbolized the Resurrection of Easter Sunday.
1 Ceballos, Poncevic "Vic" "Taking A Quantum Leap: Bonsai in the Philippines," Bonsai, BCI, July/August 1999, pg. 32; "Philippine Bonsai History," Bonsai, BCI, June 1981, pg. 147, which states that Chirino came to the islands in 1590 and Echevarria was a poet and business executive of Cebu. Presumably the "corals" were chunks of the dried skeletons of the reef building creatures, as are commonly seen today as souvenirs.