Puerto Princesa breaks ground on cherry blossom park

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  • Balayong trees will be planted at the Palawan Sports Complex and nearby areas.

Puerto Princesa (CNN Philippines) — The Puerto Princesa city government broke ground Thursday on a park that will feature Palawan's version of Japan's cherry blossom "Sakura" trees.

The 5.8-hectare "Balayong Park" gets its name from Palawan's cherry trees, known locally as "balayong." These are endemic in the province and are recognized for their white and pink flowers that adorn the balayong trees when in full bloom.

City Information Officer Richard Ligad said fully-grown balayong trees were transplanted to the park using Korean technology.

Related: First sakura park in the country to bloom in Benguet

Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron said it has been his dream to build a park that will cater to almost all events in the city.

"Kapag natapos ang Balayong Park na ito, dito na natin gagawin ang Balayong Festival at iba pang aktibidad sa lungsod," he said.

[Translation: We will hold the Balayong Festival and other city activities in Balayong Park once it is completed.]

Aside from a 'tunnel' of balayong trees, the Balayong Park will also host an ecumenical chapel and meditation garden, water park, fitness and recreational park auditorium, and amphitheater, among others. 

Bayron said finishing the park would cost around ₱100 million. This will include renovation and upgrades on existing buildings at the City Sports Complex.

The mayor said in June the Balayong Park is part of the local government's plan to boost tourism.

The first Japanese cherry blossom park in the country is in Atok, Benguet. The sakura trees planted in June are expected to bloom in three years.