Batanes Researcher At the Exhibition

Zac B. Sarian, left, with Dr. Roger Baltazar at the
Batanes exhibit booth at the exhibition marking
the 25th anniversary of the DA-BAR at the SN
Megamall in Mandaluyong City August 9-12.

Dr. Roger Baltazar was one of the interesting fellows we met at the exhibitions marking the 25th anniversary of the Bureau of Agricultural Research at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City last August 9-12.

He heads the research and extension division of the Basco State College in Batanes. He is a very active researcher, and one fruit tree that he is obsessed in studying is the Arius tree botanically known as Podocarpus costalis.

This is a tree that is indigenous to Batanes where it freely produces berry-like fruits. This tree produces abundant berries that could be made into various processed products.

While the Arius tree is also grown in other parts of the country, especially in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, it does not produce fruits as it does in Batanes. The tree makes a good landscaping material and some bonsai hobbyists are also making it into their favorite bonsai.

One of the products from Arius that Dr. Baltazar exhibited was Arius wine. Other products included pastillas, jam, tart and others. Dr. Baltazar and his colleagues are expected to develop more products from the Arius fruits in the near future as the Bureau of Agricultural Research is about to release a P1.5 million research grant to fund further research either on new products or improvement of the current products.

Batanes is one place where production of organically grown products can be undertaken. It is isolated from the rest of Luzon and special organic produce could be commercially developed.
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