Balibago is one of the busiest entertainment districts in Central Luzon. Its name came from the much-branched tree of 4 to 12 m height, Hibiscus tiliaceus Linn. During the early days it was valued in making ropes for its flexible bark. This is actually common in the tropics and throughout the Philippines, especially in places near the sea. This plant that belongs to the hibiscus family includes the favorite variegated species common in gardens which also includes varieties of gumamela and malutú (or malibago). Thus the place name balibago should not be mistaken as having been derived from the synthesis of the two words bale + bago (“new house”). In fact bago is not a Kapampangan term for new; otherwise it should have been called as balebaiu. In Cuta, an old sitio of barrio Anilao in the town of Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro, the light but sturdy balibago tree has been a favorite timber source in the construction of old-fashioned bangka since the early days. An old village in Marinduque, as well as a sitio in Magalang, has also been named after this tree.


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