josef george kamel, s.j. drawing of molave
Molave [Vitex parviflora] Syn: mulawin, mulawun, tugas
This resilient tree can compete with kamagong for hardness. The appeal of its lumber, however, is its light blond color. This hardy tree grows even in rocky soil. Its tough roots can slowly crack stone as the tree seeks for nourishing water. Molave grows to 15 meters. It sends out small blue flowers before or during the summer months, which mature into globose berries up to 6 cm in diameter.
Molave lumber is used for posts, floor boards, furniture and for contrasting wood inlay. For furniture, molave is not highly recommended because the lumber is “malikot”, that is, it shrinks and expands with changes in weather. It is also hard to work because, carpenter’s say, its grains are not straight but curve like rivulets.
“Like the Molave” is well-known literary piece by Rafael Zulueta da Costa. It won the Commonwealth Literary Award for Poetry. Ironically, it was an anti-American piece, and how it passed the judges is a big question. It challenges the Filipino to grow like the molave.
The poem begins by calling national hero José Rizal to rise once more and lead his people grown weak and dependent on a new set of colonial masters and ends with the stirring conclusion:
I want our people to grow and be
like the molave, strong and resilient,
rising on the hillside, unafraid,
of the raging flood, the lightning or
the storm, confident of its own strength.
Lines attributed to Manuel L. Quezon, the president of the Commonwealth.