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‘Waling-waling’ proposed as national flower

By RIO ROSE RIBAYA

Two flowers are better than one.

Manila, Philippines – The House Committee on Revision of Laws thought this when its members approved a bill declaring the “waling-waling“ (scientific name Vanda sanderiana), a type of orchid also called the “queen of Philippine flowers,“ as the new national flower of the Philippines together with the sampaguita.

In a hearing last Tuesday, the House committee approved House Bill (HB) No. 4073 “subject to style“ after the National Museum of the Philippines recommended walingwaling to be declared as another national flower of the country.

“The National Museum confirmed that the sampaguita is native to India and Arabia while waling-waling is not only indigenous but endemic to the Philippines,“ the committee said. The Philippines is home to more than 1,000 species of orchids known for their exotic beauty, the rarest and most beautiful of them is waling-waling.

One of the largest orchid species in the world, waling-waling has become the most sought-after flower in Mindanao for its large and colorful hybrids, growing on tree trunks in the rainforests of Davao, Sultan Kudarat, and other parts of Mindanao.

It blooms only once a year, between July and October. However, the continuous plunder of this prized specimen has brought it to near extinction.

Citing a letter from the museum, the panel said that the National Museum explained that the selection of sampaguita as the national flower was based more on its traditional and historical significance by virtue of Proclamation No. 652 in February 1, 1934.

Noting its popularity ornamental value, fragrance, and the role it plays in the legends and traditions of the Filipino people, the National Museum clarified its recommendation for sampaguita to retain its status as the Philippines’ national flower.

“Waling-waling can either be designated as the national orchid of the country or as another national flower (considering) that other countries such as Indonesia have more than one national flower,“ the National Museum stated in a letter.

Davao City Rep. Mylene Garcia-Albano, the author of the bill, acceded to the proposal.

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