House OKs bill declaring Waling-waling as 2nd national flower

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Pretty soon, the answer to the question, "What is the national flower" will no longer simply be the good old Sampaguita

NATIONAL FLOWER? The Waling-waling (Euanthe sanderiana), being considered in Congress as the second national flower of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Dalton Holland Baptista/Wikipedia

MANILA, Philippines – Parents who need to help their kids with their homework in Sibika should read this.

It looks like pretty soon, the answer to the question, “What is the national flower?” will no longer simply be the good old sampaguita.

This is because the House of Representatives has already passed on third and final reading the bill declaring the Waling-waling orchid as another national flower of the Philippines.

Authored by Davao City (2nd District) Rep Mylene Garcia-Albano and Pangasinan (6th District) Rep Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, House Bill 5655, underscores the popularity of waling-waling orchids worldwide as an endemic Philippine flower that “epitomizes the trait and character of Filipinos as a people.”

Explaining why they are pushing for the measure, Garcia-Albano said, “We also want people to appreciate and behold the sense of pride and identity the waling-waling offers.”

Queen of Philippine flowers

If passed into law, Garcia-Albano said, the waling-waling will have the same status as the sampaguita which was declared the national flower of the Philippines by Governor Frank Murphy through Proclamation 652 in 1934.

Sampaguita is also known as Jasminum Sambac and is currently one of the three national flowers of Indonesia. It is believed that the flower was brought from the Himalayan areas to the Philippines in the 17th century.

Garcia-Albano said the waling-waling plant, which is the best orchid variety in the country, is scientifically known as Vanda Sanderiana and used to abound the tropical forest of Mount Apo in Davao and Zamboanga Del Sur.

It is even touted as the queen of Philippine flowers.

Garcia-Albano also cited the ornamental value of the waling-waling now even popular in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Hawaii, which made waling-waling hybrids one of the world’s multibillion dollar orchid and cutflower industries.

What happens to the Sampaguita?

In approving the measure, Primicias-Agabas, chairperson of the Committee on Revision of Laws, says Congress gave consideration for the cultural importance of the sampaguita, particularly the “intangible cultural heritage of the Filipino people that remains relevant, valid and widely held among the current generation.”

The bill mandates the secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to promulgate rules and regulations that will protect, conserve and propagate the waling-waling orchid together with the sampaguita.

There is currently no version of the bill filed before the Senate.

Before the measure to become law, the House of Representatives will need to transmit the bill, as approved on third and final reading, to the Senate. There, it will have to go through hearings, and be approved at the plenary level.

If the Senate approves the bill without amendments, it is transmitted to Malacañang where it has to be signed by the President into law. –

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