THE House of Representatives on Wednesday approved unanimously on third and final reading with 169 affirmative votes, House Bill No. 4952, which seeks to declare the Walingwaling orchid as the National Orchid of the Philippines.
Principally authored by Rep. Vincent Garcia (2nd District, Davao City) and co-authored by Rep. Roman Romulo (Lone District, Pasig City), the bill mandates the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in coordination with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, to promulgate the rules and regulations governing the acquisition, care, protection, conservation and propagation of Walingwaling, known scientifically as Vanda Sanderian.
Garcia said the Walingwaling plant, the best orchid variety in the country, used to abound in the tropical forests of Mount Apo in the province of Davao and Zamboanga del Sur. “The orchid is touted as the queen of Philippine flowers and is worshiped as ‘diwata’ by the native Bagobos,” Garcia said.
Aside from its origin in the Philippines, Garcia said the Walingwaling flower is symbolic of the Filipino traits and characteristics.
“The majestic plant perched atop a tall tree and enjoying the elements of the earth symbolizes the high aspirations of the Filipino. It is never choosy in its growing environs. Such quality can be a resiliency of the Filipinos. It does not shy away from symbolic relationships with the dipterocarps (tall forest trees). Such characteristics are symbolic of Filipino independence,” he said.
Garcia also cited the ornamental value of Walingwaling which is of national and international popularity. “It was in 1982 when Frederick Sander of London introduced the Walingwaling to the orchid enthusiasts and lovers in London. It was also propagated by orchid lobbyists and commercial orchid growers in other countries particularly Singapore, Thailand, Hongkong and Hawaii. Since then, Walingwaling hybrids have been one of the world’s multi-billion dollar orchid and cutflower industry. This is symbolic of the adaptability of the Filipinos,” he said.
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