In keeping with tradition, the ongoing Midyear Orchid and Garden Show of the Philippine Orchid Society (POS) trains the spotlight on the waling-waling (Vanda sanderiana), considered by many as the queen of Philippine flowers and reportedly described by Dr. Domingo Madulid, senior botanist of the National Museum, “as the best orchid variety of the country.”
The show, said POS officers, has been scheduled to coincide with the blooming of the orchid, as a way to put the exotic flower, a true Philippine treasure, on center stage.
The prized flowering plant, Madulid said, has all but disappeared in the wilds, as its blooms have been sold to exotic plant fanciers abroad.
The show, thus, is a rare opportunity to see first-hand the waling-waling and find out why it is so valued. Although not as flamboyant as other orchid varieties, such as, for instance, the cattleya and the phalaenopsis (also known as moth orchid), the delicate beauty of the two-toned V. sanderiana, with its tiny darker flecks almost like freckles, should make every Filipino proud—and sad at the same time because, like many other treasures of this country, this one has been almost lost for good.
Fortunately, local orchid fanciers, particularly POS members, are ensuring that the waling-waling survives to be enjoyed and admired by more generations of Filipinos.
Anna Ruth Purificacion-Conde, overall chair of the ongoing show, said the focus on the waling-waling is underscored by the fact that there’s an award for the vanda variety alone, which the earlier February show did not have.
Indeed, almost every exhibit booth at the midyear show had the waling-waling on display. Some booths were exclusively devoted to it.
Heavy with blooms
Vangie Go, POS president, whose booth displayed waling-waling so heavy with blooms that they almost looked like clusters of lanzones or grapes, won Best Vanda Sanderiana and Best in Show awards. She also won the Best Dendrobium award (Dendrobium heterocarpum).
Winning Best Vandaceous Alliance, a vanda-based hybrid, was Susan and Manuel Lee’s Kagawara Christie Low—a yellow and white confection with greenish flecks.
Aside from the impressive display of waling-waling and its hybrids, the show offers several other surprises.
Conde and her mother Cora Purificacion, who usually win awards for their Phalaenopsis, did not just win the top prize for their P. Hsinying Charm “Sakuraame”; they also bagged the Best Philippine Species award for P. equestris “alba,” which had tiny white flowers. Purificacion said the variety, a new find, was also a true-blue Pinoy.
A surprise, no doubt, for people who thought they had seen all varieties of medinilla would be the Best Other Genera-Flowering award winner, Oliver Ang’s Medinilla sp. “Angela,” whose bright-pink blooms drooped like strung beads.
Former justice secretary Hernando “Nani” Perez’s booth displayed a collection of the very pricey cattleya—one of them, the Blc. Spring Queen “Blushing Bride” winning, what else, the Best Cattleya prize and Best Other Genera-Sympodial Orchid award.
Perez’s Malvarosa Orchids also won awards for Best Oncidium Alliance (Onc. – florida x lanceanum – “annette”) and Best Foreign Species and Best Other Genera-Monopodial Orchid (Christensonia vietnamica).
Best Ornamental Plant was Botchie Canicula’s Asplenium musifolium, while Best Paphiopedilum was Dhory Alvendia’s Paphiopedilum philippinense.
Conde said that aside from the impressive display of orchids and other plants, the POS show also featured lectures by experts that would be helpful to both hobbyists and commercial growers.
The schedule of lectures: Sept. 4, Landscaping Your Home and Garden, Jimmy Floro; Sept. 5, Flower Arrangement for all Occasions, Alfonso “Ponchit” Ponce-Enrile; Sept. 6, Plant Nutrition and Urban Gardening, Allied Botanical Corp.; Sept. 7, Introduction to Pinoy Bonsai Traylandscape Style, Vic de Rona; Sept. 8, Cattleya Orchid Growing, Perez; and Sept. 9, Special Tips in Growing Orchids, Andres “Jun” S. Golamco.
All lectures will be held at 3 p.m. daily. Orchids and other materials will be raffled off to participants.
The POS Midyear Orchid and Garden Show, which ends Sept. 9, is being held at the Flower Garden of Quezon Memorial Circle (East Avenue entrance, across City Hall), Quezon City.
Aside from the display of orchids and ornamental plants, a commercial section sells different kinds of plants and garden tools and supplies.