House declares Waling-waling national orchid

December 06, 2019

THE House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure that declares Waling-waling as the National Orchid of the Philippines.

The House Bill 4952, principally authored by Davao City Rep. Vincent Garcia, got 169 affirmative votes.

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 Waling- waling, known scientifically as Vanda Sanderian.

Garcia said the Waling-waling 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 Waling-waling 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 added.

Garcia also cited the ornamental value of Waling-waling 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 also said.