The Philippines is filled with majestic beauty, whether it be from amazing waterfalls, incredible surfing spots, and beaches, or even its reputation for having breathtaking luxury resorts.
Another connection they have to natural beauty in the form of something straight from nature is their national flower.
Every country has its own national flower that has a strong cultural connection to the motherland, and the Philippines is no exception.
In this article, we’re going to deep dive into the national flower of the Philippines so we can help others understand what it is, what its cultural significance is, and how to even grow one yourself.
What is the National Flower of the Philippines?
The Philippines is a beautiful country known for its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and tropical climate. One of the country’s most beloved symbols is the Sampaguita, which has been designated as their National Flower.
Sampaguita is not only a beautiful flower, but it also holds great cultural and historical significance in the Philippines.
Also known as Jasminum sambac, is a fragrant flowering plant that is native to South Asia, particularly India, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.
The Sampaguita is a small, evergreen shrub that typically grows up to 1 to 2 meters (3 to 6 feet) tall. It has glossy, dark green leaves and produces small, white, star-shaped flowers. The flowers are highly fragrant and have a sweet, jasmine-like scent, which is why the plant is often referred to as the Philippine jasmine.
The History of the Philippine National Flower
The choice of the national flower of the Philippines has a rich history spanning pre-colonial times through post-independence.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the natives of the archipelago revered flowers for their beauty and meaning. Sampaguitas, in particular, were known for their purity and were often given as offerings to higher beings as a symbol of respect and honor.
The use of flowers in pre-colonial times was not limited to religious ceremonies. Flowers were also used for medicinal purposes, as well as for decorating homes and public spaces. The Sampaguita, with its fragrant scent and delicate white petals, was a favorite of the locals and was often used in traditional dances and celebrations.
The Spanish Colonial Period
During the Spanish colonial period, the use of Sampaguita evolved. The flower began to symbolize romance as it was often given to loved ones. It was also used in religious ceremonies, particularly during the feast of the Immaculate Conception, where it was used to decorate the image of the Virgin Mary.
The Spanish also introduced new flowers to the Philippines, including the rose and the daisy. These flowers were often used in the gardens of the wealthy and in the decoration of churches and public spaces. However, the Sampaguita remained a favorite of the locals and continued to be used in traditional ceremonies and celebrations.
The American Colonial Period
When the Americans took control of the Philippines, the Sampaguita gained prominence as it became popularized as a symbol of love and peace. It became a common scent in perfumes and was widely traded with other countries. The Americans also introduced new flowers to the Philippines, including the hibiscus and the bougainvillaea. These flowers were often used in landscaping and in the decoration of public spaces.
The Sampaguita, however, remained a beloved flower of the Filipinos and continued to be used in traditional ceremonies and celebrations. It was also used in the making of leis and in the decoration of homes and public spaces.
In 1934, the Philippine government sought to adopt a symbol of national significance and selected the Sampaguita as the national flower. The choice was a natural one, as the Sampaguita had long been a symbol of the country’s beauty and purity. Today, the Sampaguita continues to be an important part of Filipino culture and is used in traditional ceremonies and celebrations, as well as in the making of leis and in the decoration of homes and public spaces.
How did the Sampaguita Become the National Flower of the Philippines?
The designation of the Sampaguita as the National Flower was made on February 1, 1934, through Act No. 652. This Act was signed by then-Philippine President Manuel Quezon, who recognized the Sampaguita’s beauty, fragrance, and cultural significance.
The Sampaguita is not just a flower, but a part of Filipino culture. It is often used in religious and cultural events, such as weddings, funerals, and processions. The flower’s sweet fragrance can be smelled from afar, and its delicate white petals are a sight to behold.
Aside from its cultural significance, the Sampaguita also has medicinal properties. Its leaves and flowers are used to treat various ailments, such as headaches, fever, and anxiety. It is also used in traditional Filipino medicine as a natural remedy for skin irritations and wounds.
But there is also a romantic legend associated with the Sampaguita’s designation as the National Flower.
The flower is believed to have stemmed from a legend where Lakambini, a princess
While the story is not quite confirmed, it has become a beloved part of Sampaguita’s history in the Philippines.
Today, the Sampaguita remains a beloved flower in the Philippines. It is a symbol of the country’s beauty, culture, and resilience.
What is the Historical Significance?
The Sampaguita has a rich and significant history in the Philippines and has been used for various purposes for centuries. The flower has been an integral part of the Filipino culture and tradition. It has been used in religious and cultural practices, as well as for medicinal purposes.
The Sampaguita’s fragrance was said to have been used in perfumes and cosmetics, and its leaves were used to treat a variety of ailments, such as headaches and fever. The flower has been used in traditional medicine to cure various health issues, such as respiratory problems, stomach disorders, and skin diseases. It is believed that the Sampaguita has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that help in healing wounds and reducing inflammation.
Aside from its practical uses, the Sampaguita has also been revered for its symbolic significance. In the Filipino language, the word “Sampaguita” is derived from the phrase “sumpa kita,” which means “I promise you.” The flower has been used as a symbol of love, loyalty, and commitment in Philippine folklore and literature. It is often given as a token of affection and is used in wedding ceremonies and other celebratory events.
What are Some Cool Facts About the Sampaguita?
- The Sampaguita has played an important role in the country’s history. During the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule in the late 19th century, the Sampaguita became a symbol of resistance and patriotism. It was used by the Katipunan, a revolutionary organization, as a secret code to identify its members.
- Sampaguitas are often used in perfume, as well as in herbal medicine to treat various ailments including headaches and inflammation. The flower is also widely used as a flavoring in local cuisine.
- The flower was also used as a form of currency. During the Spanish colonial period, Sampaguitas were used as a form of payment for goods and services. The flower was so valuable that it was even used to pay taxes.
- The flower was also used in the design of the Philippine flag, which was first unfurled during the declaration of Philippine independence on June 12, 1898.
- The Sampaguita is also known for its medicinal properties. Its leaves and flowers have been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments such as headaches, fever, and respiratory problems. The essential oil extracted from the Sampaguita flower is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
- Another interesting fact about the Sampaguita is that it is also used in the culinary world. In some Southeast Asian countries, flowers are used to flavor teas, desserts, and even rice dishes.
- In Hinduism, the Sampaguita is associated with the goddess Lakshmi and is used in religious ceremonies and offerings.
One interesting legend about the Sampaguita is that it is believed to have originated from the tears of a goddess. According to the legend, the goddess was so moved by the love between a prince and a commoner that she wept tears of joy, which fell to the ground and turned into Sampaguita flowers.
Overall, the Sampaguita is a small but fascinating flower with a rich history and cultural significance. Its fragrant blooms, medicinal properties, culinary uses, and symbolism make it a beloved and cherished flower in many parts of the world.
Other Notable Philippine Flowers
While sampaguitas are the most well-known flowers in the Philippines, there are other noteworthy flowers that hold cultural and historical significance.
The Philippines is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, with over 10,000 species of plants, many of which are endemic to the country. These flowers have not only captivated the hearts of Filipinos but also of people from all around the world.
This flower is known as the largest flower in the world and is indigenous to the Philippines. The Rafflesia is known for its unique scent and is often called the “corpse flower” as it emits an odor similar to a decaying animal. Despite its unpleasant smell, the rafflesia is still a sought-after flower due to its rareness and uniqueness.
The Rafflesia is also known for its medicinal properties. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects and is used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments such as headaches, arthritis, and fever.
The Waling-Waling Orchid
The Waling-Waling is a rare orchid that is considered one of the most beautiful flowers in the world. The flower grows in the wild and is often used in floral arrangements and orchid shows. The Waling-Waling is also known for its cultural significance among the indigenous people of Mindanao. It is believed to be a symbol of love, beauty, and strength.
The Waling-Waling orchid is also used in traditional medicine. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat various ailments such as fever, diarrhea, and dysentery.
The Ylang-Ylang is a tropical tree that is indigenous to the Southeast Asia region. The tree has a distinct scent that is commonly used in perfumes. The Ylang-Ylang oil is also used in aromatherapy to reduce stress and anxiety.
The Ylang-Ylang is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments such as headaches, fever, and arthritis. The tree is also used in the production of furniture and construction materials due to its durable wood.
How to Grow Your Own Sampaguita
If you’re looking to add some tropical flair to your garden, growing your own Sampaguita plant is a great place to start. This sweet-smelling flower is native to Southeast Asia and is often used in traditional Filipino leis and perfumes.
To get started, find a location in your garden that gets plenty of sunlight and has well-draining soil. Sampaguita plants can also grow in partial shade, but they thrive in warm, tropical climates.
When planting Sampaguita seeds or seedlings, make sure to give them plenty of space to grow. These plants can reach up to six feet in height and will need support as they grow taller.
You can use a trellis or stakes to keep the plant upright and prevent it from toppling over. As your Sampaguita plant grows, be sure to prune it regularly to promote healthy growth and flowering. Removing dead or damaged branches will encourage new growth and help the plant produce more flowers.
When it comes time to harvest your Sampaguita flowers, simply snip them off the stem with a pair of sharp scissors. Be sure to leave some foliage behind to support the plant’s growth. You can use the flowers to make fragrant leis or to infuse oils for use in perfumes and other scented products.
With a little bit of care and attention, you can grow your own beautiful and fragrant Sampaguita plant right at home. Not only will you enjoy the sweet scent of these flowers, but you’ll also add a touch of tropical beauty to your garden.
What Have We Learned?
The Sampaguita is truly a beloved flower in the Philippines, and it’s not hard to see why. With its delicate beauty, sweet fragrance, and rich cultural and historical significance, this flower has captured the hearts and imaginations of Filipinos for generations.
So, the next time you see a Sampaguita plant, take a moment to appreciate the beauty and meaning behind this cherished Philippine symbol.
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