The Philippine National Flower
Known for its beautiful small white flower with strong fragrance, Jasminum Sambac or simply Sampaguita is considered the Philippine National Flower. It symbolizes love, fidelity, devotion, dedication and purity. Actually, Sampaguita is not only found in the Philippines because it is common among Asian countries including Thailand, Vietnam, India and Indonesia. This flower is often used during rituals and in making perfumes and essential oils. Despite the size of the Sampaguita, its fragrance and sweetness is irresistible thus, pleases our sense of smell that is why almost everyone loves Sampaguita.
Among the famous Filipino legends is the legend of Sampaguita. According to the legend, a long time ago, a stuedy bamboo fence stands between the two neighboring baranggays; Gagalangin and Balintawak. Once every five years the fence is being replaced with new bamboos. In Balintawak lives a beautiful and kind young lady named Rosita, the daughter of the datu. The datu of the other baranggay, Gagalangin, has a son named Delfin.
Despite the number of handsome men who admires Rosita’s beauty, only Delfin captured her heart. The two had a secret relationship since they came from different parties. Their relationship is only between them and the maids of Rosita. They have a lair near the end of the fence where they meet every night. One day, one of the guard of Gagalangin’s datu reported the the fence is being replaced by the servants of Balintawak’s datu. The guard then told the datu that the fence was moved 5 meters towards their baranggay. He asked them to tell the datu of Balintawak they must bring the fence back where it is supposed to be. The datu of Balintawak then replied that he only placed the fence where it is supposed to be and the new location is based on the old documents.
A battle immediately followed the incident but few days before the war, Gagalangin’s datu got extremely sick and eventually died. With this, Delfin has no choice but to replace his father and lead the war. When Rosita’s maids told her what is happening, she worried a lot. She wants to tell Dalfin that it would be better if he just negotiate with her father but it is already too late since the battle is set to start the next morning.
Many died in the war including Delfin but before his death, he asked his servants to bury him at the end of the fence where he used to see Rosita every night. Not so long after the war, Rosita got seriously ill and she also died. Before her death, he asked his father to bury her at the spot where Delfin was buried.
Time filed so fast and the existence of the two baranggays dispersed. Many people started occupying Gagalangin and Balintawak. During the month of May every year, they experience an extraordinary phenomenon. They hear can a sweet voice of a lady saying “Sumpa kita!”. They traced where the voice is coming from. On the spot where the voice comes from, the spot where the couple was buried, they found a flowering bush. The flowers are small, white in color and have a strong smell. When they dug the roots of the bush, they saw that the roots are coming from the mouth of two persons buried beside each other. They realized that the bush is growing from the mouths of Delfin and Rosita.
They named the flower ‘Sumpa Kita’ and it evolved to it’s present name ‘Sampaguita’.
The Sampaguita and the Filipinos
The Sampaguita flower is a symbol of the Filipino people. The flower symbolizes the characteristics of a Filipino. It is also a part of the lives of every Filipino since you can see a Sampaguita almost anywhere you go.
One can see Sampaguitas either skewered on a ting-ting or in a form of garland or lei. Sampaguita leis also come with either Camia, Champaca, Dama de Noche or Ylang-ylang blooms as the pendant with Abaca as the string.
Sampaguita vendors are always present not just in front of the churches’ ‘puerta mayor’ but also in markets and even anywhere along the streets.
One can never see the absence of Sampaguita leis on the windshields of jeepneys. Oftentimes, one can also see sampaguita leis hanging on church santos and even on a typical Filipino household altar as sign of offering. During Holy Week and Flores de Mayo processions, Sampaguita flowers on ting-ting together with Paco leaves is always present.
Nowadays, the use of Sampaguita for the wedding bouquet of a Filipiniana-themed weddings is becoming very popular. Some florists also use Sampaguita buds to decorate church aisle and in making table centerpieces.The presentation of the Sampaguita evolved and is not anymore limited to leis.
With this, I must say that truly, the Sampaguita is one of the symbols of the Filipinos thus, this is one of the things that Filipinos must be proud of.
Barihan, Malolos, Bulacan’s ‘Planta’
When I was young, I always observe the Sampaguita vendors outside the church after we hear a mass. I wonder where do they get their supply of Sampaguita because literally, it seems that there is a plantation of Sampaguita in Malolos because of the number of sampaguita vendors until I heard few years ago that there is a Sampaguita ‘planta’ in Barihan.
Barihan, a baranggay located 6.3 kms. from Malolos bayan is famous for the miraculous image of the Santisima Trinidad or the Triune God. People from different places visit Barihan just to see the miraculous painting of Santisima Trinidad. When you visit the visita of Barihan, you will see not only the Santissima Trinidad but also a lot of sampaguita vendors especially during the fiesta season. Unknown to many, Barihan is the source of Sampaguita supplies of most Sampaguita vendors in many towns in Bulacan.
I am not sure if there are many suppliers of Sampaguita in Barihan but I know one supplier since I go to her everytime I need a lot of Sampaguita. The first time I bought Sampaguita in Barihan, I asked the vendors where is thheir supplier. One vendor directed me to her. I cannot remember her name but I know her since I know her house. Her house, located not far from the chapel is inside an eskinita. When I entered their eskinita, I saw bundles of Abaca strings being dried hanging on the walls. There are also plenty of big coolers but the contents are not beverages but Sampaguita! Yes! Plenty of coolers full of Sampaguita blooms! I just then realized that Barihan is really a planta of Sampaguitas.
According to the owner, they get their supply from the Sampaguita market in Camachile, Caloocan. For sure, the price in Camachile is cheaper but why go there if Sampaguita is already available in Malolos? I can say that the price of Sampaguita in Barihan is still cheap compared to the ‘Sampaguita vendors/retailers’ and you can also make your own Sampaguita lei since you can buy from them supplies such as Abaca, Ylang-ylang and Camia. They customize Sampaguita garlands and crowns depending on how long or how big you want it to be.
If you need of a lot of Sampaguita, why not consider Barihan’s ‘planta’?