Philippine Flowers at Manila Orchidarium

Despite the so-called Filipino yuppies’ chagrined remarks on Rizal Park, the country’s oldest park remains the top tourist destination for both foreign and local visitors.

One of the reasons is the Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion, a one-hectare theme park that showcases a rich collection of orchids, bromeliads, mums, poinsettias, roses and other colorful flowers. Originally focused on orchids, the Orchidarium now hosts a variety of blooms, scents and greens.

Aside from its flora collection, the Orchidarium mesmerizes the visitors with its well-designed mystic lagoon, crystalline waterfalls, a climbing wall, a replica of a man-made rainforest, and a butterfly paradise. A pensive experience awaits the visitors who will drop by to commune with the virtual flowers in flight.

A sense of awe and admiration fills the visitor’s heart as soon as he passes under the Trellis of Waves, a corner where clinging vines hang. Among the species collected here are the Yellow Bell, Cherry Ripe Bell, Jamaican Sunset Bell, Violet Bell, and Jade Vine.

As the visitor follows the concrete trail, different varieties of flowers and ornamental plants greet him. Among these are the Song blooms (Song of Thailand, Song of Korea, Song of Jamaica, and Song of India) and the Palm species (Anahaw, Fishtail Palm, Blue Palm, Pinanga, Majestic Palm and the McArthur Palm).

For sure, the best that the Orchidarium can offer is the collection of exotic orchids and different hybrids. Topping the list are Vanda sanderiana, the queen of Philippine orchids or locally known as Waling-waling and Grammatophyllum walisii, the king of all orchids. There are about 25,000 to 35,000 orchid species belonging to 800 genera in the world. Of these, about 944 species in 130 genera were identified in the Philippines.

Other collections include the vandas, dendrobiums, durantas, mussaendas, medinillas, gumamelas (Hibiscus Patch), bromeliads, and heliconias. There are also different species of ferns, which come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes – from the huge Fern Tree (cyathea) to the tiny water fern (azolla).

The place also reeks with the natural scents of Kamuning shrub, Yesterday Today and Tomorrow tree, Suemi, Sinamomo, Sampaguita, Dama de Noche, Dama del Dia, Lagrimas, Meleguas, Carissa, Tebabuia, Magnolia, Jasmine, and Gardenia. Most of the species found at the Orchidarium came from the UP Los Banos and the Philippine Orchid Conservation Network.

The Orchidarium, which also maintains an orchidia, an orchid gallery, and a fine dining restaurant, is a project of the Clean and Green Foundation headed by former First Lady Amelita Ramos. It is conveniently located at the corner of Orosa Street and Finance Drive in Rizal Park.

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