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Flowers are often assigned to countries as national cultural symbols. With Austria the edelweiss is associated, the Netherlands takes the tulip and Japan refers to the chrysanthemum. The Philippines have several national symbols, for example, the Carabao (water buffalo), the Narra-Tree  and  a species of jasmine called Sampaguita or kampupot in Tagalog. Let’s have a look on this flower.

Taken only the botanical aspects, the „jasminium sambac" offers no big surprise. It grows as a woody vine or shrub reaching up to 1,2 meters. The plant bears a single flowers or blossom bundles at the top of her branches. The Sampaguita is blooming full-year and has white, small, dainty, star-shaped blossoms, which open at night and wilt in less than a day. Unique however is the distinct sweet fragrance of the blossoms. It does not bear seed , so the cultivation is brought up by cuttings. The Philippines have different domestic species of jasmine growing wildly. But the Sampaguita was imported in the 17th century from Himalayan areas.

In 1934 an American governor-general proclaimed the Sampa- paguita as national flower. However long before it has taken roots in the Philippine folklore and religious rites. It is mentioned in many legends, stories and songs - even in the 70s a rock artist adopted her name. Before independence it was „a bud of hope in the consciousness planted in the days of colonial imposition". It symbolizes a whole series of virtues: fidelity, purity, devotion, strength and dedication. At least in two legends these virtues are reflected:

Legend I - The missing lover

After the death of her wise and successful father a  young princess – called Lakambini – has to take over the regency of kingdom. However, she is inexperienced- in government administration and there is the danger that the country could be occupied by other neighbouring rulers. Only the young unselfish prince Lakan Galing is ready to defend her country against the enemies.

The young princess falls in love with her helper. On a hill above the sea, both embrace each another and Lakambini promises him eternal fidelity marriage: „Sumpa kita" - „I promise you" .. (the marriage). But Lakan Galing is not satisfied with only watching and guarding the country, he wants the enemies put to flight. „If the enemy does not come, then we shall seek them". He pursues the enemy with his ships. The princess filled by longing and love remains back. Every day she goes to the hill at the sea in order to hold look-out for her dearest. However, she waits in vain - Lakan Galing comes back no more.

A short time later Lakambini dies in grief and des- pair. She finds her last rest on the hill she always held look-out. Short time after on her lonely grave grow up a vine with small white, smelling blossoms. The leaves rustling in the wind echoed the „sumpa kita" of the princess. The flower then was called „Sampaguita".

Legend II (1) - The unfaithful lover

In a barangay the young girl Anita - „her beauty was like the beauty of early morning" - and the young man Ernesto grow up and they fall in love .Let’s take the words of author: "The beauties of nature and the fragrances of flowers filled the souls of the young people with longing for love and sentiments of luck … and they swore their love beyond the grave". Such phrases of luck in a fair tale announce a strike of fate.

Ernesto has to leave the place and Anita suspects that „his beauty could attract other girls like a magnet." Ernest tries to disperse her objections: „I would rather be able to unlearn breathing than to forget our oath". And he offers her, that if he should betray her, she could kill him wit a dagger. Time of departure of Ernesto is coming and Anita keeps the dagger. Time later Anita gets the information that Ernesto married another woman. „She felt her throat as strangulated and her heart seemed to burst." She went to the tree they always and it was her intention to cut into the bark: „Sinisumpa kita" ( = I curse you). Weakened however, she succeeded only in writing the short form „Sumpa kita" ( = I promise you). Then she took her life with the dagger and found her grave under the tree. Also in this legend, a flower grows a short time later on the grave with white, pearl kind blossoms. Her fragrance was so sweet thrilling to the cord. According to the carved short form „Sumpa kita", people later called the flower „sampaguita".


Note: Talking to flowers is dangerous to others health... Note: Talking to flowers is dangerous to others health... Note: Talking to flowers is dangerous to others health...