Discovering Kidapawan, Mindanao As Flower Haven

Landscaping comprises part of the competition

6 July 2010, Davao City.“Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words,” Lydia M. Child once said.  “They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning.”

In Star Papers: A Discourse of Flowers, Henry Ward Beecher wrote: “Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock.”

“Flowers,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson, “are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world.” The Koran itself reminded, “Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.”

These observations, made by famous people, came to our mind when we were invited recently as one of the judges of the the Flower Festival in Kidapawan City recently. Considered as the tourism hub of Central Mindanao, the city holds the distinction of being the only place in the country’s second largest island to enjoy very fine weather throughout the year as it is outside the typhoon belt.

Ferns and foliage

Ferns and foliage

Almost everyone know Kidapawan as home to tropical fruits like durian, mangosteen, marang, rambutan, banana, pomelo, lanzones and mango. But only very few are aware that flowers and various ornamentals also abound in the city.

When we think of floral floats, only Baguio City or Davao City come to mind. Kidapawan should be added to the list. This year’s celebration is already its fourth with the theme, “Grow Plant for a Healthier Environment.”

Local creating a dish garden

Local creating a dish garden

“There were some talks that we won’t be able to pursue this year’s celebration because the country is experiencing drought,” says Rosalina S. Suliguin, chairwoman of the Mount Apo Bloomers Association, during the opening program. “But we proved them wrong. We are here today to show the beauty of our city through our flowers and plants.”

Although the May Flower Festival is an initiative of various flowers and ornamental organizations in Kidapawan and nearby towns like Makilala and President Roxas, the city government is fully supporting the event.

“We believe that through this, we will be able to put Kidapawan City in the tourism map not only because of its fruits and highland springs,” says Marie Fe Geronga-Pame, development management officer of the Investment Promotions Center.

Aside from holding Floral Float Parade, there was also a competition among members on landscaping, dish garden (done on the spot for 30 minutes), foliage, flowering plants, palm/cydas, and bonsai.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, in Afternoon on a Hill, wrote: “I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!  I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.” And that’s what we did while judging the various entries.  

Photos by Henrylito D. Tacio