A floral ode to the Sto. Niño-A A +A
Sunday, November 13, 2011
RED and yellow are the colors of the Santo Niño: He was clothed in those colors when Magellan brought Him to Cebu in 1521, who also brought with him the banner of the House of the Hapsburgs, also colored red and yellow with a two- headed eagle as its symbol, adopted by then Mayor Florentino Solon as the official symbol of the Sinulog Foundation in 1981. Now there is a Sinulog flower, the celosia, whose original colors are red and yellow.
At the “Halad sa Sto. Niño Flower” launching late last month, former Cebu city councilor Franklin Seno explained that celosia is popularly known in Holland as “Cupid’s Arrow” or “Flaming Love” for it comes from the Greek word kelos meaning “burned aflame.”
He narrated how the flower came to Cebu from Holland in 1991 via sister city ties with Haarlemmermeer. This, in itself, he says, was of historic significance because when the Berlin Wall fell, European countries started to reach out beyond their continent and Cebu was chosen by Haarlemmermeer as its sister city.
When a Cebu delegation visited Haarlemmermeer in 1991, they came home with a lot of gifts from that city, including two trauma vans, now with ERUF, high-performance microphones from their city council, $5000 for mango seedlings to replace those destroyed by Typhoon Ruping, and flower seeds to add variety to the flowers grown in Cebu’s mountain barangays.
The seeds were originally planted at the Philippine Tourism Authority’s Kan-Irag Golf Course, making the place look like a valley of flowers. The golf course never took off but the flowers continued to be grown by the farmers and in the year 2000, the celosia was declared by the Sinulog Board as the official flower of the Sinulog.
Now that there is a revitalized Hillyland board, a formal launching of celosia as the flower offering for the Santo Niño and Sinulog flower finally took place in a Sirao hillside abloom with the red and yellow celosia flowers.
Beyond being the Sinulog flower, Seno’s dream is to blanket Cebu’s hills with the celosia blooms, making them colorfully visible from up the air, to make the flower generate more income for the upland farmers, and to make it a means of livelihood for beggars and senior citizens, for income generation is what the city’s Hillyland project all about.
The advantage of celosia is that in the pot, the flowers last for three months and as cut flowers, they last two weeks and if dried, they do not lose their color. No wonder all the flowers at the Sirao launching were quickly bought by Manila!
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 14, 2011.