Vanda sanderiana – that is what the folks at the Philippine Orchid Society and a lot of hobbyists call this orchid. But to people from Davao, Cotabato and Zamboanga, where this orchid is, we call it waling-waling. Before scientists propagated it in nurseries under laboratory conditions, waling-waling only grows as an epiphyte attached to dipterocarp forest trees.
Waling-waling produces beautiful flowers worthy of its description as the “Queen of Philippine Orchids”. The species bloom in the Philippines from July to October, usually after experiencing close to a month of continuous downpour brought about by the monsoon.
Having a waling-waling in our garden and watching it grew from a small seedling to a full-grown plant is one my those things I always wanted to do. I cannot afford the hobby when I was young. And I did not have time to do it when I was engaged in full-time corporate work. So when, I took the early retirement plunge, I finally had the chance to do it!
I bought the young plant (less than 4 inches tall) in 2005. I attached it to a driftwood and watched it grew to full size until it had its first spike four years later. So, for more than two weeks sometime in July to August 2009, I was watching the orchid develop from spike to bud to full bloom to the time its last petals fall. And I took snapshots of the waling-waling orchid from bud to full bloom.
Below was the first of the series of pictures I took. The flower bud had been there for more than a week. The spike started to come out around two weeks earlier. On 27 July 2009, I took my first snapshot using a Canon Powershot S3 1S.
Over the next few days the buds started to open. Notice in the pictures below how the shape of the buds changes, starting from the lowermost portion up to the topmost until they are all extended and ready to open (pictures July 28 to July 31).
They were on their way to bloom by August 1 with the lowermost buds opening up first and working their way into the uppermost buds.
I was on out-of-town trip in the next three days, so I failed to take photos. When I came back, the buds were already fully opened. I spent the next week enjoying the grandeur of the waling-waling flowers until its fullest bloom. i took snapshots until the petals started to wilt, but i am not posting those pictures here.
Being an amateur photographer, I did not get the best photo composition deserving of the waling-waling. But I am happy with the thought that I had the patience to go back to the same spot almost every day for 3 weeks to observe and to take snapshots of the Queen of Orchids as it bloomed.
Should you want to see the series of pictures again watch the slideshow below. Just click the photo for the slide to move to the next one.