San Pedro’s Sampaguita

  

It was Governor General Frank Murphy, the last American governor of the Philippines, who proclaimed, by decree on February 1, 1934, the sweet and fragrant sampaguita (Jasminus sambac) as the country’s national flower. Since then presidents and kings, movie stars and sports champions have been receiving sampaguita leis as part of the Filipino welcome.  

 

 

From vendors that can be found anywhere, people buy sampaguita garlands to adorn saints and personal gods, to welcome guests, to convey good wishes, or simply to decorate and perfume a room or a car.  

 

 

Fancy garlands, floral crowns, rosaries and other imaginative arrangements are ordered for special occasions such as graduations, birthdays, funerals, fiestas, the arrival of VIPs, etc. 

 

 

 

Sumpa Kita

 

Legend has it that the sampaguita plant sprouted from the gravesite of a young maiden who died awaiting the return of her betrothed. Before he left, the young lovers had pledge love and fidelity and were to have been married upon his return.  

 

 

Alas, for reasons that are not part of the legend, he never returned, and the poor maiden carried her pledge to the grave. She was buried on the site –at the foot of a large tree, where they had made their pledge, “sumpa kita” (I pledge to you), and the small, white flowers are an eternal testimony of the pledge.

 

 

Sampaguita Farms of San Pedro

 

I’ve learn from Jessica Soho on her recent report that not too long ago, the town of San Pedro in the province of Laguna supplies most of the sampaguita garlands sold in Manila.  

 

 

Old folks of the town recall that it was Tandang Seto who first picked the little white flowers off the plants in front of houses and strung them into garlands. Tandang Seto would go around from house to house picking the buds himself, but pretty soon he was buying flowers from the townsfolk two centavos for a hundred buds. 

 

 

Sensing (or in this case smelling) opportunity, the people of San Pedro began to cultivate sampaguita plants, harvest the buds and sell them to Tandang Seto, his sister Tandang Osiang and others like them.

 

Since then, sampaguita farms ranged from houses with several plants in the front and back yards to entire plots with several hundred, even thousands, fully-grown, flowering plants. They grow to a bushy height of about five feet, with buds growing in clusters at the end of the branches.  

 

 

Mang Maning, who owns one of the largest and the remaining sampaguita plantations located near the town proper shares that substantial irrigation are needed in order for the plant to begin to flower after less than a year and continue to do so for many years. However, the number sampaguita farms in San Pedro has narrowed down rapidly through the years because of what used to be large areas for sampaguita plantations has been converted into residential areas.  

 

 

Sampaguita pickers starts at dawn and work until mid-day. The buds are dropped into puches tied around the waist of the picker, and measured out later in liter cans. An expert picker can fill-up to ten cans in one morning. Only full-grown but unopened buds or about four days old are picked for garlands, because full flowers, although most fragrant and prettiest, do not last. The buds are brought directly to the stringers.

 

 

The Sampaguita All-Year Round

 

 

Making of garlands is a neighborhood affair says Mr. Hardy Legaspi. At the Legaspi Compound in Barangay San Vicente, a team of stringers are working on long tables covered with sampaguita buds beginning mid-morning until early evening daily.  

 

Mr. and Mrs. Legaspi offer services for everyday occasions like weddings, birthdays, funerals, inaugurations, anniversaries, debuts and other special events. Their customers would just have to tell them the kind of arrangement they want for their sampaguita. For those who are interested in making an order can call 847.29.88 or visit them at 41 San Vicente Street, Legaspi Compound, San Pedro, Laguna.

 

  

Twelve or twenty buds in different patterns are strung on 24-inch length of abaca twine, usually with a ylang-ylang flower as centerpiece. The garlands are tied up ten to a bundle, and distributed out to vendors all over the city and some nearby towns. 

 

 

Mrs. Baby Legaspi explains that the sampaguita blooms year-round, thus harvesting and stringing are also year-round activities. A double-petal variety is seasonal, but the popular single flower sampaguita blooms all year. Prices vary according to seasons. The sampaguita becomes more expensive during the rainy and typhoon months.  

 

 

Through rain or shine, the demand for sampaguita garlands remains constant. And as constant as the sampaguita’s fragrance is the reminder of a hapless maiden’s pledge of love.

  

 

Related link: San Pedro’s Jasmin by Arnold

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://traveleronfoot.wordpress.com/2008/07/06/san-pedros-sampaguita/trackback/

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26 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Looking for someone supply sampaguita to malaysia.kindly contact me at +60195792233

  2. Looking for someone who can supply sampaguita or dried sampaguita flowers.

    Please email me at aldousb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. hello po pa send naman po ng contact number,email address ng ng sampaguita farm please po thank you po

  4. hi, interesting article, my parents just bought a 600sq.m wide sampaguita plantation here in bataan, but they dont know how to make the flowers bigger, at first they can pick up to 14-16cans in a day, that was on the month of june to july, but this august the flowers are so limited, sometimes they can pick only less than 1 can, how can they grow the flowers again?and make it bigger? pls help us, pls give us advice,
    so that the plantation would still continue, many thanks and god bless

  5. Hi TOF. I am from San Pedro Laguna but I do not have the slightest idea as to where I can find the Sampaguita fields. Shame on me as I have been here for decades, I’ve wandered in Brgy. Nueva but cant spot one. are you from San Pedro? By the way, thank you for the history that you’ve shared about the Sampaguita. Keep on writing. Your blogs are very informative. More power.

  6. Someday I would love to visit a Sampaguita farm.

  7. Hi,
    I have few plots of sampaguita plant in our farm but unfortunately I don’t know where I can sell it’s flower. Can some body help me?. Thanks.

    • From where are you Ms. Remulla? If you are just around a few kilometers from San Pedro, you can sell your sampaguita buds/flower at the “pondohan” here in Brgy. Nueva, just beside the HBC outlet along the Old National Highway in San Pedro. if you want, you can call me at 8082020 local 320, for a more comprehensive details on the sampaguita flowers you have. i can very well help you as i am working here at the LGU of San Pedro. I was the former Tourism Officer of the town and i had dealings with the growers and vendors of sampaguita in the past.

      Thanks a lot and goodluck…

      Sonny Sadia

      • Gud A.M./P.M. Sonny,

        I have a 4-hectare farm here in Bgy. Sapang, Bayambang, Pangasinan with mango trees, rice/corn fields. I have a vacant space where I can plant sampaguita here beside my house.
        Please advise me HOW TO START so I can become a sampaguita supplier here in my area where most people are religious and even proceed to Manaoag Church for their spiritual vows.

        Thanks and God Bless.

        Renato “Rene” C. Calantuan
        Cell # 0920-246-68-29
        E-mail Ad: genesisadam08@yahoo.com

  8. I live in Europe but grew up in the Phils, was wondering if you know of anyway that i could get hold of a plant to grow?

  9. I saw Jessica soho’s feature on laguna. And this sampaguita farm and garland making is one of them. I would like my kids to have sort of educational tour on this farm at the same watch the locals do the garlands. To make the trip more exciting,maybe they can do a hands on in making the garland too. Who can i get in touch with regard to the tour?

  10. Hi Arnold,

    Came across your article. Nicely written and very informative. By the way, I am looking for a Jasmine oil producer. Can you hook me up with your contacts who know of such. Thanks.

  11. Good day! I was browsing through the internet on where I could buy sampaguita for wholesale… my parents will be needing it for an upcoming event in our place.. we are planning to use it as decoration for an altar.. do you have any ides on where(any contact) i could buy sampaguita garlands and how much it might cost us?

  12. Thanks for the information. I was looking for a supplier of sampaguita lei for a our church’s feast day and so glad that you left the information in this article. Thanks for the information. The scent of these flowers are trully magestic.

  13. we are starting to grow sampaguita in our backyard. in time we will be harvesting a lot of buds. anyone interested to buy our produce?

    • hello miss lilit… I’m currently looking for sampaguita growers who might supply me this coming october.. its a small event but my family is really preparing for it.. I was wondering if you could be one.. email me:reyburgos_07@yahoo.com
      hope to hear from you soon!

  14. […] every February. Glenn and Anne Martinez, who manage a blog called Traveler on Foot wrote a fancy piece about their trip to San Pedro’s sampaguita growers and took photos of the year-round […]

  15. Hi TOF, Just read this TrackBack and found it very fun to read. I remember in past years receiving sampaguita leis, and just falling in love with the sweet fragrance… Interesting to know that most come from San Pedro, Laguna. I have since lamented not being able to find sampaguita leis for sale in Cebu. They used to be available outside the Cebu Cathedral, but not for a long time… Does anyone from Cebu know where they be purchased? I do have some plants growing in my yard in the province, but never enough to make leis with! I’ve read that the fragrance of the sampagita is pure enough that one small potted plant can clear and perfume a whole room. Truly must be one of the most fragrant and romantic flowers in the world…

    • we used to have potted sampaguita shrubs queenieebee. We occassionaly place them indoors near the as home accent and to freshen up the bedroom (we also believe its lucky).

      We can’t recall if there any sampaguita sold around Sto. NIno Basilica.

  16. hi,

    i just read the articles about the sampaguita and since i am from san pedro, laguna and one of the florist using sampaguita as bouquet. Quite interested to know some of your article but if you are interested to see some of my works using sampaguita, you can visit sergeigonia.multiply.com and you will see the craft i am doing using sampaguita. Had i known theat you are doing some research , how i wish you could get i touch with me.Hope to hear mote from you thanks and congrats for the write up about the sampaguita

  17. hi. im doing a study on sampaguita too. can I copy some info here? i will cite. thank you.

  18. do you make perfumes made by sampaguitas?

  19. I am an OFW, and I feel interested in growing sampaguita in Mindanao, could it be feasible to grow there and send or bring the buds to your cooperative. thank you

  20. Hi, i’m doing research for a book on children. I hope I can get your name so I can properly credit you on your article.

    thank you!

  21. I didn’t know. I thought you’re from Alabang Arnold. Anyway I’ll be sending you my contact information shortly.

  22. You should’ve informed that you’d visit sn pedro!

    this is my town! – atleast for now.

    lets exchange contacts! (email)!


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