Giant Rafflesia found in Full Bloom
Antique is famous for its quiet shores and majestic bodies of water, including the Batabat Coral Reef and Batbatan Island. Aside from wonderful tourist destinations in the area, Antique is also home to the gigantic flower Rafflesia. Just recently, the endemic Rafflesia lobata in Igbaclag Cave, Brgy. Aningalan and Rafflesia speciosa in Mt. Igtulahong, Brgy. Tubudan were reported to be in full bloom. Both barangays are located in San Remegio, Antique.
Netizen and Antique tourism mover Flord Nicson J. Calawag shared this information and photos on his facebook account.
The full blooming of these critically endangered Rafflesia species only last for 3-5 days.
The Rafflesia was discovered in 1818 by Stamford Raffles and Dr. James Arnold. The giant flower can reach the size, when in bloom, of 106.7 centimetres (3 ft. 6 in) diameter and 11 kilograms (24 lb) weight, with petal-like lobes an inch thick. The Rafflesia is endemic to Southeast Asian countries and the Philippines is one of the places where the giant flower can be found. Out of the 38 species in the world, 10 can be found in the country. The Rafflesia grows in Quezon, Laguna, Antique, South Cotabato, Panay, Kalinga, and Quirino, Compostela Valley and the Bicol region.
Also called as the “corpse flower,” the giant Rafflesia is a parasitic plant. When the flower blooms, it emits a foul odor that attracts flies and insects. The flies and insects will cause the pollination from one flower to another. The plant, however, even with its extreme ability to adapt and survive, is now declared to be endangered. There are only few of the Rafflesia plant growing in the country, however research about the plant has not been completed. The Rafflesia rarely blooms, sometimes it takes years before it will fully bloom.
The Rafflesia speciosa was discovered in 2002 by Dr. Julie Barcelona and Dr. Edwino Fernando in the mountains of Antique Province. On the other hand, the first Rafflesia lobata was discovered by the locals during their study of the Philippine Spotted Deer (Cervus alfredi) under the direction of Rene Galang in Sebaste, Antique.
In other neighboring countries, the giant Rafflesia has been recognized as a national flower. In the Philippines, however, research and information dissemination is poor. Rafflesia thrives in dark and humid forests, therefore access to these plants is difficult. Most of the Rafflesia species in the country were discovered accidentally. More studies are being conducted to know more about the plant.
To see one of the biggest flowers in the world, you may contact San Remigio Tourism Office @ 0908-5663379, Tubudan Community-based Tourism Organization (CBTO) @ 0915-1810756 or Aningalan CBTO @ 0905-8231021.