The Philippine fauna offers about 3000 plant species from giant trees to mosses and lichens. This is due to its rich volcanic rich soil, bright sunshine, and sufficient rain all through the year. I especially like the variety of architectural foliage that gives strong impact to the flower arrangements. Hence whenever I have the chance to visit my home country, I always try to create an Ikebana or two using local flowers and leaves.

A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to make several arrangements for my family and friends back home.

 

Highlighting Philippine Flora in Ikebana

 

Since I started learning Ikebana, I always try to incorporate fresh and dry materials related to the Philippines. This is my way of sharing to the world the beauty of my home country.

 

Flowers for My Father

 

My recent trip to Manila was a mix of sadness and happiness. Coming home this time was difficult especially without my father welcoming me at the airport. It was during the second week of September when I received a news that he is not well and was brought to the hospital. At that time, I was preparing for our annual Ikebana exhibition at Seishincho Community Center. I tried to come home but due to a major typhoon in Manila, flights were cancelled.

 

September 15. As I prepare my exhibition piece, my thoughts were of my father smiling and laughing. My exhibition piece represents the happy moments with him. Around 5:00 pm my time, my cousin told me he passed away.

 

This Year's Exhibition Piece Dedicated to My Father

 

September 19. Directly from the airport, we drove straight to Dangwa Flower Market to buy flowers for my father. This would be the first and last time that I will make some flower arrangements for him. As I want people to remember him as a happy person, I tried to create two arrangements that are different from the usual people see at funerals.

 

White Orchids and Anthuriums

 

Anthuriums, White Lilies, and Snap Dragons (Azucena flowers) for Mang Ping

 

Ikebana for My Family and Friends

 

After the funeral, I had sometime to meet some of my cousins and friends before I got busy with KIDS Club activities. It was also a great opportunity for me to show them some of my Ikebana works in real and not only in photos. I used flowers that are commonly found in local flower shops; leaves that can also be seen in a Philippine garden; and containers from a local department store.

 

Sunflowers and Purple Mums with Philodendron Leaves for a Japanese Restaurant in Manila

 

Philippine flora ikebana
A Welcome Arrangement for Zaan Japanese Teahouse

 

Sunflower for My Cousin

 

A Simple Ikebana for My Cousin

 

Combining Three Different Arrangements for the Tokonoma

 

Flowers for KC and Karen

 

I was also able to teach a few Ikebana techniques to my cousin while I am in Manila. His work was fabulous.

 

Mentoring My Cousin

 

An Arrangement Made by My Cousin Regie

 

Hopefully in the near future, I would be able to hold an exhibition in Manila. For now, I am grateful to be able to share my Ikebana passion with my family and friends.