Synopsis of a Philippine Legend: "the Ylang-ylang’s Poignant Origin"

A charming legend relates the origin of a Philippine tree called Ylang-Ylang.


Image via Wikipedia

      Children are a gift of God. He freely opens His hands and provides these joys of life. But in His inscrutable wisdom He sometimes withholds His blessing.

      Sadly, Dumaleg had never heard of the true Creator of heaven and earth. Yet somehow he understood that a higher power was watching over him. So when year after year passed without witnessing the arrival of children, Dumaleg did not fret, but resigned himself to the will of the gods that he ignorantly worshipped.

     But his wife Amara was very unhappy about the matter. So Dumaleg decided to consult a managanito, a sort of soothsayer who pretended to have supernatural wisdom. The managanito told Dumaleg that the gods did not like it that he had married a wife. They had destined him to raise plants instead of a family. Dumaleg was indeed a gifted gardener.

      Eventually, through the supernatural mediation of the managanito, Dumaleg and Amara rejoiced in the birth of a baby girl. But the gods imposed a significant restriction on the new-born child. She was never supposed to marry, and the parents were instructed to see to it that she didn’t.

      The happy parents endeavored to fulfill the will of the gods. They named the baby Ylang-Ylang, which means: “Never to be touched.”  She was a beautiful child, and grew up to be a beautiful young lady, as fresh and luxuriant as the flowers that adorned her father’s well-kept garden.

Image via Wikipedia

      But in spite of her parents’ efforts to seclude her from the eyes of men, the decree of the gods was eventually violated. While her parents were visiting a nearby town to get supplies, young man happened to catch sight of Ylang-Ylang as she walked about in her father’s garden. She avoided touching him on this and subsequent occasions; but on their final encounter, he gave her a bouquet of flowers. As he handed them to her, their fingers touched; and Ylang-Ylang immediately disappeared.

      In her place, a new tree appeared that never had graced the earth before. It had beautiful foliage and fragrant flowers. This marvelous tree has propagated itself and lent charm to the Philippine countryside. Its name is Ylang-Ylang.


“Tales from the Land of Salt” by Emmanuel S. Síson

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1 Comment
  1. Posted September 20, 2010 at 11:03 am

    i miss pinoy legends!

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