The “Queen Orchid of the Philippines,” the Waling-waling. Once on the verge of extinction from covetous orchid hunters in the Philippines, its came under the protection of activists and conservations.
In 2016, as part of our organization transformation, we adopted the name Purple Centers Foundation, a name inspired by our new symbol: the treasured Waling-waling orchid, known for its purple hue, its resilience in adversity and the symbiotic relationship it shares with its host tree, which enables the orchid to grow and fulfill its potential in nature.
The Waling-waling is originally found only in the Philippines and typically only in old growth forests. I grows on treetops, specifically on tall diptherocarps or hardwood tropical trees. As stated beautifully by our friends at Doon Po Sa Amin:
“The Waling-waling shares a relationship of commensalism with its tree. It is not a parasite and doesn’t harm it. It climbs towards the treetops as it grows, reaching for the sunlight. It symbolizes higher aspirations and the perseverance to do it.”
Purple has always been apart of our history in here-and-there ways, but the royal color took on new significance when we painted our formidable Tondo center purple in 2015— a literal beacon of color and vitality in a rather grey and harsh corner of Manila. But make no mistake! Tondo isn’t distressed because of its kids and youth—they are full of hope and joy and grit and determination. They are the Waling-walings of Tondo. And we are just one of their trees, an enabling host for them to take root in and grow their talents and skills from—and bloom.
Ballet students of the Purple Centers take center stage during a photo shoot in the middle of their community.