Sto. Niño, Phalaenopsis and Alikaraw FestivalThe Petal Fairies have a very important job – together with their magic petals they help to make sure that flowers grow and bloom in the human world. They are the ones who are responsible in making our environment ideal to live for. Do you not feel around your brows a softer and sweeter air than you ever breathed before? Do you not perceive, in spite of the obscurity that veils your sight, a light more brilliant, and penetrating, and delightful? It is because our environment is blessed with tropical plants like palms, lilies and orchids.
In Leyte, you will find rare flora and fauna; a garden where the productions of wild flowers in every zone and clime are united, and live together in friendly concurrence. The brilliant tropical flowers are seen at the side of the green grasses and the aloes near the periwinkle. Palm-trees spread their fan-like leaves above a grove of acacias, whose white flowers are faintly tinged with red. In moist branches grow orchids that mingle their sweet colors and their crimson glow. The red, pink, white colored petals, and a thousand flowers which arrest the eye, but which we need no name, here mingle in harmonious groups, or form beautiful
Eden. All these flowers live, breathe, and converse, as they interchange odors. It is believed that fairies dwell in these gardens to protect the flowers.
Of all flowers that bloom in the forestof Leyte, there is one rare orchid species that Leyteños are very proud of: the Phalaenopsis orchid that grows wildly in moist branches. It is named after a group of large moths because the flowers of some species resemble moths in flight. For this reason, the species are sometimes called Moth orchids. Little is known about their habitat and their ecology in nature since little field research has been done in the last decades. In the wild they are typically found below the canopies of moist and humid lowland forests, protected against direct sunlight, but equally in seasonally dry or cool environments. The species have adapted individually to these three habitats. They bloom in their full glory for several weeks.
Old stories tell us that there are three elemental fairies that made it possible for this orchid to bloom for several weeks. The Water Fairy, Air Fairy and the Light Fairy sway their magic petals to make around the feet of the trees, shrubs, and plants, countless blooms as water and soft wind flow caressing petals around. The petal fairies as flower guardians are responsible in making sweet colors and fresh respire in the forest.
However, Leyteños believe that magic and fairies are not enough to make their pride show off with brilliance. With the faith of the Holy Child, the powerful Sto. Niño, this beautiful orchid will generate more colorful breeds in the future. More exquisite blooms and scenic gardens will come to reality through constant praising and prayers to the Holy Child. Thus, Tribu Alikaraw make a constant ritual to praise with gratitude to the Holy Child for showering Leytewith enchanting tropical forests where lovely orchids bloom. There is no definite dance step in the ritual, — yet you seem to be enveloped by the universal harmony, as in one of the concerts which we hear in our dreams – and this is the breeze which sighs, murmurs, plays, and sings some melody to every flower.