MANILA — A pathologist has named a pink orchid hybrid after presidential contender, Vice President Leni Robredo, saying it was "a labor of love fit for one who labors for Filipinos."
Dr. Raymundo Lo said it took 7 years for the orchid to pollinate and bloom, and another 4 years before he decided to name it after Robredo.
“I generally don’t just name orchids willy-nilly, dapat may significance 'yung pinapangalanan ko (the name should have significance)," he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News on Friday.
The "Rhyncholaeliocattleya Leni Robredo" named after the Vice President was pollinated back in 2010 from a red Chunyeah orchid and a yellow Malvarosa Sunrise orchid, said Lo.
It bloomed only in 2017, he said.
The flower sat unnamed in Lo's greenhouse until October last year, when Robredo declared her bid for the presidency.
"I was mulling over kanino ko ba ipapangalan ito (whom I will name it after). I was really desperate during that time because of what I’m seeing in our country. I was desperately hoping somebody would come along, and being a symbol of hope for us to get back to the Philippines I knew before," Lo said.
"[A country] na disente, may pagpapahalaga sa tao, sa buhay, yun ang hinahanap ko. And when VP Leni Robredo announced her candidacy after several months of waiting for her to do that, that just clicked. I said, I’m going to name this orchid after her," he continued.
(The Philippines that was decent, treated its people with dignity. When Vice President Leni Robredo announced her candidacy after waiting several months for her to do that, it just clicked that I will name the orchid after her.)
The Royal Horticultural Society releases a quarterly registry, which is an official list of orchid hybrids across the globe.
Lo's "Rhyncholaeliocattleya Leni Robredo" can be found in the October-December 2021 registry.
The flower is "a labor of love fit for one who labors for Filipinos," Lo said on Twitter earlier in the day.
"It should be named after someone deserving of it. How do you honor somebody who has done a lot for the people? ...This is my humble way of doing it," he told ABS-CBN News.
For Lo, naming an orchid after a person immortalizes them. Three years ago, he named another of his hybrids after his mother, Corazon.
Lo, former director of Philippine Children's Medical Center, said the flower named after Robredo was not yet in commercial production.
"I have to have it mericloned to get thousands of exact copies of this flower," he said.
Robredo is hoping to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte in the May 9 polls. Her campaign color is pink, which she earlier said represented love and willingness to listen.