LA CASTELLANA, Negros Occidental – A coffee farmer from Barangay Mansalanao found one of the largest flowers in the world in a protected area inside Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park.
Farmer Romulo Labrador said he first spotted the Rafflesia blooms - sometimes called a corpse flower because of its foul odor - in the area in 2014.
He did not know what it was until Tuesday, when he was with some representatives of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources who were surveying the area for a riverbank rehabilitation project.
"I did not know what it was. I told the DENR guy not to step on the flowers then he told me that these are not ordinary flowers,” Labrador told ABS-CBN in local dialect.
Local officials confirmed that the two large flowers are Rafflesias.
One old bloom, which had already dried up, measures 18 inches in diameter. The new bloom measures around 12 inches in diameter.
Authorities said Rafflesias bloom from April to May every year.
The local government is set to put a fence around the riverbank where Rafflesias are blooming.
Anejo Nicor, executive assistant to the Mayor, said they do not want people to flock to the area to protect the blooms. The area is also protected by DENR so it is not open to the public.
He added that he also received information from other farmers that the same species of flower can be found in Barangay Sag-ang and Cabagnaan.
"We are lucky to have cherry blossoms and Rafflesia. This goes to show how diversified our land is," Nicor said.