La Flor de Manila
Watch Ax Daliva play La Flor de Manila on his violin
I must be getting homesick, but if there’s something I can’t get out of my head at the moment it’s the Filipino song, La Flor de Manila or what’s currently referred to as the Sampaguita. it’s a song extolling a flower of the jasmine variety that became the national flower of the Philippines.
According to Wikipedia, La Flor de Manila was composed by Dolores A. Paterno who was born in Manila on March 10, 1854 and died on July 3, 1881 at the age of 27. She was the sister of Pedro A. Paterno, a Filipino nationalist and author of the Pact of Biak-Na-Bato where the Spanish government and the Filipino revolutionaries reached an agreement in 1897 to end hostilities.
It was said that Dolores was inspired to write it one moonlit evening when the Sampaguita filled the air with its sweet fragrance emanating from the family garden. She immediately sat down at the piano and the melody just came out of her fingers. Her brother Pedro wrote the lyrics based on their mother’s poem. The song eventually became one of the most popular Filipino classics of all time.
Whenever I hear the Sampaguita, my thoughts go back to college days. It’s not only because the marching band used to play it on special events, but also because college reminds me of that time when we become entitled to all the perks of adulthood with our parents footing the bill.
dolores a. paterno/wikipedia
For a long time, I was wondering how Dolores Paterno looked like. Thanks to the internet, I finally found the above portrait painted by Justiniano Asuncion in 1870. Hopefully, more pictures and details about her life will be discovered and become available to the public in the future.