OISCA Sunflower Garden is for everyone
Towards the end of the month of September, my Facebook newsfeed has been flooded with posts about the OISCA sunflower garden. Since my daughters love flowers, a visit there was just a must for our family.
Not So Good A Day
The OISCA Sunflower garden is located within the property of the OISCA in Brgy. Tabunan, Bago City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. We went there towards the end of the peak of their blooms, as we couldn’t find the time before that. The weekend before, Shane and I has to travel for two days in order to attend the Grow Happy Nation in Cebu.
So on the day that we decided to go there, it wasn’t exactly a good one. Something happened that stirred my personal space. I was crying all the way to the OISCA. To make matters worse, rain clouds threatened in the horizon while we were about to leave the house. I was highly emotional while the eldest kept praying that God would grant us even just a few minutes with the flowers. We just had to see the sunflowers that day.
OISCA Sunflowers of Hope
For me, and for a lot of people as well, no other flower can lift my spirits up like the sunflowers. Even just looking at a photo of a field, like the one at the OISCA Sunflower Garden, gives me a warm and happy feeling. A sunflower garden photo is also a nice screensaver for the computer. hehe
Why? Just by their appearance, sunflowers are bright and cheery. It exudes warmth, like the sweet summer sun. With its brilliant yellow petals, which are also aptly called as “rays,” sunflowers have the unmistakable sun-like appearance. Hence, its name. When it’s rainy and gloomy, looking at photos of sunflowers is simply uplifting for me.
And lastly, it’s yellow. People who know me also know that I like the color yellow. In food, I associate it with being yummy, creamy, and buttery. In other things, I associate the color yellow with life. 🙂 Heck, our car is also yellow!
Symbolism of Sunflowers
They say that sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty, and even longevity. Not if these are true, as much of the meaning of sunflowers was derived from the sun itself. They are unique because they have the ability to provide energy in the form of nourishment and vibrancy.
Meanwhile, artists throughout the ages have loved the sunflower’s splendor. Those from the Impressionist era were especially fixated on the flower, which is why we have a lot of famous oil paintings with these as subjects. The most notable sunflower paintings were by the brush of famed Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh, who made a series of them. Furthermore, some native societies have also used the images of sunflowers as religious symbols.
Wild sunflowers are often photographed with their tall stalks with their bright petals stretching towards the sun. This interesting behavior is known as phototropism and has inspired many ancient works.
Moreover, sunflowers are also known for being “happy” flowers, making them the perfect gift to bring joy to someone’s day.
Uses of Sunflowers
For many centuries, sunflowers have been cultivated for food. It was reported that these happy flowers originated in the Americas in 1,000 B.C.
Today, sunflowers remain a highly recognized flower. It is admired for its sunny charm and delightful disposition, like a young lady in the spring of youth.
But they are also planted for their seeds. Sunflower seeds are like a staple in our home. My in-laws, husband, and kids, love to much on the seeds. They have great health benefits, too.
Its oil is also a premium item, as it is used for cooking and beauty products. I used to apply sunflower oil on my daughter’s hair every night and the result was a beautifully conditioned mane. It is for this purpose that OISCA is growing sunflowers–for its oil.
Other uses of sunflowers:
- Medicine for respiratory ailments, like bronchitis, using the head
- Oil is used for salad dressings
- An ingredient in margarine and shortening
- Seed cake is given to livestock for food
- Hulls are used for manufacturing ethyl alcohol
- Dried stems may be used for fuel
- Fiber from stems may be used for fabric and paper
Vandalism at the OISCA Sunflower Garden
Where there is a good thing, there would also be people who just want to sabotage it. The OISCA sunflowers were not spared from the work of vandals. Some of them could have been children who were not briefed about how to behave in such a setting.
We know that the OISCA sunflower garden is a novelty in Negros Occidental, but the behavior of some people wasn’t. I was just dismayed, because I am one of those who care about nature. Honestly, I would get hurt whenever I see a tree being chopped down. I am peeved when people just pick on leaves or cut branches just to kill their boredom. At this age, I still do not understand these people and their motives.
We teach manners to our kids, even just basic restaurant manners. When we leave home and go somewhere, we remind them of do’s and don’ts. Of course, they are not perfect and they are kids. So we would remind them again wherever we are, how to act accordingly. These are just basic rules so that they will grow up to become considerate, kind, and responsible human beings. You may or may not be homeschooling like us, but I believe that basic manners should be taught at home.
The OISCA of Bago City is under the OISCA International of Japan. It is a non-profit organization that focuses on Community and Human Resource Development. They achieve their mission through capacity building, agriculture and environmental conservation and restoration.
In Bago City, the whole operations are already independently run by Mr. Watanabe Shigeme and his wife Thelma. This is the first time that they are growing sunflowers for the seeds, from which they intend to extract the oils. In a land area of about 2,500 square meters, they planted approximately 3,200 sunflowers last August.
By about the last week of September, they opened the OISCA Sunflower Garden to the public. People could just go there and enjoy the flowers and have their pictures taken. No entrance fees were required and you can stay for as long as you like during the day. A donation box was just placed at the entrance for anyone who wants to help out for the upkeep.
Happiness for Thousands
Thousands of people have flocked to the OISCA during the short period when the sunflowers were in full bloom. In one day, the highest number of visitors they recorded was more than 10,000! Whoa!
As of October 4, the sunflowers already took a bow. They will soon be harvested.
Being part of the thousands of people who were very happy to have visited the OISCA Sunflower Garden, thank you very much OISCA! Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Watanabe! While a few people chose to vandalize and destroy nature, they were the exceptions. For the rest of us, you are a gem.
Find OISCA on the map.