Finding Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower in Mindanao, The Philippines: Seeing the Unseen

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ March 15th, 2010. Updated on September 12th, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Discover World Culture » Philippines.
Rafflesia schadenbergiana in the Philippines

Rafflesia schadenbergiana in the Philippines

Seeing the Unseen: and finding something rare in Mindanao 

 No matter how long you stay in a country, you will never truly know it. I know this to be true. There will always be something new to discover and see. It’s not all about what’s in the guidebooks “must see” list.

Where is Rafflesia found in The Philippines?

The worlds largest flower (though it’s a plant) the Rafflesia only blooms once a year, and at that only for 5 days. Though found in Borneo, it’s not easy to catch in bloom. In the Philippines it’s the rarest flower and, only found in Mindanao. I tried once to go see it out of bloom, and failed miserably … Then …

It started as a quick notion of something to do on a weekend in Mindanao. I’d vaguely heard of the worlds largest flower Rafflesia. Something about a giant parasitic flower that was really a plant that smelled of rotting meat and attracted flies once a year.

What’s more I learned that it only populates in Indonesian and Malaysian Borneo. In fact, not only is Rafflesia schadenbergiana a rare flower to be found blooming in world, but its the rarest flower in the Philippines.

I was lucky enough after a previous attempt to see the flower to get a call letting me know the rafflesia had just bloomed. It was only open to scientific researchers though …

Read the full story about the Rafflesia in The Philippines here …

Coming soon on Seeing the Unseen: The river miners of Mindanao

This is an additional post and one of a series highlighting the island of Mindanao & the people living in The Philippines

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19 Great responses to Finding Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower in Mindanao, The Philippines: Seeing the Unseen

  1. mary beth. says:

    brilliant. i just found your blog via heels and wheels – i’m trying to do some travelling of my own now – and this has actually proved to be really helpful, and just plain interesting. i won’t get so far as mindanao, but i can say that varanasi is one of my favourite cities in the entire world and i’m looking forward to reading more.

    • -mary beth- Hi Mary Beth, great to have you stop by via the good people over on heels and wheels. There’s a lot to see in the Philippines, so I’m sure you’ll get to see lots elsewhere on the islands. Mindanao does not have a lot of tourist infrastructure, and is currently undergoing power outages too!

      Varanasi in North India is also one of my favorite places. The color, light, vibrancy, it’s an amazing place. I hope you continue to enjoy the articles here, you’re welcome back anytime! (All your comments have now been set up to show straight away)

  2. jessiev says:

    very cool!! i’ll have to click through to read more, eh?…

    • -jessiev- Yep, this series are excerpts for my Stories page. It’s worth clicking through for more pics and the full write up :)

      -keira- It’s weird looking alright. The great thing about a place like Mindanao, is that the tourist infrastructure is not to the level of other countries whereby you have to stand 30 feet back, unless you are a botanist with permits. So yes, I did get to touch. And, yes, it is quite rubbery. That said, the locals are very protective of the flower, and do watch over it like hawks. Which is a good thing.

      -Nomadic Chick- That’s the look of it alright. I think some sci-fi movies might have based a few things on it alright. Most great inspirational ideas seem to come from nature, for good reason!

  3. keira says:

    That is one weird looking flower. It looks rubbery. I guess they wouldn’t let people touch it, hey?

  4. It looks like some alien creature! Goes to show, nature is very powerful, so why do humans constantly mess with it?

  5. riko says:

    it looks kind of pretty in a scary sort of gross-ish way :)

    • -riko- ha ha, yes it is a little scary looking. Smells bad too. It attracts flies that way.

      -JoAnna- Yep it’s really big. It only blooms once a year, and for only 5 days. So to get to see one takes a little planning. I think the one’s in Malaysian Borneo are easier to see.

  6. JoAnna says:

    I was just reading about this plant the other day and saying how I had to see this in person at some point in my life. That thing is absolutely huge!!

  7. floreta says:

    wow, i’m a little confused why you didn’t just go to borneo or indonesia to see it? and you actually got a media pass to see this thing!! that’s really cool. you must be someone important. :) i think i have seen this plant in pictures but never in person!!

    • -floreta- Hi & welcome!

      I was in the Philippines, got the call it was blooming, so went for it! It only blooms for 5 days once a year, so you take it when it happens! Someone important? Sure, but then we all are :) Asking for a press pass is actually quite easy if you can back it up. And yep, it’s quite impressive in person, the smell too!

  8. Ivy says:

    I knew it would be difficult for you to see the flower. The one thing i’ve learned is that there are such plants in the Philippines too. Thanks! :)

    • -Ivy- It certainly took a while! Not an easy thing to catch in Bloom. It seems the Philippines is almost like the edge of the eco-sphere, lots things here, but in short supply.

  9. Houston employment attorney says:

    Interesting flower. I’ve never seen this before. Thanks for sharing.

  10. tburdphotos says:

    How wonderful to be able to see something so rare and amazing!

  11. Ikam says:

    it is not only found in mindanao. there are 10 species found in the country. kalinga, antique and central panay, mount makiling in laguna, bicol, mt. banahaw in quezon and some parts of mindanao.