07 Aug2010


With 200 parents, staff and guests looking on, Father Tito Caluag gave a short invocation, and Secretary of Education Brother Armin Luistro and Mayor Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat of Binan held onto the “ribbon” and cut into it in two places, signifying the official opening of the new Beacon Academy in Binan, Laguna. :)


The “ribbon” was made up of thirty separate four-yard long strands of sampaguita blooms, braided or twisted into a cord that was roughly 2-2.5 inches in diameter. I figured there were some 12,000+ buds in all, a mind-boggling exercise in threading each flower onto abaca fiber. Once cut, the ends of the “ribbon” fell gracefully to the columns holding them up. The fragrance near the sampaguita ribbon was intoxicating…


I am getting a little wiser in my old age, and I didn’t have to string this massive garland myself. With the help of MF (thank you!), I identified a supplier from San Pedro, Laguna, the epicenter of sampaguita wholesaling, and arranged to have a total 120 yards worth of sampaguita made Friday night, for pick-up early on Saturday morning. At the venue, we simply put all 30 strands together, twisted them a bit so they stayed reasonably tight and tiddy, and secured them to the purpose built (and heavily weighted) wood columns. Some blue and green ribbons hid the hooks. The original plan to place the ribbon at the entrance door was revised when it was obvious how hot and muggy it was outdoors. What should have been a “drop” of flowers all the way to the floor was shortened in order to increase the width of the ribbon…


I decided to order a sampaguita cord or ribbon for a number of reasons. Sampaguita is special to Laguna, where our school is located. Sampaguita is often present at Filipino ceremonial occasions. It has texture, volume and fragrance. In short, it is simple but spectacular. We like simple but spectacular. As one guest (a former Secretary himself) mentioned, he has attended dozens and dozens of ribbon cuttings over the course of his career, and NEVER once has he seen a ribbon made out of sampaguita. Maybe it will catch on. :)


The black columns holding the ribbons were topped with simple arrangements of white lilies in silver ice buckets repurposed for the day…


The base of the columns had large glass vases filled with winter white hydrangeas. The hydrangeas went wonky on me at the last minute, so they had to be revived and are cut shorter than they should have been. All in all, a relatively low effort, but still unique ribbon cutting ceremony… Thanks to the crew, who are, as usual, the backbone of any activity like this. :)



  1. rose says:

    Love all your flower arrangement ideas!!!!! Goodluck to your new “school” (location)

    Aug 7, 2010 | 8:47 pm


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  3. Mom-Friday says:

    Beautiful garland and bucket of lilies! :D Congratulations on your new campus.

    Aug 7, 2010 | 9:19 pm

  4. jonathan says:

    Yeah…really simple and stunning garland…good luck to the new school.

    Aug 7, 2010 | 10:08 pm

  5. chinachix says:

    what a great idea…minimalist + nationalist + I love the scent of sampaguita. Congratulations!

    Aug 7, 2010 | 10:16 pm

  6. moni says:

    The sampaguita cord is stunning. It’s like a long sampaguita lei, much better than the plumeria lei in Hawaii. Congrats to your new Beacon Academy campus.

    Aug 7, 2010 | 11:38 pm

  7. Tricia says:

    done in good taste I must say! :)) Congratulations!

    Aug 8, 2010 | 12:06 am

  8. natie says:

    pristine!! dazzling white! lovely, MM…yeah, hydrangeas are very thirsty flowers..

    Aug 8, 2010 | 2:07 am

  9. Botchok says:

    Right on, San pedro is considered the sampaguita capital of the Phils. My hometown, proud to be a San pedronian!
    Mayor Len Alonte is also a distant relative of mine.
    Congratulation and more power to Beacon academy.

    Aug 8, 2010 | 3:10 am

  10. Guits says:

    I just love the “ribbon”! There’s nothing like the sweet scent of the flower that says “sumpa kitang mamahalin”.
    Congratulations on the opening of the new Beacon Academy.

    Aug 8, 2010 | 4:53 am

  11. peanut says:


    Aug 8, 2010 | 6:11 am

  12. Melanie says:

    Congratulations and more power to your and all the other parents’ efforts to have a great school for our youth! May your tribe increase!

    Aug 8, 2010 | 7:16 am

  13. Clarissa says:

    We used to thread sampaguita buds on walis tingting sticks and decorate the karosa (sp?) for the salubong on Easter :) it was a cool sight, with the buds blooming from a bajillion sticks stuck around the karosa, and the scent wafting behind the karosa as we walked behind it :)

    Aug 8, 2010 | 7:39 am

  14. linda says:

    BRAVO!!! Good on you ,MM! It takes guts and determination to achieve such a venture!
    Wishing you all the success you deserve and if you were an Aussie you’ll be awarded a knighthood for your deeds.

    Aug 8, 2010 | 7:54 am

  15. britelite says:

    was wondering what time will kids leave lets say Makati to be on time for their 730am class?

    Aug 8, 2010 | 9:01 am

  16. mbw says:

    the scent must have been heavenly as well! Congrats to the Beacon team!!!

    Aug 8, 2010 | 9:32 am

  17. millet says:

    congratulations! everything is classy and just right.

    Aug 8, 2010 | 12:53 pm

  18. andrea says:

    i always love the combination of blue & green…and the simple & elegant ideas from MM.

    Aug 8, 2010 | 3:55 pm

  19. chloe says:

    Everything I see in these photos are simply elegant and stunning and the sampaguita “ribbon” is a brilliant idea, MM!!!!

    C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S to the Beacon Team!

    Aug 9, 2010 | 6:35 am

  20. Blaise says:

    Simple and Spectacular indeed! :)

    Aug 9, 2010 | 11:04 am

  21. Marketfan says:

    Nice idea, MM. The sampaguita arrangements in Malacanang during P-Noy’s inauguration were also wonderful, especially those dropping from the chandeliers.

    Aug 9, 2010 | 11:46 am

  22. kitongzki says:

    Great flowers MM… Hmm… That school is near my place and my best friend’s father is a City Councilor there in Binan, Laguna. :)

    Aug 9, 2010 | 5:58 pm

  23. EC says:

    beautiful…. as expected, MM! Congratulations!

    Aug 10, 2010 | 10:43 am

  24. QueenB says:

    Wonderful! I remember my Mother-in-law’s wedding flowers are sampaguita I love the smell of sampaguita.

    Aug 10, 2010 | 11:35 am

  25. jack says:

    love the concept of using sampaguita garland as ribbon, how unique :)

    congratulations MM and to your Beacon team!

    Aug 11, 2010 | 12:34 am

  26. MTriumph/DC says:

    This is such a brilliant and pioneering concept! Bravo!

    Aug 11, 2010 | 12:43 pm

  27. Novice says:

    Ingenious creativity, MM! Good luck to this latest venture. Btw, how much did the sampaguita ribbon cost?

    Aug 11, 2010 | 5:20 pm

  28. Lyn says:

    Would like to know how much would that particular
    String? Was considering it for a church aisle decor.
    Thanks so much.

    Feb 4, 2012 | 9:33 am


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