Palaw Blooms…


I was in the flower section of the Carbon market yesterday morning looking for some greens and blooms for a event today. I circled through the market three times and was uninspired until one of the vendors pulled out a humongous, and for me, an unfamiliar bloom, which she called “palaw”. It apparently comes from an almost gabi like plant, which thrives near rivers or wet areas, and the root is apparently edible, though fibrous. Intrigued, I asked how many blooms she had and she pointed to a humongous unopened bundle of 45 blooms, which had arrived just minutes before. A bit of bargaining, and I ended up with the entire bundle for PHP600 or roughly PHP13 (30 U.S. cents) per bloom.


The blooms are hardy, and on closer inspection, possess interesting patterns, colors and textures. It’s nice to find something so common (apparently, though I haven’t seen it before), so economically priced and beautiful to boot.


A low glass vase, a bunch of “horsetail” greens and three palaw blooms resulted in an easy, appealing and incredibly reasonably priced arrangement. NEVER think it ALWAYS costs a lot of money to have flowers/greens for a special or everyday meal.


Total price for a five foot tall arrangement ? PHP90 or $2. Have a bigger budget? You might like this arrangement, instead.


27 Responses

  1. What a beautiful contemporary flower arrangement!!! Please make sure you include these wonderful tabletop ideas in your cookbook. Thank you for sharing.

  2. wow! i never imagined you could do a tall arrangement like that on a short container! very elegant, MM.

    talking about palaw, my waray mom-in-law talked all the time about this huge gabi-like rootcrop growing in marshland or by the riverbanks, with flowers “similar to anthurium”. what a thrill for me to finally see it!

    she said the best versions of that yummy leyte delicacy called “binagol” is made with palaw, while the cheaper ones are made with gabi, and the difference , apparently, is major. i wouldn’t know, i loved all the binagols i ever came across.

  3. My kind of arrangement…nice and cheap. I’d rather have a fruit arrangement if I can’t have fresh flowers but with ikebana sometimes one flower is enough. I have collected some unique and antique frogs for flower arrangements. They’re fun!

  4. I wonder how many more usually ‘unseen’ flowers we have in our country lurking in the forests, riversides,etc…thanks for bringing them to our consciousness,MM. More luck in discovering and sharing them with us!

  5. This is the first time I’ve seen Palaw blooms. Your flower arrangement looks so easy to make… yet so elegant!

  6. I googled for Anthurium Amnicola to read about it. Your Palaw blooms are outstanding in size, shape, form, and color than the ones in the various photos I saw. Great find!

  7. wow, what a bargain! anthuriums are so expensive here. i like the color of this variety, very subdued yet you made it look elegant. the tindera was probably happy to get rid of them thinking no one was gonna buy them. :)
    (@millet: i love the lamp, too!)

  8. if these are indeed palaw flowers, i hope your vendor has the palaw root. i’ve never seen one, and it’s supposed to be huge, as in half a meter across or bigger!

  9. Hi MM, I’ve been a fan but only had the guts to comment now. ;) I am not really a fan of having plants indoors, but I just fell in love with this.

    Who would’ve thought that such a small container could (and would) hold up such tall arrangement? Kudos to you, MM! As always, you leave me in awe.

    (PS – I’m from the Philippines and I’m surprised that my IP address registers a US-based computer)

  10. bumblebee, the container has to be packed tight with the horsetails so they have no choice but to stand straight. The leaves are relatively light, hence the balance is possible. millet, I haven’t seen the root, but have made it known I am on the lookout for them. betty q, thanks for that, I couldn’t figure out what their scientific name was…

  11. millet, :) betty q, hmmm… I don’t think that’s the right scientific designation. The blooms I had were over a foot long. And the leaves they send were gabi like or taro like (not necessarily from the same plant)… I gotta see these at the source… :)

  12. Waiting for your post to see palaw at the source – you said marshy areas, take out the waders, right? what a beauty of an arrangement.

  13. In Manila, palaw blooms are expensive… Between 50-100php per bloom, depending on its size. So yes, you got yourself a very good deal :)

  14. MM for $2.00 you can creative a more conducive enviroment for your writing and cooking experiments. I am truly impressed with your creative abilities. Can your future book also include your flower arrangements for the complete entertainment guide?

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