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Oliba up close

Young leaves of oliba with rows of dainty curls at the edges of each frond.

Young leaves of oliba with rows of dainty curls at the edges of each frond.

Oliba is the leaf frond of choice for the celebration of Palm Sunday in Bulusan. Although not technically a palm (it is a cycad), it is the traditional ‘palm’ for the event in our town. Only the matured leaves are harvested for the Palm Sunday’s festivities which is more sustainable than harvesting the young shoots of the true palms.

A closer look on the rows of curls.

A closer look on the rows of curls.

These photos were taken 2 days earlier with the younger leaves of the oliva daintily showing curly rows of leaflets. The curls straighten as it matures into dark green and stiff palm looking leaves. These are gathered for blessings during Palm Sunday.

Zooming in on the cluster of young leaves.

Zooming in on the cluster of young leaves.

Top view of the oliba plant.

Top view of the oliba plant.

Matured leaves on the lower part spread radially from the center of the trunk. Notice the sharp contrast of the texture  of the matured leaves to the young shoots.

Matured leaves on the lower part spread radially from the center of the trunk. Notice the sharp contrast of the texture of the matured leaves to the young shoots.

Cycas revoluta is the scientific name of oliba. More about oliba here:

http://bulusanphotostream.blogspot.com/2013/03/oliba-bulusans-palm-of-choice-for-hosana.html

Photos: Alma P. Gamil

Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

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2 thoughts on “Oliba up close

  1. Beautiful photography as always, Alma. Are the oliba adorned with anything else, like say, crepe paper flowers, or are they left as is when Palm Sunday comes?

  2. Thanks, Jenny. In Bulusan, the oliba frond is often accented only with simple woven palaspas made from young buri or coconut leaves. Generally though, the oliba is complete in itself — cut and bless. No fancy works. Maybe because the oliba frond has leaflets that can be counted in odd number. Folkloric rituals such as during tuob and santigwar require blessed oliba counted by the leaflets.

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