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PHL absent from this year’s HK Flower Show

22 March 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao

For the first time in 15 years, the Philippines is not represented in the Hong Kong Flower Show, an annual two-week spring spectacular at Victoria Park that attracts more than half a million visitors.

The floral festival opened to the public on Mar 16 with the theme “Joy in Bloom” expressed in the display of some 400,000 flowers, including about 40,000 of the theme flower, the dahlia.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam led the opening ceremonies also graced by Acting Secretary for Home Affairs Jack Chan; Director of Leisure and Cultural Services Michelle Li; deputy chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Anthony Chow; and Miss Hong Kong 2017 Juliette Louie.

The last Philippine participation last year.
“We wanted a participant from the Philippines but that did not push through, so, we pulled out. Soon after, you informed me that Knights of Rizal were removed,” Vice Consul Robert Quintin, head of the cultural section of the Consulate, told The SUN in reply to an enquiry.

“When I asked LCSD about it after you told me, all they did was confirm that KOR were no longer part of the show. We are not privy to anything more that transpired after that,” he added.

Since 2003, the Philippines had been represented in the show by the KOR, which always had its own imposing booth.

But in January, top KOR officer, Dutchman Pieter Nootenboom, told The SUN that the organization had been notified by LCSD it would no longer be able to join the fair and that the Consulate would take on the role.

The Consulate was invited to put up its own booth at the flower show last year, and its display, an everlasting-studded replica of a jeepney, won a “Special Award for Design Excellence”.

The KOR also had its own display marquee featuring a garden with a giant billboard of Presidents Xi Jinping of China and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines shaking hands as the backdrop.

On Sunday, Mar 18, tens of thousands of local and foreign visitors crowded Victoria Park to enjoy the colorful tapestry of flowers and floral designs displayed by more than 200 participating groups and businesses.

The weather went as high as 29.9 degrees Celsius during the day, but the crowd pressed on with their picture-taking beside the flowerbeds, in particular the circular plot of multicolored tulips imported from the Netherlands.

Guests also swamped the country's Van Gogh-themed under a big white tent featuring a fenced off plot planted to rows of ripened wheat, pink tulips, and purple and yellow anthurium.

The flower show will run until Mar 25. 

Organizers say they expect the number of visitors this year to be about the same as last year’s 650,000.

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