Travel Theme Challenge: Fragrance


Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack challenge for the week is Fragrance.

How does one picture fragrance? By taking a photo of an item that evokes sweet fragrance, like flowers? I must be strange because although I planted flowers in my garden by their sweet smell, I never liked wearing them. I mean if I have to pick a perfume I stay away from floral scents. Call me plain vanilla, but that is how I am. I want subtle and simple.

For my entry this week, honeysuckle and ylang-ylang.

Back in the days when I was still in the Philippines, I’ve only known honeysuckle through Avon perfumes. The vine does not grow in the tropics but the first time I smelled it was in Greece, in my boss’s garden in the middle of Peloponnese.

It was the middle of summer – August, it was hot and dry in Greece. By the family chapel dedicated to her lost sister, there was a vine creeping and it was in bloom. I’ve never seen it before so I went to ask him and he said his mother planted that honeysuckle. I took some and kept them in my pocket and made a mental note to order a plant as soon as I get back to the US.

Our talk of honeysuckle didn’t end there. My curiosity gave him an idea to gather some of the blooms, wrapped it in foil and brought it back to her Mom who lives with them since he lost his father. At the time I was there, she could not make it to Greece so instead he brought her back something that would remind her of home.

This memory of my boss is just one more manifestation of how lucky I am to be working for 30 years for someone who’s truly a wonderful human being.

I did get my honeysuckle and I had years to enjoy it. It hardly grows in Zone 5 but I planted it behind my magnolia tree to protect it from the Winter elements.

Everytime I see honeysuckle, a picture of my boss giving this priceless gift to his mother comes to mind. A simple act of love. I could just imagine how happy she was.

Another fragrance that I couldn’t forget is ylang-ylang or ilang-ilang or scientifically known as cananga odorata. It is a tree native to the Philippines with small flowers that one could smell in the whole neighborhood. Its oil is essential in perfumery or aromatherapy.

Its perfume is so rare that if I see one at the store I probably won’t hesitate to get it.


This entry was posted in Friendships, Philippines, Photo Challenge, Vacation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Travel Theme Challenge: Fragrance

  1. Perfect BloggersTech says:
  2. Perfect BloggersTech says:
  3. Agree with you on scents. There are those to be enjoyed in a garden, on a summer evening walk or even in a vase of flowers, but those we are inclined to wear are often very different. I tend towards the musky — don’t know what that says about me. And yes, we often forget how evocative scent can be. It’s good that honeysuckle revives such good memories for you.


  4. bebs1 says:

    I like musk too but my favorites are citrus smell – they smell fresh for me and uncomplicated.


  5. Amy says:

    This is a beautiful, moving story of fragrance, Bebs. You sweet memory will always be carried with the special fragrance. Love the honeysuckle photo 🙂


  6. fathersunny says:

    Wow ylang-ylang!!! That to me is top calibre fragrance. Such natural sweet scent! And so takes me back to the streets of the Philippines… And the May flower processions. 🙂


  7. lolaWi says:

    ilang ilang is definitely a classic. but i love the freshness of sampaguita! that is my favorite! 🙂


  8. bebs1 says:

    Thank you Amy and Happy Thanksgiving to you!


  9. bebs1 says:

    Remember the kids in Quiapo peddling sampaguita leis with ylang-ylang?


  10. bebs1 says:

    I like sampaguita too but ylang-ylang is so rare and special.


  11. Vivien says:

    love honeysuckle for my body wash, ylang ylang I will take anytime if they have it in perfume, I most certainly will buy one, of course, lola wi, sampaguita is the best fragrance, wonder why they don’t make perfume/cologne of the flowers back home? I bet it will be a best seller!!!!


  12. bebs1 says:

    They have sampaguita, they call it jasmine in the west.


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