The Flora & Fauna Symphony

 This is the ninth chapter of the historical fantasy entitled "Rhapsody of Nature."

Synopsis: The island's exotic plant and animal species serenaded the young man...



A small dove was cooing nearby...

Hoooooooooooooooop.... Poo-poo-poo-poo-pooop...


Amethyst Brown Dove
Photo Credit: Rodolfo Quinio through Amethyst Brown-Dove - eBird


Hoooooooooooooooop.... Poo-poo-poo-poo-pooop...

Soon, its friends flew nearby and began to join its cooing.

Poo-poo-roo-poo-poop!


They were sitting on the branches of trees. Esteban looked keenly on their feathers. Their primary color was cappuccino but their chests and necks were adorned with amethyst fur...


We are the flora and fauna

Of these beautiful islands!

We need your assistance

Protect us from foreign hands!


Our habitats are in danger

From the wants of invaders

Truly, we are very scared

But with you, we will dare!


Poo-poo-poo-roo-poo-poop!


We're amethyst brown doves

Music is one of our first loves

We will reveal you the other species

That live here for centuries!


Esteban can't help but stare at the singing and speaking birds. He may have seen plenty of strange things on the island but birds that coo with words were yet another surprising fact about this exotic region.

While staring, he felt something slithering in between his legs. Looking down, he was startled and was made to jump. A serpent slithered through his feet!


Esteban, don't be alarmed!
Ulupongs are friendly...
will do you no harm!
While they can be deadly
--quite venomous--
Towards you, sir, they hold no animus!



Phil. Cobra, known locally as Ulupong.
Photo credit: Mario Lutz 


"How do I know if it'll spare me?!," Esteban screamed his question to the birds who seem to know everything...


If you threaten them,

You will be damned!

The venoms they spit

Reach up to ten feet!


Fortunately, the snake left Esteban unscathed. He was still breathing heavily and shaking out of fear though.

In a very brief moment, he felt the ground moving. "Is it quaking?"

He turned around and noticed a tree growing nearby. In an instant, it reached ten feet high. As soon as it ceased growing, he noticed its barks peeling off, revealing different colors.


Rainbow Eucalyptus

Is what you see

Its resplendent colors

Make it a peculiar tree!


Rainbow Eucalyptus
Image Source: returntonow.net


The tree will make you marvel

At its innate miracle

More vivid than the rainbow

The woods that beam and glow!


"Amazing! I love its colors. Very nice!" Esteban moved closer to see if they're real. He touched the tree's bark. "Indeed!"

While he marveled at its special characteristics, something poke his head from above.

It appears that a stone fell from the tree. Another one fell on his shoulder but, this time, he was able to grab it.

It was a small violet fruit. "Is this the fruit of the tree?"


Young man, it's certainly not

That fruit is from native pili

It contains a productive nut

Whose uses will make you happy!


"Really? Why is that so?"


The tree has dozens of uses

Its oil can be fragrances

Its nuts can be chewy candies

Or blended into luscious purees!


"That's nice. I'd love to see the tree!"

The birds flew to a tree that was earlier knocked off by the rainbow eucalyptus, which partly explains why its fruits fell on Esteban's head.


Pili Fruits
Photo Credit: Starr Environmental through businessdiary.com.ph


As he looked at the tree, he noticed a round yellow object surrounded by what appears to be a black ring. It turns out to be the eye of a lizard, only that it was camouflaging behind the leaves.


The Green Crested Lizard
Photo Source: ecologyasia.com


The green crested lizard

Is a little bit of a wizard

It's sometimes brown, sometimes green

Depending on a certain scene...


While Esteban was still staring at the lizard, the ground shook yet again. "It must be another tree growing from the ground again," he thought.

This time, he sort of sensed that it must be growing on the area near the well...

He went to its direction and looked...


It wasn't really a tree but some colourful shrubs lining up around the well. The shrubs showed what appear to be different shades of pink, red, and white.


These shrubs are the queens

Of these islands called Philippines

Beautiful in their own right

All very charming by sight!


"I'm the prettiest!" one of them proclaimed. 

"Oh no, no, no! You're not! I am!"

As they fought the silly contest, the birds continued singing...


White is Doña Aurora

Red's Doña Evangelina

But the best, the creamy pink

Is Queen Sirikit!


"How dare you, little birds!" the dark pink shrub exclaimed. "It is, I, Doña Alicia that's certainly the best!"

"Don't be delusional! You are not. I am!" the pink one disagreed. "I am Doña Luz after all!"

"You may be fighting for the best, but I will always be the original!" Doña Aurora quipped.


Queen Sirikit is a variant of Mussaenda Philippica,
the shrub's scientific name, which means "Queen of the Philippines."
Photo Source: http://english.xtbg.cas.cn/


Doña Aurora, another variant of Mussaenda Philippica.
Photo Source: savorthebite.blogspot.com


Doña Evangelina
Photo Source: Project Noah


Esteban looked closer at the shrubs. He was surprised upon realizing that the plants' faces were on the very tiny star-shaped portions of the plants.


The pink, red and white are not flowers

Though they may be vivid colors

They're merely the bracts of the shrubs

What you should look for are the stars!


Indeed, the tiny stars are the shrubs' actual flowers. Though more resplendent, the pink, red and white are merely the plants' bracts whose vibrance were the result of the lack of chlorophyll.


While the flowers were still fighting, something emerged from the middle of the well. It was a very large green lizard whose scales looked purplish. As it moved on top of the well, some drops of water fell on the surrounding sensitive shrubs who all complained about the mess the lizard made.


The Sailfin Water Lizard.
Photo Credit: Greg Brave through coffeeandcreatures.co.uk


"I guess my presence would keep you all mum?" the lizard teased.


The sailfin water lizard

Aside from being awesome swimmer

On any surface of water

 It's also a speedy dasher!


As soon as the birds mentioned its noteworthy abilities, the lizard gave Esteban a playful wink.

With its uncanny humor, Esteban find the creature endearing. As the shrubs were a bit uptight, fighting it out on who among them was the best, the lizard seemed very casual. Because of this, he pet the lizard's head, but it immediately turned away and said, "Hey, don't touch my third eye!" 


The lizard's third eye

Is sensitive to sunlight

It helps it navigate

Through very dark landscapes!


"Ugggh I bet that with those three eyes, it still won't see real beauty!" Doña Evangelina exhibited her usual smugness. "Isn't it always messy? My beautiful bracts are now ugly! Thanks to that rather awful lizard!" Queen Sirikit added. 


The birds giggled at the over-fighting, insecure flowers.


"Maybe we can ask each of its three eyes who among us is the fairest?" Doña Luz proposed. "I don't think it necessary! The birds already proclaimed I'm the best!" Queen Sirikit shouted. "You actually believe those birds?!" another of the shrubs contested.


"I guess no one will win regardless of who the judge is," the young man quipped to himself. The flowers just can't agree on anything. They still kept on fighting, which made Esteban scratch his head. While each of the smug flowers debated on who among them was the fairest, a long booming sound was heard all over.


The Rufous Hornbill it is

As the clock of the mountains

It beckons everyone to a sense

Of specific time and tense


You will know what hour it is

By its long booming call

Every hour, every hour

The time of day you'll recall


The Rufous Hornbill
Photo Credit: Forest Jarvis through ebird.org


The Rufous Hornbill continued its long, sonorous call. It was exactly six in the evening so the doves were about to conclude their singing. 


We are the flora and fauna

Of these beautiful islands!

We need your assistance

Protect us from foreign hands!


Our habitats are in danger

From the wants of invaders

Truly, we are very scared

But with you, we will dare!


Poo-poo-roo-poo-pooop!


So many other species came out to complete the entourage. Birds, insects, ammonites, deers, frogs, mammals. All sorts of animals, and plants!


To be continued...

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