A new gumamela hybrid developed by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) was named after Justice Undersecretary Atty. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar as the institution’s “tribute to her and her body of work.” 

Hibiscus EA Villar launch II 2048x1184 1 1024x592 - UPLB-bred ‘gumamela’ named after DOJ undersecretary
(UPLB WEBSITE / MANILA BULLETIN)

The UPLB officially launched last week the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Emmeline Aglipay-Villar which was named after the young lawyer who is also an advocate for the rights of vulnerable sectors. 

“The development of new hibiscus hybrids and naming them after notable Filipinas are unique traditions practiced by UPLB for more than 20 years now. A number of heroes, scientists, artists, and leaders have been named after this tropical flower,” the University said. 

The H. rosa-sinensis Emmeline Aglipay-Villar belongs to the Women in Public Service Series, a growing collection of hibiscus hybrids named after women leaders who have served the nation through their work in the public sector, as well as in their private capacity.

The newly named tricolor hibiscus hybrid was developed by Dr. Pablito Magdalita, a professor and UP scientist at the Institute of Crop Science, College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS). 

It blooms with a spinel red petal — which resembles Villar’s favorite color — with cadmium orange edges and a red eye, giving it a multi-colored appearance that paints the lawyer’s “multiple roles in life.” 

“I dedicate this honor to all the women and children who are victims of abuse and exploitation. Let this [hibiscus hybrid] be a symbol of hope for all of us and may it remind us that despite all the pain and suffering, flowers bloom,” Villar, who is an alumna of the UP College of Law, said during the virtual launch.

Villar is the wife of Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and is currently an undersecretary at the Department of Justice and president and founder of Hope for Lupus Foundation, Inc. 

She has also championed the rights and welfare of Filipino workers, women, children, and vulnerable groups as reflected in her previous work as a court attorney at the Supreme Court from 2008 to 2010 and a congresswoman representing the Democratic Independent Workers’ Association Party-list from 2010 to 2018.

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