Sampaguita: Beyond the fragrance

Sampaguita. What's beyond the fragrance?

A whiff of its sweet fragrance sends many of us back to fond memories of the flowering evergreen shrub every Filipino household grows in the garden. Nipped at the budding stage and strung, it perfumes the home for days as it blooms.

But what is the state of the Philippine National Flower today? When was the last time you’ve seen the plant or got a whiff of the blossom’s scent? How much of the new generation know about the Sampaguita? 

Lifting the Sampaguita from the roster of iconic Philippine symbols and injecting it to the core of its hospitality ideology is a homegrown hotel chain—Megaworld Hotels & Resorts. The company puts the spotlight on the delicate white bloom as it becomes the brand's symbol in promoting sustainable tourism, hospitality, and agriculture.

Megaworld Hotels & Resorts puts the spotlight on the delicate white bloom as it becomes the brand's symbol in promoting sustainable tourism, hospitality, and agriculture.

”Megaworld Hotels & Resorts resonates with the values of the country’s national flower, namely love, honor, dignity, and healing. We desire for our brand to stand out and touch the heart of every Filipino, and be the brand that one can be truly proud of. It’s our goal to be the hospitality chain whose story people can relate with because our journey mirrors what every Filipino undergoes, yet comes out stronger from,” says Cleofe Albiso, managing director, Megaworld Hotels & Resorts.

The Sampaguita brand of hospitality is a multi-sensory experience for everyone visiting any of the properties of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts across the country. My first encounter with it was at the Richmonde Hotel in Iloilo. 

First encounter with Sampaguita brand of hospitality

Entering the lobby, I was greeted with a refreshing scent of the flower with notes of fresh herbs, eucalyptus, and peppermint. It’s meant to invigorate and relax, especially after a long day of traveling, I was told. It brought back fond memories of staying in an international hotel brand abroad where its signature scent embraced me each time I set foot in the hotel. For Megaworld Hotels & Resorts, the distinct blend of the Sampaguita with other essential oils will be the company’s signature scent in all its properties spread across the country.

On the team’s lapels are the five-pointed pin, the Sampaguita symbol with one petal painted with the colors of the Philippine flag. It’s wearing the Filipino heritage with pride and promoting it to the guests as well. 

Sampaguita cuisine? Yes, they made it happen. New dishes infused with the essence of Sampaguita, are all already available for an enriching experience. At Richmonde, the chef’s curated dinner menu from starter to dessert was truly a delight.

Sampaguita Boursin & Salmon Tartlets

Sampaguita Ice Cream

“It’s a different experience for each guest. What we do is provide the opportunity for our guests to try out our carefully curated dishes, infused with just the right amount of Sampaguita essence. You’d be surprised that a lot of our guests are intrigued and find nostalgia in every bite while having the opportunity to add new memories to how we look at Sampaguita,” says Sonny Alvaro, cluster general manager.

After a long day of exploring Iloilo, I was in need of a good soothing, relaxing massage. The healing therapy is experienced with Sampaguita massage oil and concluded with a cup of SaMaRra tea with flavors of Sampaguita, mango, and tarragon to provide healing from the inside.

A healing therapy using Sapmguita massage oil

“There is so much more to a guest’s stay than just a bed and breakfast, that’s why we aim to enhance every touchpoint within the guest’s journey. More than convenience, we provide our guests the opportunity to experience and enjoy our very own heritage and culture,” says Jun Justo, cluster manager for NCR+.

Beyond engaging the guests’ senses through the Sampaguita brand of hospitality is a greater cause. The company stimulates the Sampaguita industry in the country. 

Megaworld Hotels & Resorts has partnered with the local government of San Pedro, Laguna, known as the “Sampaguita Capital of the Philippines” for the raw materials. San Pedro Mayor Art Mercado and Engr. King Layola from the City Agriculture Office highlighted the impact of Megaworld Hotels & Resorts’ efforts on the industry—specifically, opening up the opportunity to increase demand for farmers to allocate supply of the flower for manufacturing products like soaps, scents, and food-grade additives.

"This is big for us because now the Sampaguita is part of Megaworld's banner hospitality program. Filipinos will relate to the experience of seeing the Sampaguita in every Megaworld Hotels & Resorts property. You will be able to help a lot of our Sampaguita growers, garland makers, and even the Sampaguita pickers. This will have a very huge impact to the entire value chain of the Sampaguita industry," adds Engr. Layola.

The Sampaguita is part of MEGreen, Megaworld’s company-wide sustainability program. Through this campaign, Megaworld Hotels & Resorts has also committed to provide areas with patches of land dedicated to the planting of Sampaguita plants in its townships across the country.

Megaworld Hotels & Resorts also partnered with Dwellbeing, a sustainable, private enterprise that provides jobs to challenged sectors of society by having them convert used bottles and create organic home cleaning products and scents. Through this engagement, Dwellbeing is also able to continue its advocacy of feeding families through its 'Project Pearls' and provide employment to the deaf and mute through the Hand and Heart Organization.

“There’s more to 'The Sampaguita' than just elevating the guest experience. Through this, there is an opportunity to touch the lives of people whose industries rely on it. This project is a movement: as we work with various organizations, we have opened up a door of discussions to hopefully revive the enthusiasm and popularity for the use of Sampaguita,” Albiso says.