Taiwan Day 546: The Quest for Magnolia - Feb. 28, 2015 | Travel the World

Taiwan Day 546: The Quest for Magnolia - Feb. 28, 2015

Have you ever seen a magnolia? Well, I’ve seen a "magnolia" before when I was still the only child of the family. As the first-born child I always have the chance of getting what I want most especially the Magnolia ice cream. My parents didn’t just gave me a cone of ice cream. They even bought the big pail of Magnolia just for their only son. lol. More than two decades have passed and a new meaning of magnolia unfolded in the mountains of Taiwan. It changed my memories of “magnolia” forever.

At the back of Yangminshan was a beautiful garden full of magnolia. It’s spring time and the time was ripe for the flowers to open. I went there together with Nia (Filipino) and she was my Travel Buddy for this Taiwan Day 546. What seems to be a simple flower viewing became an instant hiking as we climbed the back of Yangminshan while competing with other magnolia hunters.

The flowers of magnolia blooms only for one week and visiting the private garden was an event sponsored by the New Taipei City government. They have provided a free shuttle and as expected there were a lot of people. Nia and I took Bus 867 which also follows the same route as the free shuttle bus.

The hiking trail was foggy. It was like a special effect for this travel adventure. It blankets the mountains as if there was snow and trying to fool the people that it was still winter. Some people wore their winter jackets but the cold didn’t bother me anyway. I was comfortable with my orange polo shirt.

Finally, we came across a group of people getting frenzy taking photos. We have found the magnolias! A pink ribbon was tied around the fence reminding people not to cross to preserve the beauty of the flowers. The scene was a winter wonderland with the fog acting as the snow on the open flowers of the magnolias. I zoomed my camera and I was enchanted with the images. The magnolias opened their petals like a chalice held high in the sky. It was like an answered prayer to the long-awaited spring.

The Tian Yuan temple was near the hiking trail and we took a bus to see the unique place of worship. It is a must-see temple when you visit Taiwan. It is five floors high and as you go higher you will be able to see New Taipei City. We entered the temple and each floor has a set of gods to worship. I just interpreted each set of gods in each floor as a form of hierarchy with the god in the fifth floor as the highest god reaching the heavens.

Oh, the magnolias! How can I ever forget them? Their petals shower the soil with love. They are not as much charming as the cherry blossoms when they are just a single flower on a branch. But when packed together in tree and become a forest they would surely brighten up your day.

With this trip, my magnolia will no longer be the ice cream that I know when I was a kid. It’s now the happy memories that I create and share with everybody. So here’s a magnolia for you! Enjoy the quest for magnolia.

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