Her beauty was renowned in all the towns, barrios and even far beyond the shores of the Philippines. Her eyes captured the gaze of many admirers whenever they saw her. Her long flowing black hair, blood red lips and fair skin has made many a young man swoon and desire her even just in their dreams.
But there was something strange about Dahlia. She was not quite keen on mingling with other people. She lived far beyond the edges of her barrio and lived on her own. Whenever a young man tried to approach her, she went inside her home with nary a glance to leave back at the young man. She would not come out until the young men left, disappointed upon not having seen her.
She spent most of her time in the fringes of the woods where she'd pick up stray plants that have beautiful flowers. She'd bring them back to her garden and plant them with care. Her garden of flowers could make any gardener quite envious. Everywhere you looked, were dazzling colors and rainbows of flowers. The morning dew drops made tiny little prisms that made the sunlight dance and the flowers sway.
A young man heard of Dahlia's beauty and his name was Juan. Once, when Dahlia went to the market to buy food, Juan chanced upon her and was immediately captured by her beauty. He wasted no time in courting her and sending her flowers for he knew that she loved them all too dearly.
Unfortunately, Dahlia always ignored him and pretended that he was not there whenever he tried to speak to her. But he never gave up and patiently tried to come up with ways to get her attention. He'd muster up all of his courage for he was a shy young man, and approach her even though he knew that she would not talk to him.
Nevertheless, she liked the flowers and accepted them. Once, he thought that she'd steal a glance at him. Though when he tried to look back to see if she was looking at him, she'd quickly look the other way.
He smiled as he saw her cheeks turn pink.
His persistance and sensitivity rubbed off on Dahlia and she eventually gave in to his persistent monologues. He was reciting a poem whilst Dahlia was going over her flowers in her garden, when she corrected him about the words.
He was very surprised to hear her speak to him and couldn't hold back his glee.
From this moment on, Juan had the distinct privilege of being the only man that Dahlia would talk to other than the baker and the fish monger.
She found his witty charm and patient demeanor to be comforting and somewhat easy to be with unlike the other men who did nothing but brag about their prowess in hunting or chopping wood.
Eventually she also fell in love with Juan.
One starry night, Juan decided to surprise Dahlia by proposing to her. Dahlia was elated and said yes to Juan with no qualms at all.
But before they are to be wed, Juan needed to ask for his parents approval. His parents lived in the next barrio which was quite a long way from Dahlia's and the journey could take a few days. Having been with Juan for some time somewhat made Dahlia reluctant to part with him, even for just a little while. Juan promised that he'd go back as soon as he can after he got his parents approval.
Days and nights passed by with no Juan walking to Dahlia's home. Every morning, she'd wake up to open her window and try to see whether there was a new bouquet of flowers lying around near her porch. There was none.
Days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months and finally a year. Still, there was no Juan who came back.
Dahlia was distraught for she knew not what happened to Juan. In her intense longing she walked around her garden with no direction and cried endlessly. She fell on her knees to the ground amongst the now wilted flowers which she has not tended to for a long time. She sobbed and cried and took her own life with a knife.
As she breathed her last breath, she sensed that there was a shadow of a man nearby. It was Juan. He came back but he was too late. Dahlia was able to get a last glimpse at Juan before her eyes then stared blankly into space.
Juan could not hold his pain and cried shamelessly before the lifeless body of Dahlia. Her blood flowed from her veins to the wilted flowers which made them blood red. Then the rain started to pour as Juan carried Dahlia away to bury her.
But the flowers that were stained with Dahlia's blood were still red. Even the rain was not able to wash off the color of Dahlia's love.
The next day, new buds began to appear beside the old ones. But unlike the others, these were far redder and more vibrant looking. To this day, the Dahlia remains vibrant and colorful, perhaps signalling the intense love that Dahlia had for Juan.