Once there lived a rich couple, Mang Dondong and Aling Iska. They had a twelve-year-old daughter whose name was Maria. They loved their daughter so dearly.
Maria was a dutiful and obedient daughter. Industrious and kind, she made herself endeared to everybody.
But shyness was also one of maria’s distinct characteristics. She was also shy that talking to people posed a great burden to her. In order to avoid encountering people, she usually locked herself in the room.
Maria had a flower garden. The flowers were beautiful and known all over the town. She took care of the plants patiently and tenderly. For the flower plants were her source of enjoyment and happiness.
One day a group of bandits raided a nearby village. The bandits killed every man they found at took the money of the residents.
The next day the bandits came to the village where Mang Dondong and Aling Iska and their daughter Maria lived. Mang Dondong noticed at once the arrival of the bandits Fearing for Maria’s safety, he decided to hide Maria in the garden, which he did.
Aling Iska hid herself in the house. She trembled with fear when she heard the bandits forcing their way to the gate. Then she prayed, preparing for whatever would happen.
“Oh my God!” prayed Aling Iska. “Save my daughter.”
Suddenly the door opened. The bandits enered the house and hit Mang Dondong on the head. Mang Dondong lost consciousness and fell on the floor. Aling Iska tried to escape but was also hit in the head.
The bandits ransacked every place in the house. After taking the money and jewelry, they searched for Maria. But Maria was nowehere to be found. So the bandits left th house to plunder another village.
When Mang Dondong and Aling Iska regained consciousness, the bandits had left already. THey quickly ran to the garden to look for Maria. But maria was not there. Again and again, they searched every corner in the garden but poor Maria could not be found.
“My poor daughter! They took my poor daughter!” wept Aling Iska.
All of a sudden felt something that pricked his feet. To his surprise, he saw a tiny plant quickly closing its leaves. It was the first time he saw that kind of plant. He knelt on his knees and took a close look at the plant. Aling Iska did the same. After looking at the plant for a long time, the couple came to the belief that the plant was Maria. For indeed Maria has been transformed by God into a plant to save her from the bandits.
Aling Iska wept uncontrollably and to Mang Dondong’s amazement, every tear was transformed into a small and rosy flower of the new plant they found in the garden.
Since then Mang Dondong and Aling Iska tended the plant with utmost care. They knew what the plant was, in reality, their child Maria. And, like their child, the plant was very shy. So they called the plant “makahiya” because it showed it showed an important characteristic of Maria -shyness – which in Tagalog means “makahiya”.