Once there lived a rich couple, Mang Dondong and Aling Iska who had a twelve-year-old daughter named Maria. Being dutiful, obedient, and kind, Maria was loved by everyone. But shyness was one of her distinct features, due to which she avoided interacting with people and used to lock herself in her room. Maria had a beautiful flower garden which was well-known all over town. She took care of her plants tenderly and patiently as the plants were her source of happiness and enjoyment.
One day a group of bandits raided the village and killed every man they found for money. When Mang Dondong noticed the arrival of the bandits, fearing his daughter’s safety, he decided to hide Maria in the garden. Aling hid herself in the house. She trembled with fear and prayed, “Oh my God! Save my daughter.” Then suddenly the door opened and the bandits entered the house. They hit Mang Dondong on the head due to which he lost consciousness and fell to the ground. Aling tried to escape but was also hit by them on the head. The bandits pillaged the house and took away the money and jewelry. The bandits left the house to plunder some other village.
When Mang and Aling regained consciousness they ran to the garden to look for Maria but she was not there. They searched again and again but Maria could not be found. Then suddenly something pricked Mang’s feet and he saw a tiny plant closing its leaves. Both Mang and Aling knelt at their knees and took a closer look at the plant. After looking at the plant for a long time, they realized that the plant was their daughter Maria. Indeed, to save her from the bandits God transformed her into a plant. Aling wept uncontrollably and to their surprise, every tear was transformed into a small flower of the new plant that they found in the garden.
After that Mang and Aling tended to the plant with immense care, as they knew that in reality the plant was their child Maria. The plant was as shy as Maria and so they named it ‘Makahiya’, which in Tagalog means shyness.