Most of these come from La Trinidad, just outside of Baguio. La Trinidad is more popular for its strawberry fields which attracts a huge number of visitors all year round. It is called the "Salad Bowl" of the Philippines as well, and during the months of November to March [peak of the flower season], it may as well be known as the Flower Garden of the Philippines.
flowers at the strawberry fieldsI was staring at strawberry field's added attraction one chilly dawn: a huge patch of mums in full bloom. I have not seen this before in my previous visit [several years back] or maybe I missed it. No, I couldn't have missed such a glaring photogenic patch.
|flower patch at strawberry fields|
It wasn't long before the place started to get crowded, and like bees, visitors gravitate to the flowers.
Bahong: rose capital of the Philippines
Bahong is a small sleepy village situated down in a valley just a few minutes northeast of the strawberry fields. Public transportation heading there and going back is scare [I saw people walk several kilometers up a steep road to the main highway] so I decided to rent a cab for a few hours.
|greenhouses in Bahong|
As we go down the road that winds to the valley, I see green houses glimmer in the morning light. I later found out that these greenhouses are for mums, the roses are in open fields.
|Holland roses in the morning light|
It's easy to see why the media labelled Bahong as the "Rose Capital of the Philippines". Every square feet of arable land is planted with roses [and recently Malaysian mums].
|long stem rose garden|
Camouflaged among the dark leaves were folks occupied with daily farm chores: harvesting, weeding, and trimming the stems [that's how we get these long straight stems!]. Everyone's ignoring the seemingly lost tourist.
Along the path way I chanced upon an unappealing bunch of freshly cut roses. But once cleaned and sorted and arranged into fancy bouquets, these red beauties can fetch prizes that can leave a quite dent in your wallet.
The price could further go up with the low production from Bahong. The recent cold spell has affected the stunted the roses in Bahong, said Aling Lourdes, one of the rose farmers I've spoken. If its too cold the buds will take an additional week or two to be ready, if its too hot they would wither quickly. It has to be just right. There's much worry that there won't be enough supply to meet the Valentine's day demand.
|Aling Lourdes watering her long stems|
Aling Lourdes also mentioned that Bahong used to [almost] exclusively produce roses. Nowadays more and more farmers are shifting mums and other cut flowers for better profit.
|mums for harvest|