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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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February 13, 2014

bahong, la trinidad: where the flowers are

Flowers at Strawberry Field at sunrise

February is the flower month, specifically in Baguio where the Panagbenga Festival (Flower Festival) is being celebrated the whole month, and possibly for the rest of the world as well, because of Valentine's Day.  But do you know where those long-stemmed roses and bouquets of mums that you see in flower shops are from?

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 fields

I 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.

Related: One Chilly Morning in Strawberry Fields

Flowers at Strawberry Field
flower patch at strawberry fields

It wasn't long before the place started to get crowded, and like bees, visitors gravitate to the flowers.

Flowers at Strawberry Field

I wanted to find out where the flower farms really are, not the ones setup for tourists to take pictures of. After some quick Goggling, one name came up: Bahong.

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.

Bahong - Rose Capital of the Philippines
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.

Bahong - Roses
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].

Bahong - Rose Capital of the Philippines
sleepy Bahong

I walked around a bit hoping I'd meet someone, but it seems like everyone's busy in the fields. So I randomly picked a small pathway among ones that crisscrossed the rose gardens and to see where it leads me to.

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.

Bahong - Rose Harvest
fresh cuts

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.

Bahong - Rose Harvester
rose harvester

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.

Bahong - Rose Farm
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.

Bahong - Malaysian Mums

Bahong - Malaysian Mums
mums for harvest

Bahong - Malaysian Mums

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regie pallasigui said...

wow! superb!

Lantaw said...

Thanks Regie!

The Islander said...

refreshing to read. i was imagining the cold moist wrapping around me as i browse down the page.

do you have an idea about the range of income the flower farmers are earning? and are their families belong to the marginalized sector or above the minimum? i would like to know the impact. =)

Lantaw said...

The farm owners earn quite well and the workers earn as much as 7000-8000 per month (so I guess this is above minimum) depending on the season

Anonymous said...

Do you have any information for any farms willing to do wholesale?

Unknown said...

Can I have a contact number of any mums grower in Baguio? I am growing mums here in bicol. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Can I have a contact number of any mums grower in Baguio? I am growing mums here in bicol. Thank you.

Lantaw said...

Sorry, I don't have contact numbers of the growers there

Unknown said...

Can you tell us the name of the farm to buy roses? Can you please provide us directions how to get there?

Lantaw said...

@Leaena, there are a number of farms there, I don't have any specific names. Its best to just take a cab from La Trinidad

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