NOTE: I compiled this list just so I could use the title. Sorry na. :p (That’s the name of a real flower shop in the Philippines, by the way.)
It’s Flower Festival season in Baguio City this month! Lately, it seems like flowers farms and fields are trending, fueled by their popularity on social media. While most people who visit are probably motivated by the photogenic qualities of the attractions, the good thing is that it encourages people to visit once overlooked destinations and exposes tourists to other aspects about farming and agri-tourism in the country. In celebration of Love month, here’s a guide to some of the flower-themed attractions you can visit around the Philippines.
Judging by the popularity of sunflowers in UP Diliman whenever they’re in season, it’s no wonder the newly opened Sunflower Maze in Tayug, a small agricultural town in Eastern Pangasinan is already drawing a lot of buzz.
The maze, made of 8,000 sunflower plants takes about 30 minutes to complete. It’s the main attraction of a farm owned by the Allied Botanical Corp. (ABC), a vegetable seed breeder, producer and distributor, who wanted to offer something educational and fun for kids and adults alike. The walkway leading to the entrance showcases an urban and edible landscape with green walls and ornamental plants. Assorted flowers like celosia, marigold, petunia, torenia and other bedding plants can also be found here. There’s also an adjacent farm that offers melon and watermelon picking for a fee.
Best time to go: According to Malu Amor Elduayan of the Provincial Government of Pangasinan, the best time to go is early morning at around 8 am and late afternoon. Sunflowers are in full bloom and the farm is already expecting a lot of guests during weekends, so you might want to schedule your visit on a weekday.
Entrance fee: P100
How to get there: The ABC farm is a 30-minute drive from the Carmen exit of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx). Commuters can take aircon buses bound for Metro Manila, Pangasinan or Baguio, get off at SM City Rosales and take a van to Tayug town. From there, they can take a tricycle to the farm.
CELOSIA FLOWER FARM
The Celosia Flower Farm in Barangay Sirao, a highland barangay in Cebu City, has been all over social media ever since it opened in late 2015. The garden has been dubbed Cebu’s “mini-Amsterdam” because of the unique eye-catching blooms. It’s not everyday visitors can walk through fields of vibrant red, yellow, orange, pink, and gold blooms, so visitors to Cebu usually head to this unique attraction near the city. It’s also become a popular spot for photo shoots and pre-nup pictorials. I heard there’s now a small windmill and you can even rent a Dutch costume for photo ops there.
Aside from the main Celosia Flower Farm, there’s a separate area called the Sirao Pictorial Garden & Campsite, the second attraction in the area featuring Celosia flowers. Check out Jovial Wanderer’s guide to Hiking in Cebu: Sirao Peak.
Opened in June 2016, Sirao Pictorial Garden & Campsite, the second attraction in the area featuring celosias, was a nice sidetrip after hiking Sirao peak. ❤ It’s within walking distance (abt 400 meters) from the jumpoff at Ayala Heights in Busay. If not #hiking, you can just take a habal-habal from JY Square in Lahug. (#Travel time : 30-40 minutes Fare to Sirao peak jump-off : 100 Pesos / Entrance fee : 25 Pesos) Location : Brgy. Sirao, Busay, #Cebu #PGCS #Philippine #visitphilippines2016
Best time to go: The peak season for flowers to be in full bloom are April – May and October – November. For photography purposes, it’s best to go earlier in the morning so that it isn’t too crowded. You can also check out the Temple of Leah in the same vicinity.
Entrance fee: P30 per person (for pre-nup shoots, it costs P200 per person/crew)
How to get there: The place is accessible to private vehicles and habal-habals. Round-trip fare for each person usually ranges from 80 to 200 pesos. From JY Square Mall in Lahug, the Celosia Farm, take the Transcentral Highway (same road going to Busay Cebu Tops). The Sirao Flower Farm is about 17 km uphill.
PANAGBENGA FESTIVAL / FLOWER FARMS NEAR BAGUIO
Aside from strawberries, Baguio is well-known for its flowers. Every February, they hold the Panagbenga Festival, the month-long flower festival that celebrates the “season of blooming”. If you’re not into parades, you can still see flowers in the many farms in Benguet, a couple of hours from Baguio City any time of the year.
La Trinidad in Benguet is known for its flower growing villages. Barangay Bahong has been dubbed “the Rose Capital of the Philippines” and is the source of cut flowers brought to Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, and Bicol Region. King Louis Flower Farms in Benguet is also a top supplier of cut flowers and potted plants like carnations, chrysanthemums and hydrangeas.
Best time to go: If you want to watch the parades and floats, the Panagbenga Festival is celebrated every February in Baguio City. However, since it is one of the country’s biggest festivals, expect traffic to be high and the city really crowded.
How to get there: Baguio is a very popular destination and many bus companies travel here. Victory Liner offers 24 hour bus service with hourly trips to Baguio from Caloocan, Cubao and Pasay terminals. Travel time is about 4-5 hours.
10,000 Roses Cafe
The roses here aren’t real, but it’s another flower-themed place that has captured the attention of the selfie-seeking crowds. Located in the town of Cordova, the 10,000 Roses Cafe features a garden of artificial white roses with LED lights. The concept was inspired by the 20,000 lighted rose garden display in South Korea and all the lights were brought in from there. It’s said to be especially romantic at dusk when the roses are all lit up. Since it’s currently trending, expect to encounter a lot of people when you visit.
Lake Sebu’s Water Lilies
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Lake Sebu is the serene lake filled with pink indigenous water lilies in bloom. Aside from ziplining at the Seven Waterfalls of Lake Sebu, and immersing in the T’boli culture, most visitors try to take an early morning lake cruise just to get the best view of the water lilies in bloom.
Best time to go: The water lilies only bloom during sunrise.
How to get there: From Manila, take a plane to General Santos. If you are coming from any point in Mindanao, you can take public transport going to General Santos. From GenSan, take a bus ride en route to Koronadal. From Koronadal, take another bus ride to Surallah, South Cotabato and from there, ride a van to bring you to Lake Sebu. If you can’t wait for the van to be filled up with passengers, you can take a single motorcycle to take you to Lake Sebu.
SAKURA (CHERRY BLOSSOM) PARK
Last year, news broke out about the country’s first Sakura (cherry blossom) park being put up in Atok, Benguet. Around 30 cherry blossoms were planted at a mountaintop park 2,000 meters above sea level that local officials plan to open to campers. Given Filipino people’s obsession with Japan’s cherry blossoms, interest in this has been high despite environmentalists pointing out that this isn’t an endemic species to the country.
NOTE: For other destinations in the country that want to capitalize on this flower trend, there are a lot of other native flowering plants in the country that you can consider. Check out this very educational post by Celineism on 9 Philippine Native trees better than Cherry Blossoms.
(File photo of Cherry blossoms in New Zealand)
Best time to go: The trees are expected to bloom after three years, so we’ll only see the results in 2019.