12 Mar2008

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There always seems to be an abundance of fresh flowers for sale in Cebu City. Roses there seem more like the hobbyist’s garden varieties, rather than the commercially grown (heartless or is it soul-less) ones more common in Manila. Cebu roses open more fully, come in a spectacular range of colors, and they actually smell like roses. And they are almost always so incredibly well priced. For some reason the yellow roses here are just spectacular, albeit on the small side, but a vase filled with say 4-5 dozen of them never fails to lift spirits. In the past couple of decades, however, chrysanthemums seem to have become the most popular choice, probably because they are so hardy and reliable. Chrysanthemums have always struck me as being wake or funeral flowers, particularly the yellow or white ones, but they have somehow (together with their more colorful cousins) crept into the local ornamental cut flower scene… including weddings!, and I have always wondered where and how they were grown…

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Vendors who were asked, almost always answered that the flowers came from the mountains of Busay, where the weather is cooler and the growing conditions ideal for mums, as they are known to most. So I have always wanted to take a trip out to Busay and a couple of weeks ago I finally did it. Just got into a car, and simply drove west on the Trans-Central Cebu highway. After a few kilometers, I realized there were an incredibly number of farms in the central part of Cebu. From a plane, the island can look so incredibly mountainous and difficult to cultivate, but on the ground, the valleys between the mountains seem filled with good soil and adequate water and rows upon rows of flowers and vegetables were an incredibly sight for a city slicker… At say 300-600 meters above sea level, the temperature is a few degrees cooler…

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We drove out about 15 or so kilometers and turned into a dirt road and headed closer to the plantations. We asked a local guy to walk us around some fields and he gamely agreed, taking us past rows upon rows of chrysanthemums in all colors and sizes…

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… and explaining that the flowers are guided to grow straight up with the use of straw strings and sticks…

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…the scene was so bucolic and so appealing, and to think we were there just a week or so after Valentine’s day and there were still so many flowers blooming…

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Several rows of flowers are tended by a farmer and his family and they sell to wholesalers who come right to their farm to buy up the flowers. At the farm, you can buy nice medium sized chrysanthemums for just PHP30 per dozen. The same flowers in a Manila florist would run you 10x that amount.

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Besides mums, they also grow anthuriums, these birds of paradise, baby’s breath, and many other ornamental flowers.

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I was also amazed to find these somewhat bizarre greens growing abundantly in the area… I think Manila florists call this “Japanese lanterns” but I like to refer to them as Martian balls… green and fuzzy and airy with an incredibly sticky sap… they kinda look cool in particular kinds of floral arrangements…

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Back on the main road, we came across this consolidator, already bundling and packing up medium and large sized yellow mums. She sold me two dozen large ones at PHP50 per dozen, having already made a good PHP20 just from the farms a few hundred meters behind her.

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I was happy to pay the amount, still much cheaper than retail prices in Cebu or Makati City florists.

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The lady who sold me the mums was also drying hundreds of gladiola bulbs nearby. I have actually grown gladiolas before in Manila, from Dutch hybrid bulbs Sister once sent me from the U.S. And I got a BRILLIANT crop of stunningly large blooms in incredible color ranges, but I was never able to use the bulbs again, despite a faked winter of hibernation in our fridge… so I was amazed to see these gladiola bulbs drying out and getting prepped for another use. The ones in this photograph are about 1/10th (or even less!) the size of the fresh bulbs from Holland… I guess these now qualify as being of the “native” variety…

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So anyway, if you were curious, and can spare a leisurely 1-2 hour “paseo” to Busay to check out the flower and vegetable farms, I would recommend it…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Blaise says:

    This is absolutely a trip I would be fond of to take.. I am more of a nature-girl myself (I like plants a lot), rather than the beach bum (I can’t take the heat anyway). In my dreams, I own a farm.

    I did not know that Cebu actually have this kind of place, I always thought of Cebu as islands, thus I’m thinking more of beach related stuff, but it’s very interesting to know about this..

    Mar 12, 2008 | 2:47 pm

     
  2. thejollyjetsetter says:

    Hey great, looks like a nice day trip to take with my camera.

    Mar 12, 2008 | 5:29 pm

     
  3. sonia says:

    thanks MM for calling your readers’ attention to yet another interesting place in the country. will certainly make a trip to busay next time i do cebu.

    Mar 12, 2008 | 5:33 pm

     
  4. Homebuddy says:

    The flowers look so beautiful in your pictures. I guess since we are from that place we take things for granted. But when one reads and see other people appreciating things we think ordinary, then we take notice and take a second look.
    Yes, Busay is the place to go when the need is flowers. Its much much cheaper!

    Mar 12, 2008 | 5:52 pm

     
  5. bm says:

    I wonder if they use a lot of chemicals when they farm! Did you get any info on that?

    Mar 13, 2008 | 12:00 am

     
  6. Maria Clara says:

    The closer you get the produce from its source the less money you pay – no middleman involved. Thanks again for exploring and featuring the flower farms of Cebu never been aware they exist in Cebu. Yes, totally agree with you chysamthemums belong to funeral and carnation too. Love the bird of paradise they make a lovely arrangement by themselves alone in a clear very tall vase keeping them inside the vase.

    Mar 13, 2008 | 12:33 am

     
  7. melvin says:

    I am from Cebu (though I now live in Manila) and am ashamed to admit that I have never been to one of these farms! Makes me want to come home for good! Thanks for the pics.

    Mar 13, 2008 | 1:19 am

     
  8. dhayL says:

    I was thinking of the same thing, those “green balls”, they look like “mini japanese lanterns”, what do you call them again? These flowers are so pretty look at! Thanks for sharing!

    Mar 13, 2008 | 7:01 am

     
  9. elaine says:

    Reminds me of a flower farm I visited in La trinidad, Benguet.. they grow flowers, herbs, veggies and even fruits( the owner makes her own rhubarb jam and pies)..and because they have a cooler climate than Baguio with a richer soil, they can grow cold-weather plants/flowers/vegetables.. the neighboring areas are mostly farms including Dangwa town/barrio that’s known for its rose farms..and I thought it’s only in Benguet! With your cebu posts(past and current), I would definitely want to visit a second time!

    Mar 13, 2008 | 10:59 pm

     
  10. Stella Omega Krauz says:

    Thanks for posting the pictures. I bought a piece of land in Busay two years ago, I am so happy with it even though I have not seen the place, my family loves the area, the people living there are so nice. We have mango trees, vegetables and flowers. It suppose to be really beautiful and cold up there in Busay, a lot like San Francisco when the fog rolls in..

    Apr 7, 2008 | 8:06 am

     
  11. LizaMarie says:

    im liza from bacolod city. my cousin is planning to put up home-based flower shop and she’s looking for wholesale suppliers of cutflowers? can you help me? i would be grateful if you can give me contact numbers….

    thanks.

    Jun 5, 2008 | 1:29 pm

     
  12. Flor says:

    hi,LizaMarie..I have a friend in Busay in they are into rose farming and others..just email to g_manatad@yahoo.com of what specific flowers do you want.

    Jul 8, 2008 | 2:43 am

     
  13. Vennis Jean says:

    We would spend some time camping at Monteroso higher than Mountainview and Tops here in cebu since I arrived. and just recently My partner introduced me to the flower farms in busay…the place is also cold and conducive to flower farming…by the way going down from the hills…(Mountains na yata eh) we get to encounter wild berries on the side of the road they look like baby strawberries about the size of my nails….they are sweetish-sour and I love them…..i was also amazed by the volume of flowers being sold at one part of Carbon market…they are inexpensive!

    Oct 20, 2008 | 10:05 am

     
  14. trish says:

    helow!!can anyone tell me where exactly in Busay this flower farm can be found??we are actually making a study in cut-flower business in Cebu..tnx

    Dec 1, 2008 | 11:25 am

     
  15. chatty says:

    can you please send us your number?
    we want to buy tree roses…or please contact us 516-1006 or 236-4444

    Jan 29, 2009 | 11:43 am

     
  16. allie says:

    Please email me the contact number of Busay flower plantation… i love those flowers..

    thanks a lot

    Jan 31, 2009 | 7:35 am

     
  17. allie says:

    sorry email me at arcille_allie@yahoo.com

    Thanks

    Jan 31, 2009 | 7:36 am

     
  18. vioanh says:

    Just came from busay this wednesday..though we didn’t visit the plantation but still we were able to buy flowers along the street..at P50.00 you’ll get bunch of flowers with different colors and as early as 4pm you’ll be able to witness the fog rolls down the place!love it!

    Nov 6, 2009 | 5:02 pm

     
  19. edith says:

    hi, we own a farm in busay and we grow cut- flowers and vegetables.if anyone will be interested to get in touch with us for please contact us to with this number. (032)4122379 (jorge), cellphone, 0928 655223. thank you very much.

    edith

    Nov 12, 2009 | 10:28 am

     
  20. red says:

    @ edith: do u have sunflowers? Thanks

    Dec 5, 2009 | 12:18 am

     
  21. Rony, iloilo city says:

    never been in cebu but your flower farm interest me.Do you welcome visitors like me?I appreciate if you’ll give some info how to get there.thanks you.

    Dec 5, 2009 | 4:00 pm

     
  22. THESSA says:

    Hi good day am just starting my flower shoppe business. can you assist me where can i get a good supplier for fresh and very nice flowers? thanks

    Dec 23, 2009 | 9:02 pm

     
  23. lyn says:

    how much do anthuriums in busay cost?

    Jan 16, 2010 | 12:41 pm

     
 

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