Believe it or not, roses bloom during the summer. And must be forced or coaxed to bloom in early February (except in parts of the Southern hemisphere where it is warm at that time) for all those crazed folks who have bought into the commercial notion that you MUST give roses, often red roses, to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. Ridiculous I say. And I am notorious for my Anti-Valentine’s Valentine’s sentiment. Valentine’s is the one holiday where restaurants, florists, candy makers, etc. can price-gouge the doe-eyed consumers, and the latter play along willingly. :)
So in case you were starting to stress about flowers for the lady, girlfriend, significant other(s), spouse, wife or lover(s), here’s a bit of a reality check. In the Philippines, roses are aplenty in the summer months like June, July and even August. They are grown in greenhouses or controlled conditions in the cool temperatures in
the Mountain Province Benguet, Tagaytay, and other cool elevated areas, for the most part.
Wholesale, at the Dimasalang market, roses such as the ones in these photos, purchased last July, were just PHP80 for a bunch of two dozen blooms, or just PHP3.33 per stem/flower. Yes, repeat, PHP3.33 per stem/flower. This massive bouquet, some ten bundles or twenty dozen roses, cost just PHP800 or so. Plus your gas to get to the flower market at 5-6am or so on a Thursday or Friday (when the selection is best).
A couple of weeks ago, I was at the same market and they were asking PHP160 per bundle of smaller and less appealing red roses (the cold weather actually affects the blooms negatively below a certain level of chill), already double summer prices. By this week, the figure will rise to PHP200+ and in the week before Valentine’s you will be paying quadruple the normal prices, for roses that are a mere shadow of their ebullient brethren during the summer months.
And retail in a snazzy city florist? Think PHP1,500 per dozen at least or PHP125 per stem. And imported ones, from Chile or Peru or elsewhere can run up to PHP300+ per piece! So think twice about splurging unnecessarily just because some greeting card company has made rose giving on Feb 14 so darned universal… Surprise your special someone with a massive bouquet in the summer, and take a rain-check at Valentine’s. But then again, Valentine’s is a HUGE day for florists, so if you can’t be bothered to plan ahead, help keep those cash registers ringing! And I must say, florists prices probably reflect huge increases in wholesale prices, so they are just passing on the pain. As for the snazzy restaurants, I guess it is a demand and supply thing, so they charge 20-100% more for meals that pretty much cost them the same… two thumbs down on that practice.
Am with you with that anti-Valentine notion. Valentine’s day is one real marketing sucker, although florists earn HUGE amount of money on Valentine and Mothers’ day than any other events or occasions. Wait for couple of days after that artificial heart celebration and you’ll find your dough for one single rose can get you a dozen one.
Hi MM, how much volume do you think I’ll need to buy to get those prices in June/July? Always seem to still be getting quoted ~150/dozen when I get around 5 dozen in June. Any tricks aside from having a suki?
The one thing I hate about Valentines is the ridiculous traffic that comes with it.
Everlasting. That my flower of choice this Valentine’s day. And when love asks why, I’d say: “That’s how my love is for you- everlasting!” ;-)
Mura na, nagtatagal pa! *makati nga lang* :-(
Knifenut, I buy anywhere from 5-20 dozen at a time, depending on use. I don’t even know the name of my suki but let me describe how to do this. First, I park at the back of the Chowking branch there. Then I head towards the main strip of flowers and turn left. That next 50 meters on both side is where you get relatively high prices, meant for suckers that need a single arrangement or pining would be lovers that are buying a rose or two. Ask prices here, often at PHP120-150 a bundle, and a bundle is roughly 2 dozen roses. Do not buy here. Keep on walking until you cross the two way road and you see lots of orchids and greens. Prices start to drop here. And keep walking until you cross another road and there are only rose dealers on the right corner and after that. That’s where I buy the roses, at the “end of the road”. Almost always PHP80-100 per bundle for medium to long stemmed roses (two dozen per bundle), unless there was a recent storm or it was a flower heavy holiday. If you go at 4-6am you will probably get the freshest blooms, though I have found that the buses often unload from 11pm-2am, so if you make “abang” you can get them then. They come in large white coolers covered in strapping tape. They are sometimes warm to the touch when opened (a bad sign) and should be cool instead (they sometimes they put ice in wrapped in newspaper).
When you get home, clip an inch off the bottom of the stems and soak in cool water (I often soak up to and including the blooms, weighing them down to keep them submerged (when buying a lot you can do this in a bathtub or wash basin). Keep them under water for say two hours and wipe them down to remove any remnant insecticides, etc. Trim the leaves and remove the thorns if desired and arrange as you see fit. Always use flower food in the vases, or if you don’t have that, then at least a drop or two of clorox in the water to help retard bacteria growth.
Flowers are like the stock market, it’s totally demand and supply based. You will occasionally chance upon a period where they are up to their eyeballs in stock and they are eager to unload. When you feel this, you have the upper hand and can bargain, particularly when you are capable of getting a lot. I once felt I hit the jackpot and was ready to pay PHP100 per bundle but prices plunged to just PHP50 per bundles for fantastically fresh roses… I went home with some 30-40 bundles! Friends got unexpected bouquets of roses. Even the wives of our drivers and crew at home were thrilled, they said it was the first time they got several dozen long stemmed red roses from their husbands… heeheehee. When prices are high, I buy something else. :)
I always look forward to the anti-Valentines posts on your blog, MM. I’m anti-Hallmark holiday (sobra) and none of my partners have ever changed that for me. Hehe…
An off-topic fact I came across while trawling the archives for more anti-Valentines posts, I saw that you were most prolific in July 2006 with 66 posts. Just a #WalaLang moment. :)
I’m like you MM. Not to be fooled by commercialism and shelling out more than usual only because it’s valentines day.
Valentines should be celebrated when it matters most and not because shop owners say its the day to show one’s love for another.
But as they say, when in rome do as the romans do. For as long as everybody is enjoying and wanting to spend so be it.
Am sure Zubuchon outlets make an effort to join in the celebration.
manny, we don’t jack up prices or do upscale menus for Valentine’s at Zubuchon. In fact, this year, I jokingly told staff I wanted a promo for singles or people without dates… they get the discount while couples pay full price…hahahaha.
As of last night, wholesale local red roses were 300/dozen. My prediction is that it will reach 500/dozen.
At this point, I totally agree with you: Skip the red roses for Vday. If you must give flowers, everything else pretty much maintains price points with only a slight increase in others like carnations, daisies, and lilies. In fact, because they’re unpopular for Vday, a lot of basic flowers drop prices. Just a heads up :)
myra, YIPES! PHP500 a dozen for wholesale roses next week?! Thank goodness I got Mrs MM a few pots of butterfly orchids a couple of days ago instead! Now they seem like an incredible bargain!?
Last year because of the cold snap, they reached 600/dozen. A historic high! A bargain during Vday week is everything not roses. A bargain one week after Vday is… you guessed it… roses :)
ummm, hi marketman.. just a humble correction. i don’t think we grow roses in Mountain province.. we grow them in Benguet. :)
leksus, thanks for that, I always make the mistake of lumping together the provinces in the mountains as the Mt. Province… yes, you are correct, Benguet. Thanks.
If the price of roses are astronomically high, one can always give chicharong bulaklak. Hey, it’s the thought that counts, right? ;D
Hi MM – Myra P is correct. For the last 8 years, Dad himself goes to Dimasalang to get 4 bundles (not dozens) of roses, preferably short stemmed, for my departed mom. The last three months, I’ve been the one buying on his behalf. The lowest I’ve bought it for was 150 & the highest was at 320.
Mahal ang bouquet sa Valentines, not even cheap at this time in Dangwa. Chicharon bulaklak na lang ????????????
Even Being the owner of a flower shop in Manila (https://www.makulay.com), I always ask customers “seriously joking” as to why give roses? why not rice or groceries? I would always opt for rice. Wouldn’t you? The best answer I got so far is “with roses, it means you love, with rice, it means you’re too practical to afford roses or in other words cheap”