The past half-decade has seen the rise of Plantito-Plantita culture, which only became more popular as we spent more time at home starting last year.
With a vibrant community behind it and the obvious benefits tending to greens brings, it is easy to become passionate about this hobby. However, it can be confusing and many of us who are interested in taking up the shovel, so to speak, might get overwhelmed.
We suggest Laguna as a good place to start for the budding plant parent. Apart from its landmarks and attractions, the province down south is also a hub for farming and horticulture, and getting there only takes a 2-3 hour drive from Manila. Even a quick day can, pun intended, yield a lot of good buys, fresh ideas, and visits to many vibrant establishments. Here are just some of them:
Joni and Susan’s Agroshop and Integrated farms
Maharlika Highway, Barangay San Ignacio, San Pablo, Laguna
Joni and Susan’s Agroshop and Integrated Farms is famous for its sunflower mazes, which have become the staple photo backdrops of visitors.
From the moment you enter the gate, a field of yellow will already greet you. Not only are the sunflowers Instagrammable, but they also bloom all year round because of the place’s unique cultivation practices.
You can also check out The Greenhouse Restaurant, their farm-to-table restaurant where 90 percent of the menu are made from their own crops. The whole place makes for a refreshing walk, but you may also rent one of their ATVs to check their vegetable gardens and mushroom village.
- Opening hours: 7 am to 5 pm, Mondays to Saturdays
- Contact number: 0917 165 8053 or (049) 557 6344
- Facebook: https://facebook.com/JASIFINC
- Website: https://joniandsusanagrosh.wixsite.com/joniandsusanagroshop
- Restaurant menu price range: Php 69-600 for individual dishes; up to Php 1,699 for set meals
- ATV rental fee: Php 200
Gintong Bukid Farm and Leisure
Nagcarlan-Rizal Road, Brgy. Buboy, Nagcarlan, Laguna
Gintong Bukid (golden field) Farm and Leisure has only been operational for three years but it’s already making a name for itself in the field of sustainable organic farming.
The owners named the place as such because they believe that you can find riches from below the ground if you have the right knowledge. “Pag binungkal ang lupa, may gintong makukuha (When you plow land, you’ll be able to find gold or treasure),” shares Janiel Gesmundo, the resident resource person of Gintong Bukid.
Before you reach the Bahay Kubo (nipa hut) which serves as the farm’s main structure, you will pass through cultivation areas with crops like tomatoes, kale, lettuce, and string beans.
In Gintong Bukid, guests could “pick and pay,” or personally harvest the crops they wanted to take home. They also offer half-day, whole day, and overnight tour packages, complete with meals, for those who want to learn more about organic farming. These activities might take a pause to comply with changing community quarantine regulations, so make sure to check their official pages for announcements or contact them using the details below to see if the activity you have in mind can be accommodated.
- Opening hours: 8 am to 5 pm, Mondays to Sunday
- Contact number: 0917 167 8047
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Gintong-Bukid-2031034607157331/
- Fees per head: Half-day Aral Bukid Tour for Php 250, Whole day Pasyal Bukid Tour for
- Php 600, and Overnight Buhay Bukid Tour for Php 1500
Makiling Botanic Garden
College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines Los Baños College, Laguna
Makiling Botanic Gardens is home to a wide collection of flora. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.
Here you will learn more about conserving our biodiversity as you’re surrounded by a wide collection of plants and flowers. These include the Dipterocarps and the threatened Medinilla Magnifica, or rose grape plant, which also happens to be in the logo of the MBG.
While the garden remains closed to comply with LGU regulations, the school management is using this period to develop the area further. So, expect a spruced-up garden once its gates reopen.
- Contact number: (049) 536 2637
- Opening hours: 8 am to 4 pm daily, excluding holidays (Walk-ins not allowed at the moment)
- Website: http://makiling.center
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/makilingbotanicgardens/
- Entrance fee: Php 60 per head for non-students and Php 45 for students and PWDs
Plant shops in Bay and Calamba
Both the municipality of Bay and the city of Calamba are filled with plant shops and garden centers, which makes for a fantastic last stop before heading home. In Bay, you should pass by National Highway while in Calamba, the go-to place is Chipeco Avenue.
These shops have a variety of flora on-hand, from succulents for your workspaces to bigger indoor plants like Monstera, Bromeliad, and Money Trees. Price ranges from as low as Php 20 to Php 5,000, depending on the size, type, and rarity of the plants. Bring your haggling skills because some shops can even give you discounted rates if you buy in bulk. Gardening accessories, supplies, and equipment are also available for purchase.
Have a safe trip!
All tourist destinations in Laguna have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.
To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit www.philippines.travel/safetrip, check the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel, or download it from the Google Play or Apple Store.