DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 October) — It was not an ordinary day at a vast flower garden in Cadalian village, Baguio District here on Monday morning.
At least 32 workers were busy harvesting and packing flowers at Piktan farm of the Puentespina Orchids and Tropical Plants, Inc. for the expected increase in demand for All Souls’ Day on November 2.
Today, a total of 1,500 bundles with 12 stalks each of Chrysanthemums and Gerberas in different colors were scheduled for delivery to various parts of the country.
But including the King Toto farm at Carmen village, Puentespina Farms will supply some 30,000 bundles of each variety of Chrysanthemum and other flowers, and at least 10,000 bundles of Lisianthus for this season.
About four kilometers uphill from Piktan, the King Toto farm stands at 1,100 meters above sea level and grows temperate flowers such as Chrysanthemum, Lilium and Lisianthus.
“Our busiest time of the year on one single event is for All Souls’ (Day). The requirement for flowers is very high,” Angel Puentespina, general manager, told MindaNews.
The next peak season is the Yuletide when flowers are in demand during the whole month of December, followed by Valentine’s Day, he added.
Lilibeth Reyes, 44, a regular farm worker for 12 years now, said the harvest for this season is four times more than that of ordinary days with only 200 to 300 bundles a week.
And, for the Valentine’s season, she said they would only produce some 800 bundles of flowers for all varieties.
The packed flowers are delivered straight from the farms to different flower shops in the city, and to as far as Zamboanga, Surigao, Iloilo and Manila cities.
Puentespina said Manila gets most of flowers especially Lisianthus, which are sold at P120-P160 per bundle of five pieces.
He added that only about 20 percent of the Chrysanthemums go to Manila because of its high freight cost for being bulky.
Reyes, who is assigned to packing, said Class A bundles, which have stalks that are at least 70 centimeters long, are sold at P120. She added that Class B bundles, which have shorter stalks and mixed varieties of flowers, cost P90 each.
“We plant them all throughout the year. Every week we grow them and the volume depends on when we want to harvest them,” Puentespina said.
He cited that the planting schedule depends on the variety and may range from 10 to 16 weeks per period.
But the volume of flowers is not fixed, he added, “We also look at the situation in the market. We plant more if there is a need to plant more.”
“Filipinos enjoy the use of flowers. Among them, during the All Souls’ Day they visit their loved ones in the cemetery, and it’s really a show of love and affection,” he said.
Even Reyes admitted she never gets tired of looking at the flowers, saying they, the farm workers, appreciate a perfect bloom, attributing its quality from their hard work and patience.
“If all flowers are sold out, we are very happy,” she said. (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)