Tough but rewarding

It’s a tough but rewarding trade, said James Magno, head florist and operations assistant of Nene’s Flower Shop in Dangwa, Philippines. 

Mr. Magno, who graduated with a degree in Hospitality and Industry Management, said there isn’t a specific degree that teaches you the ropes of flower production and management. He considers himself lucky that his employer provides seminars and workshops for their florists dedicated to the trade. 

Maraming best part ang pagiging florist [There are a lot of good aspects about being a florist],” he said in a January 31 interview. “Kumbaga challenging siya, most especially ‘pag meron events [It can get challenging, especially when you’re catering to events] …” 

Mr. Magno said that – although florists already line up their tasks the previous day for a smooth workflow – it’s always good to anticipate the unpredictable. 

Maraming kakaibang experience. Kumbaga dun ka macha-challenge talaga, kasi hindi mo alam mangyayari the following day [There are a lot of atypical experiences in this job. That’s the challenge; you don’t know what’s going to happen the following day].”  

Synonymous with flower

From ornamental fruits and tropical flowers to floral foams and baskets, Dangwa – which encompasses the streets of Dos Castillas, Dapitan, Laong Laan, Dimasalang, Maria Clara, and Don Quixote in Manila – has become synonymous with quality but affordable flowers.

The area is named after the Dangwa Tranco bus station in Sampaloc, where bus liners from Benguet would unload not only people but also produce from the province like vegetables and flowers.

Our differentiating factor is quality, said John Michael E. Nocidal, operations manager of Nene’s Flower Shop. 

“We prioritize our services, the quality of our flowers, and [our customers’] convenience,” he said in a separate interview on the same day.  

They outsource during the times that they don’t have the flowers needed on hand, Mr. Magno said. 

Kasi order na ‘yan ng client, so kailangan natin ma-provide yung needs ni client [The client already ordered it, so we need to provide their needs],” he said. 

Life, color, exuberance

Flowers are “an easy way to add an immediate impact to the décor of The Lobby, our restaurants, rooms, and events,” according to Mariano B. Garchitorena, director of brand communications of The Peninsula Manila.

“Sometimes it’s just the burst of color from masses of sunflowers or Bells of Ireland that lend a welcoming vibe; on other occasions, like on Christmas, we deck The Lobby with boughs of red berries mixed with cinnamon sticks and you feel warm and fuzzy and Christmasy,” he added in a February 7 email.

Flowers, Mr. Garchitorena said, “make a statement, add charm, and infuse the hotel with life, color, and exuberance.”

Source: The Peninsula Manila
Source: The Peninsula Manila

The hotel, he told BusinessWorld, prefers flowers known for their longevity such as roses, zinnias, and orchids. Popular too are flowers such as stargazers, carnations, and hydrangeas.

“We also like to play around, incorporating and combining flowering plants with evergreens into our overall design… since they don’t require frequent updating,” he said.

Mr. Garchitorena advised selecting flowers that have little to no scent, however, as scent-sensitive guests may have trouble with perfumed blooms.

Source: The Peninsula Manila

Major flower producers

The Philippines has been increasing its production of cut flowers, ever since the Department of Agriculture (DA) included ornamentals in the government’s high value crops development program (HVCDP).

Then-DA secretary William D. Dar issued Memorandum Circular 09 in 2022, which ordered both the inclusion of ornamentals in HVCDP’s priority crops, and the allocation of a budget to boost cut flower output.

Cut flowers refer to fresh flowers and flower buds that have been cut from the plant and are suitable for bouquets, wreaths, corsage and special flower arrangements.

Provinces such as Laguna, Batangas, Benguet, Negros Occidental, Cebu, and South Cotabato are traditionally known to be major producers of cut flowers.

The country is among the emerging domestic producers of ornamental plants, being a net exporter of ornamentals, with continued trade to the Netherlands, Japan, United States of America, and other European countries, according to the International Association of Horticultural Producers.

The global flower and ornamental plants market will grow by $28.98 billion (or P 1,619,677,710,000) during 2020-2024, Technavio, a technology research and advisory company, also reported.

The flower shop offers alternative flowers to customers who may balk at the difference in prices, Mr. Nocidal said:

May mga flowers naman na hindi naman affected nung klima, so yun din ino-offer namin as an alternative flower for their arrangements [Some flowers aren’t affected by the cold weather, so those are what we offer as an alternative for their arrangements].”

STOCK PHOTO | Image by Sanna from Pixabay

Mr. Nocidal, who grew up in the industry as the son of the owner, pointed out that flowers are part of every person’s life journey:

Simula sa kasal, sa kapanganakanhanggang sa pagkamatay ng tayo, all year naman nandiyan ang flowers [From weddings to births to funerals, flowers are needed all year round].”

He told BusinessWorld he thinks that the Philippine flower market will engage more online. 

“On the economic aspect,” he added, “siguro may mga local farmers na rin tayo na magbabalak na rin magtanim ng imported flowers, ng hindi na natin susubukan mag-import pa [maybe we’ll have local farmers who’ll start growing imported flowers, so we won’t need to import them anymore].” 

He’d recommend the craft to the youth, Mr. Magno said. 

Kahit sino puwede mag-indulge sa flower industry,” he added.  

Yung simpleng pagkuha ng bulaklak at paglagay sa vase, flower arrangement na ‘yun e [The act of picking out flowers and placing them on a vase can already be considered flower arrangement].” 

Credits: Produced by Patricia Mirasol, Jino Nicolas, Patricia Garcia, Earl Lagundino, and Joseph Emmanuel Garcia. Layout and web development by Criselda Valentin.