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Petal Attractions: Flower Destinations in the Philippines By Kara Santos

For many of us living in the concrete urban jungle, there’s something romantic about the idea of being in the middle of flower fields. There’s a serious lack of gardens and green spaces in the city, and it’s pretty rare to see flowers concentrated heavily in one place. It’s no wonder flower farms and fields are sought after just for photos on social media.

But aside from providing a great backdrop for your Instagram feed, visiting these places can be really educational. These sites are now encouraging tourists to visit once overlooked destinations, exposing them to other aspects about agritourism, and providing alternative livelihood to farmers. Here’s a look at some of the best places to see blooms around the Philippines.

Sunflower Maze in Pangasinan

The Sunflower Maze in Tayug, a small agricultural town in Eastern Pangasinan has been drawing a lot of social media buzz since they opened earlier this year. The main attraction is getting to walk through a labyrinth made up of 8,000 sunflower plants, which takes about 30 minutes to complete.

The farm is owned by the Allied Botanical Corp. (ABC), a vegetable seed breeder, producer and distributor, who wanted to offer something educational and fun for kids and adults alike.

Aside from the maze, the farm also showcases an urban and edible landscape with green walls and ornamental plants. The pallet garden contains various flowers, herbs and vegetables. You can also go fruit-picking here! An adjacent farm offers melon and watermelon picking for a fee.

Best time to go: March and April are the best months to see the sunflowers in full bloom in the maze and labyrinth, though other types of plants and  flowers bloom all year around. The entrance fee is P100 per person.

How to get there: The ABC farm is a 30-minute drive from the Carmen exit of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx). Commuters can take airconditioned buses bound for Metro Manila, Pangasinan or Baguio, get off at SM City Rosales and take a van to Tayug town. From there, they can take a tricycle to the farm.

Celosia Flower Farm in Cebu

The Celosia Flower Farm in Barangay Sirao, a highland barangay in Cebu City, has been all over social media ever since it opened in late 2015. The garden has been dubbed Cebu’s “mini-Amsterdam” because of the unique red, yellow, orange, pink, and gold blooms, which has made the place a sought after for pictorials. Visitors can even rent a Dutch costume and pose next to a small replica windmill for photo ops there.

Aside from the main Celosia Flower Farm, there’s a separate area called the Sirao Pictorial Garden & Campsite which opened in 2016, the second attraction in the area featuring Celosia flowers. Check out Jovial Wanderer’s guide to Hiking in Cebu: Sirao Peak.

Best time to go: The peak season for flowers to be in full bloom are April to May and October to November. For photography purposes, it’s best to go earlier in the morning so that it isn’t too crowded. You can also check out the Temple of Leah in the same vicinity. Entrance fee is PHP30 per person (for pre-nup shoots, it costs P200 per person/crew)

How to get there: The place is accessible to private vehicles and habal-habals. Round trip fare for each person usually ranges from 80 to 200 pesos. From JY Square Mall in Lahug, the Celosia Farm, take the Transcentral Highway (same road going to Busay Cebu Tops). The Sirao Flower Farm is about 17 kilometers uphill.

Panagbenga Festival / Flower Farms in Baguio

Every February, Baguio City celebrates a month-long flower festival to usher in the “season of blooming.” The Panagbenga Festival showcases flower floats in grand parades around the city. Other times of the year, you can still see flowers in the many farms around Benguet.

Notable places to visit include the Baguio Botanical Garden, Bahong Rose Gardens in La Trinidad and King Louis Flower Farm, a top supplier of cut flowers and potted plants like carnations, chrysanthemums and hydrangeas. Many parks around Baguio also feature beautiful flowers and landscaped gardens.

Best time to go: The Panagbenga Festival is celebrated every February in Baguio City. Flower farms can be visited all year around (though harvest season may affect the number of blooms visible at one time).

How to get there: Bus companies like Victory Liner offer 24-hour bus service with hourly trips to Baguio from Caloocan, Cubao and Pasay terminals. Travel time is about four to five hours.

Cosmos Flower Field in Rizal

Masungi Georeserve in Rizal is a haven for anyone who loves the outdoors. The most popular attractions here are the giant hammock and spider web view deck, which have become viral online. The real attraction in the geopark is the nature trail that takes you through forests, caves and lush landscapes. One of the scenic portions here is the Liwasan Cosmos Flower Field near the entrance, where visitors can walk through bright yellow cosmos flowers in full bloom.

You can also see wild and indigenous flowers in other areas along the nature trail all year around. The Jade Vine, one of the rarest and most vulnerable flowers in the world, blooms purple and not green in the limestone forest.

Best time to go: The cosmos field is most visible in February to March, as the flower bed gets replaced by other flowers or plants based on the season. Entrance fee to Masungi Georserve is PHP1,500 (weekdays) to PHP1,800 (weekends). Visits are strictly by reservation only.

Lotus Flowers in Lake Sebu

One of the first images that comes to mind when you think of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato is the serene lake filled with delicate lotus flowers. Aside from ziplining at the Seven Waterfalls of Lake Sebu, and immersing in the T’boli culture, most visitors try to take an early morning lake cruise on a traditional wooden owong boat just to see these beautiful flowers up close. While you can spot some of the flowers near the lakeside, there’s nothing like cruising through the lake and being surrounded by these bright pink blooms as the sun rises from the mountains.

Best time to go: The lotus flowers in Lake Sebu bloom in the evenings to the early mornings. Take a 45-minute boat ride around the lake to 11 to 12 islets sitting within the Lake Sebu to get a different perspective of the quiet lake.

How to get there: From Manila, take a plane to General Santos. If you are coming from any point in Mindanao, you can take public transport going to General Santos. From GenSan, ride a bus going to Koronadal, then take another bus to Surallah, South Cotabato. From there, ride a van or single motorcycle to Lake Sebu.

Don’t you wish Manila had something like Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay in the city? Where else can you spot beautiful flowers around the country? Let us know in the comments section!

Source: http://windowseat.ph/flower-themed-destinations-philippines/