Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
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N O R T H E R N

E X P O S U R E










As a symbol of love, the rose has endured in different societies to be coveted for the pursuit of romance, the purpose of wooing, and the show of appreciation. Poets have long used the evocative flower as an alternative way of saying “I love you.” In a quaint village in Benguet’s La Trinidad, 10 hours from Metro Manila, the same ethos is the motivation for its tilled land.

It’s not chilly all over the province as I experienced visiting the gateway to the Cordillera Region last New Year’s Eve. On foot, strolling around the town proper of La Trinidad, I happened to get rid of my sweater and bravely get embraced by the terrain’s breeze. It’s not as chilly also in the nearby barangay of Bahong which is touted as the Philippines’ rose capital. The conditions at the village seem to cultivate the ornamental and landscape plant very well as half of the more than 600 rose farmers in the town work there. As a result of temperate climate, the flowers are not easily stunted and regular harvests are done.

The village of Bahong in La Trinidad









Reaching Bahong

With the guidance of a fellow travel blogger, I reached the village that’s nestled on a valley and generously surrounded by Benguet’s mountain peaks. The terrain meant a constant walk downwards from the highway if on foot. Since we failed to ask around about the mode of transportation from the highway, we endured the post-lunch exercise under the heat of the December sun. We would later catch an FX taxi ride on our way back as it’s the only mode of commute in the valley.

Village Name Curiosity

Bahong was the last place I’d expect the province’s roses to be found in hectares of outdoor fields. The name of the village has a similar Tagalog word that connotes something of foul smell. Such flowers may not bear a heavy fragrant scent, but they definitely are not unattractive to be the source of bad odor.

I learned that the neighboring villages of Alapang, Alno, and Bineng also grow roses.

A gaze at any direction let me see sunflowers which are just considered to be road grass in this part of northern Luzon. The 30-minute descend had me pass quaint-looking houses, a young local manually toasting his pinikpikan (a beat up chicken for holiday dinner) and private gardens.







Red Lobes Spotted

My visit came after the harvest for Christmas so there was nothing much to see except a few red lobes on stems that jutted out awkwardly from the ground. What I thought were greenhouses of roses that revealed themselves in the valley were actually fields of chrysanths or mums that are being alternatively grown in the area.

It was the last day of 2014. In two months, the peak season of rose cultivation would be on schedule in the village. By February, harvests are expected for the upcoming Valentine’s Day season and farmers are expected to earn at least P25 per stem. Prices go up once the plants reach various stations in nearby Baguio City, especially during Panagbenga, the city’s month-long flower festival.

The FX terminal in La Trinidad
Commute Tip:
From Baguio City, ride any jeepney going to La Trinidad where at the town proper is a taxi (FX) terminal that's right across the only 7-11 in the area, a few steps from the capitol hall.

Check out my other Benguet-related posts:



More Photos Below:


A local quarrying at the village
The bridge going to Barangay Bahong from the town proper 

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