A Trip to Baclaran Plant Bazaar

Bayanihan Street corner Roxas Boulevard , Parañaque City – Philippines

orchid and native plant lovers living south of Manila would always refer this narrow street alley corner as one of the best places to find native plants particularly orchids , native ferns and hanging plants.

According to plant enthusiasts and people living near the Baclaran church , There are already plant and orchid peddlers selling in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s near the church . The peddlers would sell them during Wednesday , Saturday and Sunday , mostly gathered from jungles or grown from backyards.

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Baclaran Church or Redemptorist Church

When Manila Seedling Bank Foundation in Quezon city was still at the infancy in the late 1970’s and 1980’s . Plant enthusiasts, traders, hobbyists , landscapers and foreign traders would flock at the Bayanihan street just a stone throw away from the church . Plant traders would rent a small space and sell some plants .

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Bayanihan street is located beside this popular restaurant

Popular Names:

The place is more popularly called Baclaran Plant Center, Some people would call the narrow street as Baclay’s Plant Center, Max’s Plant Alley ( in reference to the famous restaurant) , Bayanihan Plant Center among others.  The narrow street is about 50 meters away from the church.

Plant Craze

One of the plants that became a bestseller in the Philippines , Thailand and some Asian countries what is popularly called Golden Veitchia. This is a mutant form of  Bunga China (Veitchia merrillii). The leaves  are bright yellow form.

According to some plant hobbyists, It was first sold at one of the stalls of Mr. Ceasar Pecson for just Php 25 small sproutling ,Then some traders from Bangkok, Thailand bought all that they could find. That sent the price soaring, especially when there were no longer golden seedlings available.
During the plant craze of the 1980’s,  a few feet tall mutant form will command several thousands of pesos!  Traders from far away provinces and international plant buyers would frequent the place in search for outstanding plant varieties and newly imported ones.
( Due to the proximity to local provincial bus stations and international airport. ) It makes the area an ideal place to trade plants.
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Luisia teretifolia mounted on coconut husk – They are incorrectly called Singapore Orchids.
Hence, It explains why native orchids , ferns , hoyas that were being sold within Albay ( near Mount Mayon) , Sorsogon are presented almost the same way as in Baclaran. There is a slight price difference ( It is cheaper in Albay and Sorsogon ) but for hybrids – I think it is cheaper in Baclaran .
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 Dischidia oiantha ( known locally as Manaog ka Irog, Timbang-Timbang  ( Tagalog)
The place had its own story to share .  Regular native plant sellers have relatives from Bicol , Quezon , Mindoro and Visayan region which supplies them with native plants like orchids, ferns , hoyas and dischidias.
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Dendrobium orchid hybrids in bloom
Orchid hybrids like Dendrobiums, Cattleyas , Vandas , Oncidiums and ornamental plants came from orchid farms. The blooming Dendrobium orchid hybrids were being sold for Php 50, Php 75 and Php 100 per plant with flowers.
Some of the prize winners at the Philippine Orchid Society  and Philippine Horticultural Society were initially bought at the center.
The lists of notable buyers includes wives of politicians, celebrities and tycoon magnates! The unassuming narrow street is indeed a beehive of activities.
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 Vanda hybrids
I remember that some of our neighbors would visit every  ( Saturday ) at Baclaran church while some of their loots were native plants , orchids and hoyas. It was quite unfortunate that we did not have a potable digital camera back then, Otherwise – I would have recorded some of the noteworthy loot of that time.
The narrow street also had its share of somber stories, the main building where the plant traders burned down several years ago and unlike its heyday – there are fewer plant traders.
I visit this street on my route to Cavite province ( mini- buses that ply the Roxas boulevard ) . Since it was a few days after Christmas , There were fewer native orchids and ferns for sale. ( I guess that the native sellers and gatherers had their time-off) .
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RTW stalls dominates the narrow street
Now, there are at least a dozen full-time plant sellers and a couple of pet shops among the hundreds of stalls which sells t-shirts, Ready To Wear  (RTW’s) and toys which dominates the street.
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Asplenium nidus ( Bird’s Nest Fern ) or Dapong Lalaki is the most commonly traded hanging plant in Baclaran
Asplenium nidus ( Dapong Lalaki ) are sold from Php 10 small ones , Php 20 , Php 35 to few hundreds of pesos for the big ones . ( It depends on your haggling skills.)
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pet shop
Here are just some of the tips that i can share with my fellow readers, First you must have passion to care and nurture for plants and the art of haggling , Try to research online for useful datas and how to properly take care of these plants.
Remember that some of the orchids , ferns and hoyas are just newly mounted in coconut husk or Drynaria quercifolia rhizomes . So try to place them in shaded areas.
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Dancing ladies and Vanda Asco ( Vanda lamellata )
 Some of the orchids and plants are mislabeled , so that they can be priced a little bit more expensive. ( I do not know if this is deliberate , marketing gimmick or inability to recognize a plant) One example is the orchid on the far right side which is being sold for Php 50 per plant ( Vanda Asco) .
There is no orchid species or hybrids that is called Vanda ASCO –  the orchids are the native Vanda lamellata being mislabeled as Vanda ASCO. I also think that Php 50 per Vanda lamellata is a bit quite pricey . I bought a clump at just barely Php 150 . ( So buyers , try to be smart in choosing the right plants)
Sometimes , peddlers just  wanted to earn a few bucks to unsuspecting housewife would insert a different orchid flowers to the native orchid species. It was good that i was not able to see some orchids with different flowers! LOL
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plastic pots and fertilizers
Another useful tip is to befriend the seller and try to connect with them.  ( maybe every 2 weeks or  so, for those living near the place ) Since majority of the sellers lives within the vicinity , Most of the stalls are open before 8:00am . Try to get their contact information and give them a few sms once in a while.
The variety of plants and garden supplies however is not that much compared to the more establish plant centers like Cartimar in Pasay , Mindanao Avenue Plant Center, Araneta Plant Center , Quezon Memorial Circle , Centris Sunday Market.
But for native orchid and ferns enthusiasts – This is a good place to visit , once in a while.
I bought a few native ferns on my way home , It is so tempting to buy a few more….

 

 

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