King Louis Farm : King of Potted Plants & Cut Flower

Local cut flowers and potted plants were mostly grown in backyards of individual farmers and small garden hobbyists during the post war era of the late 1940’s to the mid 1960’s. For several decades, people had to rely on small-scale production to meet the market demands. There was always a short supply of flowers and potted plants during Valentine’s Day, All Saints Day, Graduation Rites and  Christmas season. The production methods and farm facilities among growers then seemed to be on an endless trial and error basis.

Then came Mr. Vicente Puyat with a private initiative in early 1983. He had several sprawling farms scattered across Baguio and Benguet areas with thousands of quality flowering potted plants in all assortment of colors, shapes and sizes. This was start of the King Louis Farm, and Mr. Puyat was known as the “King of potted plants and cut flowers” not only in Northern Luzon, but also across the country.

gerbera

His project started with an experimental pilot area of 4,000 square meters concentrating on producing different varieties of roses, carnations, gerbera, gypsophilla in Asin, Baguio. It was planned to have a modern production area with pioneering greenhouses producing quality-potted plants and cut flower intended for the local market.  These crops were successfully grown in the tropical highlands of Baguio, but the local folks of Baguio weren’t quite ready back then. King Louis Farm General Manager and President Mr. Efren Chatto recalls farmers were in search of an alternative business venture aside from vegetables, strawberries and seasonal souvenir merchandises.

King Louis – Manila Seedling Bank Foundation outlet

Through several years of experimenting, developing technology, skills training and acquiring new plant varieties, King Louis had finally grown to what it is today.  The company has over 50 active contract farmer-growers scattered in various locations and operates on more than 6 locations in Baguio, La Trinidad areas like in Lamtang, Longlong, Alapang, Atok, Bugias, Tuba with a combined production areas of more than 12 hectares of specialized flower varieties. The farms and company has a labor force of about 100-180 workers, depending on the season.

King Louis Farm -Lamtang plantation

“We assist them (contract growers) in constructing their greenhouses and provide them counter funds by networking them to cooperatives and federations which engage in cut flower production. We even had some bank assistance for the construction of their greenhouses and even installation of sprinkling systems,” said the very enthusiastic Mr. Chatto.

These farms are located in various elevation from 1,200 meters above sea level in the La Trinidad Valley to 2,000 meters above sea level in Atok .The company had recently acquired a property in the province of Bukidnon in the island of Mindanao where the mild weather is conducive for growing crops that the firm will eventually supply for the southern Philippines market.

In the early 90s, with its growing operations and number of wholesale consumers, King Louis Farm tried to venture and opened its retail outlets within the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation compound in 1998, then other retail outlets within Metro Manila had sprung up.  The company is very active in the floriculture and agriculture tourism events, since they were considered as pioneers in the “Panagbenga ” flower festival in Baguio every February and a regular participant in many gardening events and shows such as Agri-Aqua Network Incorporated, Kadayawan, Philippine Horticultural Society, Philippine Orchid Society, among others.

King Louis landscape booth in Horticulture 2009

The booth won 3rd prize in the landscape category

The company started also its luck in exporting cut flowers and cut foliage to Japan and Netherlands. “We had a hard time in meeting their standards of quality,” said Mr. Chatto. But they pursued because the country has distinct advantages to compete globally since the cost of production, low benchmark, competitive labor market plus the country is strategically located to those cut flower and foliage importing countries such as China, Japan, and Korea. With rising cost of fuel, labor and energy prices, it would be cheaper for these countries to import rather than to maintain an expensive production area. ” He explained.

The largest farm, which is devoted to rearing quality poinsettias, is simply exhilarating. Aside from the common red poinsettia, which most of us are familiar with, at King Louis there are three more exciting rare colors – white, pink and a combination of pink and red.  They also have other poinsettia varieties with crinkled flower bracts that are considered as novelty items.  The companies also have their own way of sorting and grading the poinsettias based on the size of the bracts. Poinsettias coded as B, C, and D command higher price. According to Mr. Chatto, this is done so that buyers are assured of uniform-sized plants. He stated the demand usually starts as early as October to December, the peak season for ornamental plants, when three to five large trucks go down to Manila everyday to deliver the plants.

King Louis Farm’s  mission and vision is to be a leading supplier of quality flowers and potted plants in the local market.  While the company motto is “The land is a God given gift, it is our responsibility to cultivate and preserve it.”  Quality and strategy is the name of the game. “Quality flowers come from quality planting materials,” he emphasized.

liliums- blooming sized potted plants

Visiting other countries in order to source new planting materials which could be grown, adapted and sold in the local market is very challenging some planting materials are imported from Netherlands, United States, Malaysia, Thailand and China because our country lacks the facilities for storing bulbs and seeds for a long time to maintain their quality and viability. In order to assure uniform and quality flowers throughout the seasons, old planting materials are discarded. Selecting a strategic place for growing cut flower is also a major consideration. “We try to locate our farms in areas which have a good gravity to ensure a stable water supply and irrigation. Irrigation may not be a problem during the rainy season but during summer, and we tend to rely on deep well which consumes a lot of energy and effort,” he explained. King Louis Farm is concentrating its production for the local market; the farm is also engaged in producing Calla lily bulbs, particularly the colored varieties for export to Holland.

A University of San Carlos in Cebu graduate of economics, and at one time bank manager, Mr. Chatto believes that the business enterprise had come a long way from its humble beginnings. At present, they are not only catering to the cut flower, potted plants of Metro Manila and several points in Luzon, but are also supplying big flower shops in Bacolod, Cebu , Iloilo, Tagbilaran City in Bohol, Davao City,  Samar  and Tacloban City in Leyte  For whatever  business strategies and success stories , the soft spoken Mr. Chatto is willing to share is vast experiences to both hobbyists and to those who wanted to venture in this kind of business in the future.

Currently the company also accepts flower arrangements and landscape jobs

For contact:

Mr. Efren Chatto –

President and General Manager of King Louis Flowers & Plants Inc. , email:efrenchatto@yahoo.com.ph
Farm address: Km.3 Asin Road Baguio City, landline (074)4226735/(074) 4226734

Manila Branches/Office
MSBF Compound EDSA cor Quezon Ave.
Tel: (02) 929-4110,929-4107, 4332-012
Telefax: (02) 929-4114, 9294105

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Insular Botanical Garden &Farm

This is a favorite place for plant lovers , horticulturists , trader or simply photographer’s delight .

This a farm had hectares dedicated solely on the production of high value ornamental potted plants and cut-flower varieties of bromeliad , tillandsias, guzmanias mostly sold in the local markets.

Tillandsia schiedeana variety major in bloom

Some of the plants are even exported in other countries . With the help of Dutch- Suriname owner and its partners . This farm is also haven for rare ornamental plants.

Tillandsia cyanea or Pink Quill

Some of the flowering plants therein: pink & green pineapples, sabrina [double], morgana, freddie, etna, tawi, talk pink, tillandsia cyanea, christiane, cotton candy, stricta [double].. and many, many more.

Dendrobium crumenatum orchids growing on a Dracena

The area had a lot of natural growing wild orchids such as Dendrobium heterocarpum , Dendrobium crumenatum among others.

There is a big pond were 2 varieties of lotus are grown (pink and white ones).

Tillandsia xerographica listed as CITES appendix II

Tillandsia xerographica-Native to Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala, this beautiful cultivar is very slow growing and easy to care for. The silvery gray leaves are wide at the base and taper to a point. This epiphyte is suitable for growing on trees, rocks, or just about anywhere. Can grow from 6 to 18 inches in height and about 6 to 15 inches in diameter. The flowers are red to purple and last for a long time. Mist well about once a week.

Tillandsia andreana from Colombia  among others. The plants are mass propagated by seeds and thru suckers.

tillandsia seeds

The farm is vital in the propagation of these two species of rare tillandsias.

There are hundreds of different varieties of plants in the farm. According to one of the consultant , the farm produces over 300,000 potted plants at any time. Some foreigners like Thais , Singaporeans, Malaysians , Taiwanese had went to the place and bought numerous ornamental plants either for their collection, landscaping and resale.

The company is into wholesale and retail business of selling these plants. Appointments must be made before coming to the farm

For inquiries and farm tour:

Contact person : Mr. Oscar (0920-9281796 ) / (09209521063)

TeleFax (042) 540-78-22 or email: scandor.elias@gmail.com / insularbotanicals@gmail.com

Address: Insular Botanic Garden Corporation , Bgy. Kilib, Lucban, Quezon Province

Notes: Those who wanted to purchase plants at a wholesale price, try to contact them. The farm normally do not entertain walk-ins !

Jon Pettyjohn Pottery

Jon Petty john Pottery

This pottery factory is unique in Laguna,  Southern Luzon.  It’s creative designs and award winning potteries earned its distinction worldwide as being innovative and modern design . Jon Petty lives and works together with his wife (artist potter Tessy ).

He has spent many years in the Philippines experimenting with, learning about and sometimes teaching pottery.

short demonstration of pottery making

According to Mr. Petty , they have been working for over 35 years, concentrating on the traditional Asian techniques of high fire stoneware and porcelain, with the use of many Philippine indigenous raw materials, such as volcanic ash and local clays.

Jon is of Filipino -American descent. He has learned his craft in Barcelona, Spain, where he started out as an apprentice at a small studio. His work is almost “one of a kind” or extremely limited editions. Jon makes traditional functional pottery.

Mr. Petty john has had numerous one man shows and participated in trade fairs  like Manila International F.A.M.E , as well taking part in exhibits and workshops in Japan, Korea, Spain, Taiwan  and the United States. He is also the President and founding member of The Putik Association of Philippine Potters.

Each vase sold on FilArts.com is individually handmade and signed by Mr. Pettyjohn.

home gallery with hand-made vases

His two story house had an interesting gallery where his unique works of arts are displayed and sold.  Some of the items are his personal collection . Wide verandas and window characterized his home which is adapted to the tropical weather. High ceilings allows air circulation to come inside his home.

Some of the materials used in his pottery are imported from other countries. He explained that there are different types of clays found in the country. Some are ideal for ceramics  while some are used for their natural colors.

He gladly shown the tour group his own version of a kiln and a large dragon kiln which is used for firing his clay.

workshop with kiln for firing clay

A short demonstration followed and he accommodated the tour group.

Petty johns expressed that they are not able to receive walk-in visitors at their home . Appointments must be made prior hand  , However in the case of our group , a special arrangement was made !  Thus, navigational data is not provided for this way-point. He is very wary of designers who copy his designs and then mass produced them at a lower price . Most of his unique one of a kind potteries and other wares are available at Level 3 , Glorietta IV , Makati City.

Their workshop had in interesting garden with a lot of native orchids, begonias, ferns , ginger plants and large trees.

Micheal Jackson memorabilias

Micheal Jackson stamps ( souvenir sheets ) Saint Vincent & Grenadines

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009),known world wide  as the “ King of Pop” , was an American musician and one of the most  commercially successful and influential entertainers of all time. His unique contributions to music and dance, along with a highly publicized personal life, made him a prominent figure in popular culture for  over four decades.

Michael Jackson stamps have been previously issued in other countries. One can find these stamps online by doing a Google search  or checking out  eBay to see what they look like.

Countries that issued stamps

The Jackson stamps come in a variety of designs. There is one featuring him on postage from Grenada in 1992 as part of a sheet honoring Gold Record Award winners.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is  a group of island chain in the windward islands portion of the Caribbean situated south of St. Lucia .

The country is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations.

Most Vincentians are the descendants of African slaves brought to the island to work on plantations. There are also a few white descendants of English colonists, as well as some East Indians, Carib Indians, and a sizeable minority of mixed race. St Vincent has a high rate of emigration. One of the country’ major source of revenue is by selling postage stamps . The country issued several stamps with Walt Disney characters and design.

There are also stamp issues devoted to only Jackson. There’s a souvenir sheet featuring one stamp of the entertainer from Guinea-Bissau that was issued in honor of his 50th birthday. From that same country is a set of four stamps of Jackson from various phases of his life—from Thriller-era Michael to his later years. And again from St. Vincent comes a set of 8 including a souvenir sheet  in  1985 issue.

There were some countries like British Virgin Islands which issued a few hundreds of Micheal Jackson stamps in 1986 only to be withdrew in the circulation . The stamps  were canceled due to the regulations that stamps bearing the likeness of a living persons must be of the British Royal family .

Tips on how to buy Micheal Jackson stamps:

1.) Consult stamp catalogs ( Scott’s , Stanley Gibbon’s , Michel, Yvert et Tellier  ) on the current rates of the stamps ( mint and used).

In addition, the catalog publishers usually put out specialized volumes with additional details, generally by nationality: Michel has a specialized German catalog, Scott a specialized US catalog, and so forth.

Many countries have their own “national catalogs”, typically put out by a leading publisher or dealer in that country.

2.) Try to canvass prices first before buying . (  seek a friendly advice from a philatelist or a dealer )

3. ) Try to find out if these stamps are genuine ( distinguishing watermarks ) and know how much their value is on the market ( through  advance research ) . With the recent passing of the singer, there is no doubt demand could be high, which may lead the stamps to increase in value. With any stamp you are unfamiliar of ,  Caveat emptor a Latin term  for” Let the buyer beware” attitude approach beforehand in order to save time, money and efforts.

Ilog Maria – Bee Farm and Museum

Ilog Maria Bee Farm and Museum

Ilog Maria Gate

This unique bee farm is located on flows from seven natural springs within the Magsaysay Family’s farm in the highlands of Silang, Cavite. Silang-  is renowned as Manila’s source of fresh fruits and excellent coffee. The entire town of more than 20,000 hectares is planted to a variety of fruits intercropped with coffee trees.

The town is also known for its horticultural industry were almost every home had some plants for sale.

This pristine environment is an ideal setting for a healthy rural lifestyle. It is also perfect for keeping honeybees.

Products such as candle, gel,ointment , honey, bath soaps,  bee propolis, Ilog Maria souvenir mugs in their souvenir shop. Long queues of local and foreign buyers had went to their shop . Some of our tour-mates confesses that they always buy these products from the company .

There is a beehive shaped building within the property which serves as  a bee museum and a function area. Seminars and workshop are conducted by appointment and a short video presentation may also be requested.

For more details visit their website

Ugu Bigyan- Potter’s Garden & Workshop

Augusto “Ugo” Bigyan, the celebrated  artisan potter who has contributed to the fame of the province . During one of the field trips conducted by the Philippine Orchid Society, the tour  stopped by Ugu’s workshop in Barangay Lusacan, Tiaong Quezon . Philippine culture and arts  are evident with  the fusion  of   Mexican , Spanish , Asian -inspired architecture which dotted the entire compound.

The group was lucky  to meet the famous artisan conducting a short workshop

Ugo Bigyan’s art works are mostly the functional kind. One finds here plates made of soft stone molded after the shape of leaves; glazed three-colored glasses; the enchanting wind chimes; bracelets made from clay; bowls of different sizes and colors but all with simple but exquisite designs.

different potteries on display for sale

A simple candy receptacle or small plate is adorned with twigs where perched ceramic butterflies, bees, fishes  or birds.  The gallery bestsellers prove to be the big tapestries, big jars, plates and dinner sets, and other stoneware. And there are many more. These functional pieces can actually serve as objet d’arts.

jar with fossilized fern design

The gallery enjoys great patronage from well-known individuals, up-scale hotels and posh resorts such as Amanpulo, Campo Travieza, Casa Patricia, El Nido, Hidden Valley and Villa Escudero. Some of his potteries are  also exported to Europe, Japan, Taiwan , Canada, Latin America and United States.

Bigyan workshop and garden is a cluster of houses , with different motives and  architecture styles these also  include the house he lives in, a showroom, a workshop and several smaller pavilion type huts with Balinese and Javanese inspired . Bigyan’s main house was made from simple hollow blocks and coated with reddish terracotta. The front lawn was accentuated with a circular structure made of brick and equipped with throw pillows in woven buri cases, where family and friends can gather and chat, and at night, perhaps, create a bonfire. Another curious accent of the lawn was a rock, which was hollowed out and filled with water where little, floating quiapo plants grew. It was an innovative version of an outdoor potted plant. A winding pathways lead to other houses. The pathways themselves were interesting to look at. Some were made from cement and bricks with glazed, ceramic fishes served as accent. Others are made from old driftwood, which were actually pieces from knocked-down old houses, which Bigyan salvaged and gathered.

Collections of different works of art from different countries like figurines from Thailand, face masked from Indonesia , figurines from Mexico among others.

Broad-leaf-shaped pattern  footsteps made from cement. These footsteps were cast from actual leaves. Most of his clay works with flower and leaf motifs are cast from actual flowers and leaves.The process of embedding the leaves and flowers are called fossilizing .

These pathways lead to other houses. on the  the right of the terracotta house was another house that seemed to serve as workshop, storage and living quarter, behind was the showroom, where  Mr. Bigyan’s work were on display and were on sale. The two houses had a rugged  unfinished look.

interiors in one of the houses inside Bigyan’s compound

The houses are made  of bricks, natural adobe  and cement, they looked unfinished,quite similar to those in movies . The houses and pavilions inside the compound  looked  like ruins. Their  unfinished look was intentionally and was somehow intriguing.

tour group marveled at the orchids and ferns mounted on live trees

Aside from artistically displayed clayware, Ugu’s workshop offers quaint huts with which one can relax and leisurely enjoy a lush  landscaped garden with large mango trees  draped with native  orchids, ferns, creeping plants examples are Dendrobium anosmum, Dendrobium aphyllum, Dendrobium crumenatum , Hoya pubicalyx, Platycerium coronarium , Platycerium grande , Asplenium nidus , tillandsia trimmed with terracotta chimes, fountains and koi ponds.

Hoya pubicalyx a member of Asclepiadaceae

At the end of the tour , Mr. Carlos Valeriano C. Lazaro gave Mr. Bigyan a copy of Philippine Orchid Review magazine.

Contact Information:

Ugu Bigyan: Potter’s garden
alvarez village, lusacan, tiaong, quezon
tel. no.: (042) 5459144
mobile: 0917-5605708
Rates: pottery workshops or demonstrations may also be arranged.

Helpful tips:

1.) They are strict that you pay for the exact amount of headcount that you reserved since they buy the ingredients in the market based on the reservation. Make a reservation at least several days in advance ( minimum of at least 5 persons ).

2.) Best time to buy pottery items in Ugu are during the sale season. There are three sale sessions: first, is the Pahiyas sale on May 15 ); second, on his even birthdays August 14 discounted depending on his age and lastly during the first Sunday of October.

3.) Lunch is usually a fix set depends on what they can buy in the market. You can influence this a bit and try to change some of the items based on your preference.Merienda is also nice time to visit and get a sampling of their sago and gulaman.

4.). You can learn pottery here and decide to stay for a night. Reservations is required .

Gintong Talulot Orchid &Ornamental Farm

Gintong Talulot Orchid and Ornamental farm had several farms and outlets within southern Tagalog provinces.

Cattleya hybrids, Kagawaras, Mokaras, Epidendrums

Some of the collections are semi-terete Vandas, strap leaf Vandas, Mokaras, Kagawaras, Cattleya hybrids , native orchids like Dendrobium anosmum, Dendrobium aphyllum , Vanda lamellata . Ornamental plants like Hoya pubicalyx , Hoya obscura are also grown.

The farm also produces cut-flower which were supplied in nearby towns and provinces. The retired former professor in UPLB said that they started growing orchids as a mere hobby in the mid- 1970’s and through hard work and perseverance . They were able to send their children in school and was able to purchase some properties in Laguna, Cavite and Quezon and turned them into productive cut-flower farms.

rows of  planted  cut flower orchid varieties

The proprietors are active members of the

Los  Baños Orchid Society, Philippine Orchid Society.



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