The impending closure of Manila Seedling Bank Foundation

Manila Seedling Bank Foundation compound, EDSA corner Agham Road, Quezon City- Philippines

Manila Seedling Bank Foundation office

My dad loves growing fruit trees .  My mom loves growing vegetables, flowering plants  like hibiscus ( gumamela ) , gardenia ( rosal) , ixora ( santan ) , dama de noche , frangipani ( kalachuchi ) and orchid hybrids  .  My younger sibling like to grow herbs, indoor plants ,  I would grow orchids, ferns, hoyas , tillandsias, bromeliads  ,   flowering vines and native plants,  While a distant relative likes to grow aquatic plants and small indoor plants. We always go to MSBF compound whenever we can find time .

vegetable corner near the MSBF office

Some of my fondest recollection on how this institution had help a lot of budding environmentalists , hobbyists , plant lovers nurture their love and passion  for plants and the environment.

MSBF Greenhouse #2

Almost all the people that we met at the MSBF compound are very sad¬† and teary- eyed . Metro Manila’s premiere garden and environmental center will be taken over by the Quezon City-hall management and eventually becoming part of the Quezon City business district…. This big chunk of land will soon rival Bonifacio Global City ( BGC), Ortigas Center, Makati , Ayala-Alabang in the south.

spider plants and five fingers – these ordinary plants can be grown in vertical gardens .

The entire compound  about 7 to 8 hectares  is just part of about 30 hectares  lot owned by the National Housing Authority (NHA), which was reserved for the use of the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation, Inc. (MSBFI) under Presidential Proclamation 1670 issued by President Ferdinand Marcos.

MSBF Greenhouse # 3

I have written several articles before about MSBF   from printed glossy magazines and online journals. The center had earned its reputation not only here in the Philippines but served as a model for its environmental advocates and food security for the country.

rare ornamental and orchid collection of Ms. Vangie Go

The Quezon City government –Business Permits and Licensing Office cited violations of the QC Revenue Code and the National Building Code, early this month ( December 2013 again )¬† supposedly for failing to secure the necessary mayor‚Äôs and building permits. If i can recall , the MSBF was also ordered closed for a couple of days last year.

EDSA Garden House of  Mrs. Adela Ang is having their big sale before moving to the Quezon Memorial Circle

The local government also took control of the lot last year for MSBFI’s non-payment of real property taxes from 2001 to 2011.

Despite the NHA’s ownership of the land, the local government said Manila Seedling Bank was not exempted from paying taxes.

Philippine Horticultural Society Incorporated office at the MSBF compound РThe Secretariat temporarily moved to  1019 San Marcelino Street, Ermita РManila ( near Adamson University )

The beehive of activities and fond memories of the garden societies lectures, meetings , social gatherings and school children doing their researches at the Philippine Horticultural Society Inc. ( PHS)  office (They have a mini-library with all kinds of books about plants  ) are just a memories of an era where nature and environment projects are given priority by both the local government and the national government.

some of the stalls facing Quezon Avenue side were being dismantled

MSBF compound was also the home of the Philippine Horticultural Society ( PHSI ) a society that was founded in 1976.  Now , Their office had transferred in Ermita,  Manila near Adamson University .

MSBF  fruit trees selling area with tarpaulin posters

I also recall¬† plant societies like Philippine Orchid Society garden and plant shows were staged at Greenhouse # 2 , Philippine Bonsai Society’s bonsai shows among others.

KOI Haven with the proprietor, According to the owners – They had already relocated at the Araneta Garden Center in Cubao

Land-line 668-75-92, 475-95-20 Cellphone : 0917- 8017246

There are estimated between 200 to 400 tenants ranging from small flower vendors, pebble and rock traders, carinderia owners to big companies like  the ones being managed by Puentespina , King Louis , Bulacan Garden, MEGA Orchids, Purificacion Orchids and Ornamental  , Ms. Vangie Go, Mrs. Soledad AgbayaniРConsole Farm, EDSA Garden House of Mrs. Adela Ang among others.

Mr. Andres ” Jun ” Golamco¬† store is also having their BIG Sale

According to some tenants, They are constantly being harassed, intimidated and to some extent even received death threats from the Higher-UPS and BIG People!

Everich Agriculture  Supplies -according to the saleslady, they will be relocating to a much smaller space at the Quezon Memorial Circle

Police Incidence

Manila Seedling Garden Owners Association (MSGOA) is an association of about 200 tenants within the compound . According to the members of the association,   There was a traumatic  incident last December 9 , 2013  night time where  police arrived at the Manila Seedling Bank compound , with their leader supposedly brandishing his gun and ordering his men to pick up (damputin ) everyone there. The tenants scampered to safety, but 13 were hauled off and brought to jail. It was even worst than Martial Law !

water lilies- day blooming varieties and kiyapo

Some of the tenants , will still have to face the daunting task of fighting for their livelihoods.

In the quest for industrialization and modernization, Let us not forget the environment in which we are all inter-connected , converting and selling  the 7 or 8 hectare piece of property is not the answer to the problem of corporate greed and insensitivity by the local government compared  to the the invaluable services that this institution had been doing for almost 37 years.  The original objectives of the foundation is to reforest the denuded forest lands, reforest LA MESA watershed , provide food to the masses by propagating ,  selling quality tree seedlings, vegetables , fruit trees and endemic trees all over the country.

In fact , some garden centers in other countries like Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan , Guam,¬† Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia¬† got some technical expertise¬† using the MSBF as a role model for their country’s greening projects and urban renewal projects.

Mabolo / Kamagong tree planted by President Corazon C. Aquino on October 25, 1990

The MSBF is also home to more than 400 species of trees, both native, exotic , endemic and even trees that were planted by former first lady Imelda Marcos, President Corazon Aquino , former first lady Amelita ” Ming ” Ramos . The area is also home to countless of butterflies, fireflies , insects ,¬† birds and Palawan Cherry trees too!

commemorative marker

( I hope that the new management will not chop this tree planted by the former president)

In some countries¬† ( like¬† Singapore)¬† is very active with their urban re-greening projects and¬† looking for solutions to their environmental problems. Here it is quite different. We neglect our natural heritage and environmental institution that had help so many………..

As I do not want to dampen everyone’s mood, We just recall our fond memories of the place that i must say was my second home…………. BYE for now and the fight for more green spaces and environmental institution in METRO Manila continues…….

NOTE: Almost all tenants will be having their LAST DAY SALE by Tomorrow -December 31, 2013.  Some of them have relocated at the nearby Quezon Memorial Circle , Cubao- Araneta Garden Center, Fairview Garden Center, Lagro area.

Some tenants will eventually find a way to sell their plants in some weekend markets, bazaars . Some will return to Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna , Quezon , Rizal , Benguet , Pampanga where they have garden spaces and plots of land.

The Cityhall will allow the tenants to dismantle all their structure until past April 2014.

Manila Seedling Bank Foundation: http://msbfi.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/msbfi

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