It seems like everyone’s heading to the South this summer. We’ve been getting a number of emails asking if they could visit our flower farm this summer. If you find yourself in Cagayan de Oro, and heading out to Bukidnon to do the Zipline, then you’re surely welcome to come over and get dirty!
How to get here
Our flower farm is blessed with a backdrop of the Kitanglad mountain ranges, past the vast pineapple plantations of Del Monte and Camp Philips, onto picturesque little barangays (towns) strewn with simple pretty houses with small patches of flower gardens. You won’t be driving on paved roads because it’s a nice bumpy ride of dirt roads. However, you’d be blessed with a picturesque landscape of Mt. Kitanglad. Our farm is on the foothills of the majestic volcano and mountain, the fourth highest in the Philippines.
Earth Flora (that’s the name of our farm) is in Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, nestled between Malaybalay and Sumilao. You get here by driving up to Malaybalay, 40km from Cagayan de Oro (about an hour’s drive.) Once you get to the Alae Quarantine Station, take the roundabout, and go straight up to Camp Philips. You know you’re headed up the right direction when you see an imposing landscape of never-ending pineapples and the purple majestic mountain right at the end of the seemingly endless road. Head for the mountain, we’re right at its foothills. The next landmark would be signs pointing to Mountain Pines and the Zipzone Adventure Park. Follow the signs and it will bring you directly to our flower farm. You’ll see us right before you get to the Zipzone. You’ll see bamboo poles sticking out, our rose gardens and chrysanthemums on your side of the road.
We’re really not a farm resort but a working farm. So please expect to see nature at its most basic: unadorned (but we have flowers everywhere!), crude, simple and rough. We don’t have paved paths or walkways so bring boots (or shoes you can get mud on.) You will have to walk on soil, over stones and rocks, and it is oftentimes muddy. Sometimes, you’ll have to scrunch up your face and hate the smell, as we compost and use fermented fish scraps for our fertilizers. To the sophisticated nose, the smell can sometimes be a wee bit nasty. The sun can be especially strong in the summer and we’re in the uplands. Use a sunblock and bring a hat. We do have some working boots and straw hats you can borrow if you’re not squeamish. And oh the bathroom: our toilets are waterless. If you’re brave enough to try doing your necessities in a handmade wooden urinal with just sawdust to catch it, then do try using our toilets. We do try to manage the smells by treating the sawdust with bacteria, and the bathroom is clean and kept clean, opens up to the sky and is airy. But I’m making a disclaimer, just in case!
We’re really not a resort but maybe you’d like to see a simple garden adorned with the wonders of nature. See the vibrancy of colors and be amazed at the wonder of seeds and plants sprouting into buds, and then blossoms. You’ll be hearing an endless cacophony of bird song. You’ll like the cool weather that brings spring to the air. Do say hello to our farm creatures big and small: the teeny ones that are our pest busters and the burly cows that help our composting. Watch our farmers chattering as they sow, plant, harvest the flowers, and bundle them up. Talk to Dadang, she will have a whole lot of stories to share. Sometimes, Nicolo is there too and you’ll know him by his bulky dirty boots.
You can even go up the bamboo house, rest a bit. It’s quite a view. If you’re lucky, they might serve you tea or coffee. Maybe you’d like to see how our greenhouses have been built with bamboo, see how composting looks like, get a whiff of our fish emulsion, get dirty with the earthworms and see how everything in the farm makes a seamless whole. It’s always a treat for me, going to the farm. I go home with new eyes. I remember how to be a child again and everything is just filled with awe and wonder. And sometimes, I actually do hear the earth laugh in the flowers.