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Allied Botanical: More than just a sunflower garden Edit

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Marian Hernandez Amistoso  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

Step into the fields of Allied Botanical Corporation (ABC) and you will immediately be greeted by rows of chrysanthemums, marigolds, zinnias and other flower specimens that you’ve probably never seen before. A vintage truck repurposed as a flower planter takes center stage. It’s a symbol of the hard work that went into starting the country’s first 100% Filipino-owned seed company with a research and development program. Thirty-three years ago, the farm’s founder, Willy U. Co, would drive this service truck around, selling seeds to potential buyers. 

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A vintage truck repurposed as a flower planter greets you at the entrance. (Photo by Wenz Murillo)

Fast forward to 2017 and the farm is a thriving wonderland of diverse greenery. Survey the area and you might forget you’re on local soil. This is not the Floriade Festival in the Netherlands. This is a vast showroom of what our farmers and horticulturists are now capable of doing. A colorful display of Filipino ingenuity, creativity, and expertise. This is Tayug, Pangasinan. Our very own. 

Stop and smell the flowrers! 🌷

A post shared by Rodger Jeremy Balallo Agnote (@iamrodgerjeremy) on

Fast forward to 2017 and the farm is a thriving wonderland of diverse greenery. Survey the area and you might forget you’re on local soil. This is not the Floriade Festival in the Netherlands. This is a vast showroom of what our farmers and horticulturists are now capable of doing. A colorful display of Filipino ingenuity, creativity, and expertise. This is Tayug, Pangasinan. Our very own. 

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Photo courtesy by the Provincial Tourism of Pangasinan

On February 17, Friday, the farm will launch its annual open day. Available to the public, the main draw is the country’s first sunflower maze but the farm offers so much more. For P100 per head, visitors can enjoy exploring the rest of the farm. Other activities include an educational tour, a seminar series (P300 per seminar topic), a food and agri-trade fair, and pick and pay--wherein visitors can pick the vegetables and fruits available to them, and bring them home for a fee.  

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Photo courtesy by ABC

ang magalang na gulay: upo 😂🍐

A post shared by Allen Torio de Luna (@allendeluna_) on

During our visit to Pangasinan, ABC President, Michael Caballes, was able to show the Explora team around one afternoon. He toured us around the 2,100-square meter maze, discussing the different types of sunflowers they have, explaining that they know exactly when they will all bloom. “There’s a science behind everything,” he shares, pertaining not only to the sunflowers but to the rest of their operations in the farm. 

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Photo courtesy by ABC

ABC is more than just a sunflower maze, though. The farm is home to a variety of hundreds of vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Here, you will see hybrid tomatoes, tubular-shaped watermelons, over ten kinds of peppers, and all the purple and green lettuce your salad bowl can hold. They also have an oriental garden that proudly displays the more unfamiliar plants like the Japanese mustard, green shiso, nero di toscana kale, and red amaranth. 

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The pigment giving the purple corn its vivid color is called anthocyanin, an antioxidant. (Photo by Wenz Murillo)

Walk further into the farm and you’ll spot tall stalks yielding a harvest of curious-looking purple corn. The pigment giving the purple corn its vivid color is called anthocyanin, an antioxidant. Mike picks an ear, tears off its husk, and shreds a number of kernels from its cob. “Try it, it’s really sweet,” he says, offering us the purple tidbits. We munched hesitantly, not used to eating corn raw, and declare it the sweetest we’ve tasted. Who knew we could produce corn sweeter than the popular Japanese corn?

We picked up our pace, eager to comb through the hectares of land before us. It was at this point that we realized we are on the birthing ground of agricultural innovations. We watched farm workers deftly separate weeds from healthy crop, we listened to Mike discuss the fascinating reproduction of an asexual cucumber, we marveled at the sheer number of tomato varieties available. There’s so much to discover, so much to learn. Mike’s passion for his craft is contagious. By the end of our tour, we wanted to be farmers, too. 

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It is this same passion that Allied Botanical Corporation channels to their annual open house. For 2017, they go back to their commitment to Filipino farmers and consumers in educating the youth and re-introducing farming to them. “We want them to realize that farming is sexy!” Mike says.

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The farm is home to a variety of hundreds of vegetables, flowers, and herbs. (Photo by Wenz Murillo)
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Photo courtesy by ABC

And it is sexy, indeed, as ABC is not merely a tourist destination nor a seed market. Their core business principle is sustainability, and they integrate their activities with the demands of their society and their environment. Through programs like Farmers’ Field School, Urban Farm School Training, Harvest Festival, Gulayan sa Paaralan, and farm or technology demonstrations, ABC is able to service and educate, not only the people of Pangasinan, but everyone who is passionate to go into farming. 

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Photo courtesy by ABC
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ABC is able to service and educate, not only the people of Pangasinan, but everyone who is passionate to go into farming. (Photo by Wenz Murillo)

“We just want to showcase the best of what the Philippines can offer,” Mike shares, by the end of our tour. He is optimistic about the future of farming in the Philippines as more young people begin to see agriculture as a viable career. Gone are the days of farming as old-people territory. For a country rich with natural resources and fertile soul, farming makes a lot of sense. And if Allied Botanical’s success is any indication, it is the very near future. 

For more information about Pangasinan and its tourism destinations, visit www.visitpangasinan.com.


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