Covid-19 has affected everyone but in different ways. Since we are advised to stay at home if we don’t have important errands to do, many people were found with a lot of time on their hands. Plus, we need to keep our minds healthy during this pandemic. Now, we are seeing the rise of a special breed of people who made good use of their time. These are the green-minded people: meet, the plantitos and plantitas of Bacolod.
The Surge of Plantitos and Plantitas in Bacolod
When we first heard about Covid-19 late last year, it was very far away from us. The threat became very real when cases were first reported in the Philippines. Then the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) happened.
Businesses were at a standstill and classes were suspended. Save for medical frontliners, pretty much everyone stayed at home for almost two months.
One thing that happened during this time was the Bacolod Barter Community. And three of the most in-demand things that were bartered for were plants, pots, and garden soil.
That is because many became plantitos and plantitas during the quarantine in order to find something productive to do.
Many have been frustrated gardeners but because life is always fast and sometimes furious, we hardly have time to get our hands dirty.
One good thing that happened during this pandemic is that we got to slow down and indulge in our passions—gardening included.
What is the meaning of Plantitos and Plantitas?
Plantitos and plantitas are modern terms coined for people who have taken the role of caring of plants. Much like a fur parent to pets, “plantitos and plantitas” are like that to their plants.
I have always grown plants, from orchids, to trees, to ornamentals, to vegetables in my parents’ place back then. Having a green thumb, I can just practically throw anything on the ground and it will grow. And I love watering them in the morning and in the afternoon using my pail and dipper.
But I never really valued that skill in the sense that I also don’t put too much value in individual plants. I would rather collectively take care of them as foliage for the earth.
The renaissance of plants lovers amazed me. Now, it’s no longer the bored housewives and grand titas of Bacolod. Everyone from young, single men and women to kids have taken the role of being a plantito or plantita.
That makes me happy because now, more and more people are growing plants and hopefully trees. This means more oxygen for the city and a healthier environment for us all.
Kultivar de Bacolod
In Bacolod City, a fun and dynamic group of plantitos and plantitas emerged during quarantine. It’s called Kultivar de Bacolod and the founders make gardening look gorgeous and stylish.
One of the founders is Jamie Baloyo and he shares they started the group is to make a community for plantitos and plantitas that is both interactive and fun. What I like about them is that they motivate newbies to learn, cultivate, nourish, and propagate plants. They are actually very encouraging, which is the kind of positivity we need as we face the pandemic.
“We want to know more people who are passionate about growing plants. Together with them, “we want to promote a healthy horticulture relationships among hobbyists, growers, new plantitos, and others,” Jaimie adds.
Follow on Facebook: Kultivar de Bacolod
Aside from the fun is social responsibility. They want to help local gardeners and sellers to sell their plants and horticultural supplies. Encouraging more people to get into gardening means that more new gardeners will need new supplies.
A Wider Scope of Plant Enthusiasts
Kultivar de Bacolod is encouraging mores hobbyist from different plant species and family to join them. They are non-exclusive, which makes the group more fun. There is just a positive vibe to them.
“Kultivar is not an exclusive only to a certain kind of plant collection. We encourage cacti and succulent lovers, growers of herbal medicines, fruit-bearing, flowering, and even rare and tropical plants,” Jaimie says.
They regularly invite experts in different fields to become resource persons.
“We plan to have THE GREEN MINDED SHOW. It’s an online show that will feature local gardens, plant experts, members’ gardens, and the likes. We will be having two episodes per month and will be shown on Youtube,” Jaimie shares.
Plant Hunting Activity
One of the most fun activities that they have is plant hunting. They travel around Bacolod and Negros Occidental in order to source out plant varieties that are rare or what they really like.
Together with other founders Farrah Georgescu, Christopher Mallo, and Agnes Marie Therese Chang, they have fun field trips on weekends.
Soon they will hold live updates of their plant hunting sessions on social media.
Contests and Giveaways
To make the group more fun and interesting, Kultivar de Bacolod also holds contests and giveaways.
One of their most successful online events recently is the Plantito Selfie Contest.
So many plantitos got creative with their plant selfies and joined in the fun. Anything for the grand prize: a pot of Monstera Deliciosa!
It’s the most in-demand ornamental plant today and is sooooo expensive!
Upholding Laws on Endemic and Endangered Plants
Kultivar de Bacolod wants to raise awareness on the laws that the Philippines has regarding endemic and endangered plants. See Republic Act 9417.
Founding member Agnes shares that “poaching has been one of the concerns of horticulturists nowadays. We remind our members that while it is thrilling to bring home plants from the wild, it is much better to be well-informed about our laws to prevent problems or damaging our forests.”
In a nutshell, ‘“we do not just aim to help plantitos and plantitas with their babies. We also want them to be responsible in caring for our Mother Nature, too.”
With the help of plant experts, members of Kultivar de Bacolod may now be able to correctly identify the proper names of their plants as well the different needs of such plants.
More Plants and Trees in Bacolod
Being the proponent of the More Plants and Trees in Bacolod movement that I started circa 2015, I am happy to see these developments. Even though these occurred five years later. Better late than never.
Bacolod needs more green living theings. More plants and trees around us mean more oxygen, cleaner air, and less flooding. If only there is more government support for this campaign.
They may not be trees, but plants are a start. As more and more people realize the value of green living things, I am pretty sure that eventually, we will see more trees sprouting in our vacant lots and neighborhood.
Happy planting, plantitos and plantitas!