TACLOBAN City – The botanic fad or the ‘plantdemic’ continues to spread in Eastern Visayas with more individuals becoming plant enthusiasts or”‘plantitos” and “plantitas.”
Reynaldo Terciño, plant quarantine officer of the National Plant Quarantine Services Division of the Bureau of Plant Industry-8, shared that shippers of ornamental plants securing clearance for domestic transport of plants and planting materials have increased since the pandemic.
He added that they receive several applicants daily which they facilitate as they have become plant enthusiasts themselves.
Terciño said that securing a permit to transport the plants is easy and free.
“We used to have a booth at the airport for individuals who wish to ship plants. However, it was temporarily discontinued during the lockdown. For those who want to ship plants, they can just come to our office and it will not take more than 15 minutes to secure their permit if they are not considered as endangered or regulated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources,” he said.
According to Terciño, shippers only need to show them the plant or bring pictures if they are too bulky or if they have many plants to ship. The permit is valid for five days from the date of issuance.Teachers, medical professionals, public servants, even journalists are joining the plant craze, collecting tiny cactuses and succulents to the bigger and rare philodendrons.
Belle Vero, a full-time housewife has ventured from collecting plants to selling them by displaying some of her plants along the highway in a town in Southern Leyte. Her collection of caladiums has helped her sustain the needs of her family during the lockdown brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We did not have a source of income. My husband who works occasionally in construction could hardly get a job because of the lockdown so we had to think of other ways to earn money,” she shared.
Belle sells plants at P50 to P500 each. She also propagates them to add to her collection, especially the rare ones which are priced higher.
Elizabeth Tobio, a public school teacher in Palo, Leyte has also started earning from her hobby. She has a collection of sansevieria and begonias.
“I started during lockdown although I’ve had a few potted plants before. I first sold cactus and succulents and pebbles for potting mix. When bartering became a trend, I also joined by bartering my snake plants,” she said.