There is so much love in the air when you visit this discreet garden sandwiched between the twin sister mountains in Nasugbu, Batangas – Mt. Batulao and Mt. Talamitam.
And in the middle of this nature’s beauty is the B2GO Farms where nearly 4,000 trees of bright and cheery with brilliant yellow ray-like petal sunflowers imposingly stand in their bloom. On Friday morning, or two days before Valentine’s Day, telecommunications (telco) specialist Rod Solidum was grinning ear-to-ear while standing in the middle of his garden, supervising the harvest of sunflowers that mirrors the color of the rising sun from the east.
For Solidum, Valentine’s Day means not just extra income but it’s all about being connected and committed to what this majestic flower really does –bring love, joy, happiness especially during these challenging times under the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic.
“In the telco industry, your primary standpoint is connection stability. Our duty is to maintain a good and stable voice and data network. Growing sunflower is somewhat the same. You have to remain connected and committed. The moment you fail to give proper attention and supply the correct amount of nutrients, the likelihood that you won’t achieve a five-inch diameter flower at full blossom,” says Solidum.
With COVID-19 still very much everyone’s concern, Solidum saw the flowers as “one of the safest means of conveying love to your family or a special someone.”
The full-time telco specialist is a farming enthusiast who has been planting mostly fruits and vegetables in his two-hectare property for some time now. But it was in 2019 when he decided to venture into growing sunflower after he overheard one of his clients, an online-based florist, complaining about the shortage in supply of this legendary flower in the local market.
“We came across a client and overheard them talking about a shortage of Sunflower supply in time for Valentine’s Day. So I started negotiating and offered our farm to be one of their contract growers for sunflowers. The negotiation was very straight forward so the decision was also outright,” Solidum recalled.
Currently, Solidum’s farm produces up to 4,000 sunflower stems that he sells to flowerstore.ph, an online florist, for a steep bargain of only over P100 per stem. Sunflower, he noted, could be a lucrative business as it is now ranked as the second highest-selling flower in the Philippine market, next only to Rose. Another advantage of the sunflower is that it has a longer lifespan when used as an ornament.
Online florist uses the sunflower as ornaments for flower arrangement and sells the finished product for P1,500 to P3,000. This year, the telco specialist said they are considering growing other commercially-viable flowers including marigold, a medicinal plant from the daisy family, to expand their horizon.
“We do have plans this year to try marigold and roses, but timing is key considering our climate,” he said.
Solidum admitted he has no formal education in agriculture but has been gaining substantial knowledge through the vastness of the internet universe.
“Learning proper farming procedure and growing produce is just a click away. Most of the four-year agricultural courses are now compacted into a four-hour video stream from Youtube or Udemy,” he said.
While he considers growing flowers as “more of a passion,” Solidum, nevertheless, believes a very bright future that awaits in agriculture, especially now that food prices are spiraling.
“There’s nothing best than growing your own produce and marketing them at your own pace without the pressure of commercial production,” Solidum said.
B2GO Farms is located in Km 82 Barangay Aga, Sitio Kaybibisaya, Nasugbu, Batangas, about 15 kilometers away from Tagaytay City center.