Friday, June 9, 2017


Ever since I saw a photo of it during science class during my school-kid days, sunflowers have held a fascination for me. At a glance they look like the most basic drawing of a flower for children. As I grew up the curiosity for sunflowers (g. Helianthus annuus) I had remained a constant, and I’ve often visited gardens where these big bright blossoms are grown and cultivated. Just today however, I may have encountered perhaps the most wonderful location in South Central Mindanao where sunflowers bloom at their very best. While passing by the municipality of Tupi in South Cotabato on business, I heard word of an agricultural tourism park that had opened there only late last month, where there’s a field of helianthus that begs to be seen and enjoyed. Who am I to refuse?

The Blooming Petals Inc. Agri-Tourism Park touts itself to be the first of its sort in the province of South Cotabato. Located at Purok 3A, the park dominates a good area of land, perfect for growing vegetables and flowers, most especially the blooming sunflowers that have fascinated me for so long. In fact I only just learned that they even opened a booth back in GenSan, at Veranza Mall, where they showcased the blossoms they were going to grow and cultivate at the park itself. It was a shame indeed that I missed that. Or maybe not, since I could just go to the place myself.

As it turns out, Blooming Petals Agri-Tourism Park opened last May 27, and from what I discerned it was a major hit. And looking at what’s in store inside (after a P30 entrance fee), I can most definitely agree. Like I said, the star attraction of the park is the masses of sunflowers there, neatly planted in artistically winding rows. I give props to the landscapers for their aesthetic sense where this is concerned. You just need to look at me among the helianthus blossoms to tell that I’m having just so much fun.

But before I get too carried away, let’s talk about Blooming Petals Inc. some more. It’s just like the title of “Agri-Tourism” Farm says; there’s some agriculture going on there as well. One section of the premises has been reserved for a perfectly varied vegetable plantation. Aside from the usual stuff a resident of South Central Mindanao would see at the market or mall grocery section, like string beans, cucumber and pechay, there are also stuff like red radishes (instead of white) and bok choi growing on the featured plots.
Even better, the management has an open invitation for visitors to take their pick of veggies right out of the ground (for market prices of course). Or, if you’d prefer to purchase them clean and dirt-free, then Blooming Petals has their very own in-house veggie stall. And I have to say, they take good care of the crops there.
Now, as an Agri-Tourism Park, Blooming Petals has taken steps to be prepared for a lot of visitors and tourists coming over to have a look-see. And that includes looking out for them should they get hungry while taking their strolls. That is why I applaud the establishment for having dining facilities where they offer affordable meals to fill hungry bellies. Their meal package has a cup of rice, three sticks of pork barbecue, and a serving of vegetable salad. It’s a perfect way to end your tour of the park be it for (late) breakfast, early lunch or snack-time.

Here I am going on and on about the park and I plumb forgot to mention their operating times. For their grand opening period, Blooming Petals Inc. is open seven days a week, from 7 AM to 5 PM. But here’s the thing: that arrangement is only good for three weeks from its opening day last May 27. It means that the all-week business days will last only until June 16. This is in time with the lifespan of their sunflower crop.
After June 16 the park becomes open only on weekends (same P30 entrance fee per head applies), because by that point their inaugural sunflower planting will be gone. But fret not, a new crop will be replanted and should be in full bloom for more visitors by September. It’s quite long, but quality can’t be rushed, I’m sure.
Long story short, I am very impressed by my day jaunt at the Blooming Petals Inc. Agri-Tourism Park and I encourage everyone to come and see for themselves. They’ve already gotten featured in “Candy Mag” already, so that’s one major endorsement that I’m happy to join.
For more information on Blooming Petals, you can check out their official Facebook page at, or call 0918 935 9352 for your inquiries. Remember, they’re at Purok 3A, Tupi in South Cotabato. But you have until June 16 to see the sunflowers, so hurry!