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Manila’s Dangwa florists are busy again, but flowers cost more

By Patricia B. Mirasol, Reporter

The flower trade in Dangwa, known for being the go-to place for inexpensive flowers, is thriving despite stiff competition.

During the height of the pandemic, daily sales were sometimes nil. At one point, flower shops had to resort to selling vegetables, according to one of Dangwa’s oldest establishments.

“Ngayon lang ulit bumamalik ang mga tao (It’s only now that people have started coming back),” said John Michael E. Nocidal, operations manager of Nene’s Flower Shop. “Naniniwala kami na babalik siya sa dati. Actually, bumabalik sa siya (We believe that things will go back to normal. Actually, it already has).”

“Medyo mahirap kasi tight ang competition sa Dangwa (It’s a bit hard because competition in Dangwa is tough),” he told BusinessWorld in a Feb. 8 interview.

Dangwa is in the Sampaloc district of Manila. It encompasses the streets of Dos Castillas, Dapitan, Laong Laan, Dimasalang, Maria Clara, and Don Quixote. 

The area is named after the Dangwa Tranco bus station in Sampaloc, where bus liners from Benguet would unload not only people but also produce from the province like vegetables and flowers. 

Quiapo vendors would buy flowers from this station to sell in their stalls, Mr. Nocidal shared. Over time, the flower market became known as its present monicker.

Mr. Nocidal also shared that prices have gone higher since the pandemic.  

“Nagmahal kami sa iilang products, pero may iba naman na tumaas lang ng konti … kung magi-import ka dati ng $3, ngayon nasa $5-6 na (We’ve had to raise the prices of some products … whereas before you’d import flowers at $3, now you’d have to shell out $5-6),” he said.

At the time of the interview, prices at the shop retailed at P1,800 for every 20 pieces of rose from China. Ecuadorian roses were P200 a piece. Thailand orchids, meanwhile, were at P950 per bundle.  

Flower shops had to obtain their supplies from growers in Baguio when ties with overseas suppliers were temporarily cut during the height of the pandemic. 

Quality is one difference between local and foreign flowers, Mr. Nocidal said, adding that other countries like the Netherlands are good at genetic breeding. 

“Nai-improve nila yung mga factors ng bulaklak na kailangan i-improve para maging aesthetic sa mata ng tao (They’re able to improve the factors that make flowers aesthetically pleasing to people).”

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