WITH more than just serenity and stillness as their common denominators, the flower farms at barangay Sirao, Cebu exude more than that, as our good friend from California, Maribel Kokseng-Kratz, found out during a visit earlier this year. We took her to a particularly popular flower farm, Little Amsterdam, where gracious proprietress Elena Sy-Chua gave us the royal treatment.

An entire hillside, abloom with the exuberant celosia. Another area spotted, with tiny red and yellow bulbs amid a carpet of green, and still another knoll with rows upon rows of lavender flowers. But wait, eye-catchers were the lush sunflowers, as large as plates!

We took in the breathtaking scenery, one variety at a time... along with park accents like the huge windmill, artistically designed functional benches for the weary hiker, sundecks to view the vast, placid landscape and a couple of romantic nooks for pre-nuptial photos! No wonder Little Amsterdam (Sirao Garden) has become a favorite playground not only for children but also for their parents. And might we add, a top locale for Filipino movie producers and TV soap operas!

A sumptuous lunch followed at Balay sa Busay native resto, where Elena shared her blessings from the Sto. Niño, patron of Little Amsterdam. She too, joyfully relates, that pretty soon from having little tea parties, the garden will expand to hosting simple wedding receptions!

Another flower farm visited was Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden with its unique stone walls and calm setting. Florals and botanicals were arranged ever so cleverly, and each bloom seemed to welcome guests warmly. We were thoroughly entertained by the myriad of colors and textures each class beamed at us!

The day ended all too soon, but despite the heat and the long walks, gardens truly have a way of healing and renewing the spiritual and physical aura!